AEC exchange
Concept Procedure Quick Reference

The AEC Exchange environment authors (defines) and publishes (exports) Autodesk Inventor assemblies, weldments, and parts so you can use them with AutoCAD MEP and Revit MEP. These applications are purpose-built building design and construction systems for documenting Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) information.

AEC Exchange publishes 2D and 3D Autodesk Inventor part and assembly design data to an Autodesk Exchange File (.ADSK). Multiple Autodesk products can consume an Autodesk Exchange File file type. AEC Exchange is Autodesk Inventor's data repository for MEP applications.

Autodesk products, such as AutoCAD MEP and Revit MEP, contain different tools for consuming data. AEC Exchange is an Autodesk Inventor add-in that uses Autodesk Inventor's geometric modeling commands to define models that can be used in other Autodesk products. AEC Exchange has commands for defining connectors, simplifying model data, and exporting data to an ADSK file.

NoteWe recommend that you simplify models before exporting to an ADSK file. It allows the protection of intellectual property by only supplying the data required by the MEP application. It also eases sharing of files by creating smaller file sizes.

The general workflow for AEC Exchange has three main processes:


The process of reducing the complexity of a model by eliminating removing components or unnecessary features. Use Shrinkwrap Substitute, Level of Detail representations, derived part, and other techniques to simplify a part or assembly before authoring or publishing. Since building engineers need only the details that are relevant to their design, often only the basic 3D shape and connection features are important. When you export a component, it is good practice to keep the ADSK file size as small as possible by simplifying the assembly.


The process of defining connector objects that indicate how and where things connect. Connector objects are used in MEP to define associations between equipment, such as a heat exchanger, and building systems, such as HVAC. Each of the five types of connectors: cable, conduit tray, duct, electrical, and pipe has an Autodesk Inventor command to create, edit, and delete them.


The process of exporting Inventor data to an ADSK file. The ADSK file contains geometry, 2D views, connectors, and properties. The receiving application imports the data that is supported by that application.

Use Shrinkwrap or Level of Detail representations to simplify the data before exporting to an ADSK file. If the design consists of a single part, you can simplify by placing the part in an empty assembly file. Then use Shrinkwrap Substitute with the assembly file.

A User Defined Coordinate System (UCS) can be selected in the Export Building Components command. Any UCS defined in the part or assembly is available in Export Building Components command. To facilitate it, the UCS command is available in the AEC Exchange tab. Many architectural applications consider the positive Z direction to be up toward the ceiling where mechanical applications often consider positive Z to be out. It is important to define the proper UCS so that the model is imported in the proper orientation.

Revit MEP and AutoCAD MEP can import ADSK files and the associated data. The application imports only the data that is supported. Data that is not supported is ignored in the file.