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Altair Releases Inspire 2018—Simulation-Driven Design Software

solidThinking Inspire 2018 accelerates the pace of product innovation through advanced PolyBURBS fit tools, 3d lattice and solid-lattice structures and tools for additive manufacturing.


Altair has released its latest version of solidThinking Inspire, version 2018. As written about and reviewed at Architosh numerous times, Inspire is a leading-edge optimization and simulation software that helps design engineers produce lighter and stronger parts and products, assemblies and entire structures.

Inspire 2018

“Inspire 2018 enables designers and engineers to leverage simulation in new and inventive ways to accelerate the development of high-performance, innovative products,” says James Dagg, CTO for User Experience at Altair.  “Inspire integrates well into large manufacturing enterprises for rapid simulation and “lightweighting” insights, and has an intuitive user experience that is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses with little or no simulation experience.”

01 – Altair’s Inspire 2018 supports optimization and simulation on both lattice and solid-lattice compound components and parts.

“Inspire integrates well into large manufacturing enterprises for rapid simulation and “lightweighting” insights, and has an intuitive user experience that is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses with little or no simulation experience.”

Key Takeaways

This latest version advances the tool in the direction of additive manufacturing and importantly adds solid-lattice mix structures, an area in advanced manufacturing design that is finding appeal. 

Inspire is an application used in the early stages of a design process, ideally, allowing designers and design engineers to explore form and shape reduction finding while also simulating assemblies and dynamic systems. Users can do the following:

  • simulate dynamic mechanical systems — rapidly develop multi-part assemblies and resolve loads on systems components for optimization and analysis
  • generate weight-efficient design options — using Altair’s industry-leading topology optimization technology users can reduce weight in parts and assemblies whether they are built using conventional or additive manufacturing processes
  • simulate loads — simulate for static, normal modes and buckling
  • 3D printing — directly export Inspire 3D geometry to 3D printing workflows to produce quality parts

Andy Bartels, Inspire Program Manager, explained, “In order to stay competitive while pushing the innovation envelope, simulation must drive the entire design process from the early concept design phase all the way through to production. We continue to add tools to make Inspire more beneficial to its users in each step of the design process.”

02 – A lattice Jaw render in Inspire 2018.

New benefits to Inspire 2018 use include:

  • Lattice generation — users can generate optimized lattice and mixed solid-lattice structures, visualize simulation results in 3D on these structures, and export lattice designs in (.stl) file format for 3D printing
  • Load Case Table support —  view and interactively assign loads to load cases and import/export loads in (.cvs) file format with the new Load Case Table support
  • Design for additive manufacturing with overhang shape controls to help reduce overhangs to create more self-supporting structures
  • PolyNURBS Fit Tool — Automatically optimize the fit of PolyNURBS CAD geometry to generative design results

“Inspire 2018 is available immediately to clients as an application software download and later this year as a cloud-based offering,” says Dagg.  “Branded as Inspire Unlimited™, the cloud offering of Inspire will include additional functionality such as secure data management, team collaboration tools, and on-demand high-performance computing (HPC).”

Visit to view video demos, register for a webinar introduction to Inspire 2018, and to request a free trial.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

At one point Altair’s solidThinking division was hoping that Inspire could have a future in the AEC industry directly at the architect level. There were architects using it for interesting projects. But those days seem behind the company now as Inspire has had to address competitors that delivered similar weight-reduction analysis tools. While weight reduction seems ideal for buildings as much as for cars, planes, and engines, it is the latter categories these types of tools are taking off in. 

Furthermore, the development of lattices in parts design and other technologies favorable to the needs of additive manufacturing have driven Inspire to where we see it today. As mentioned in a prior note on Architosh, Inspire is no longer native to macOS environments, and neither is its HyperWorks suite of brethren apps. 

MORE: solidThinking Brings Generative Design to the Cloud

However, the company has Inspire Unlimited, a full cloud-based version of the product, currently in open beta. As noted in this story here, Inspire Unlimited looks to be more collaborative and looks similar in many areas to Onshape. Users upload models into the cloud version and there is commenting and annotation screenshot features. You can read more about the free beta version in the cloud here. 


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