nCircle Tech | Blogs | Interoperability all you need to know about various Toolkits and Methods of Implementation
Spread the word

Why CAD interoperability?

CAD Interoperability is still a problem, but it is getting better all the time. It’s possible that we don’t have any CAD interoperability concerns. If we use a single brand and version of CAD software, and don’t get CAD files from people using other systems, and don’t use the files we create in any other applications. However, CAD users receive CAD files of various types and versions from others, and use the CAD files they create for a variety of downstream processes.

CAD interoperability Industry

Perhaps because of disinterest by large CAD vendors, a rather healthy CAD interoperability industry has matured over the last few years. There are some well-known companies like Tech Soft 3D, Datakit, Spatial, and Core Technologie, that provide software toolkits to directly read and write the major CAD file formats.

CAD file formats

CAD system stores information internally in a format that is best suited for that system. When the user is done, this information is written to files on the hard drive. These proprietary formats (also known as native file format) can only be read by the specific CAD system (and version of software), and are virtually useless to other systems. 

There are also standard file formats i.e. IGES, STEP, VDA-FS, ACIS and Parasolid which are the best suitable for storing CAD geometries (and other information).  

A detailed comparison of the interoperability toolkits will be shared as a downloadable brochure.

This can be a PDF download of the presentation.

Method of CAD interoperability

There are basically two methods of transferring data from one CAD system to another. First one is direct translation and second one is using standard file format.  When standard file formats are used, data should be easily transported between systems.  See below comparison matrix of different toolkits with respect to standard and native file formats.

Standard formatCAD Interoperability Toolkits
Hoops ExchangeSpatial 3DCT – 3D EvolutionDatakit
ACISRead and WriteRead and WriteRead and WriteRead and Write
ParasolidRead and WriteRead and WriteRead and WriteRead and Write
STEPRead and WriteRead and WriteRead and WriteRead and Write
IGESRead and WriteRead and WriteRead and WriteRead and Write
VDAReadRead and WriteRead and WriteRead and Write
JTRead and Write Read and WriteRead and Write
STLRead and Write Read and WriteWrite
Obj   Read and Write
PRCRead and Write   
U3DRead and Write   
3DPDF WriteWriteWrite
VRMLRead and Write Read and WriteWrite
CAD native formatsCAD Interoperability Toolkits
Hoops ExchangeSpatial 3DCT – 3D EvolutionDatakit
Autodesk InventorReadReadRead. Write if CT-Plugin and Inventor on  same machineRead
Autodesk (DWG/DXF)  Read (Up to 2010 version)Read DWG/DXF 3D
Write DXF
Catia V4/V5/V6Read – V4 & V5Read all versions
Write – V4 & V5
Read all versions
Write – V4 & V5
Read – 2D and 3D of V4,V5,V6
Write – 3D of V4 &V5
SolidWorksReadReadRead. Write if CT-Plugin and SW on same machineRead – 2D & 3D
Write – 2D
SolidEdgeReadRead Read
ProE/CreoReadReadRead. Write if CT-Plugin and ProE on same machineRead
Siemens NXReadReadRead. Write if CT-Plugin and NX on same  machineRead- 2D and 3D
Write – 3D
RhinoRead  Read
IdeasRead Read. Write if CT-Plugin and Ideas on same machineRead

List of customers/partners with respect to CAD Interoperability toolkits

Industry typeTech Soft SpacialDatakit
CAD IMSI, Kubotek, IronCAD and SpaceClaim, Toyota Caelum, Intel Corporation and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.Rasterex, VB2S, Actify, Seemage, Onesia, OPTIS, Alibre, McNeel, Open Cascade, Materialise
ManufacturingSolidWorks, PTC, ANSYS, 3D Systems, Delcam, Mitutoyo, FARO, Yaskawa, ARAS, Lagoa and GrabCAD.OMAX, Flow, Trumpf,Pathtrace, Cimatron, CNC Software Inc and MisslerAuton, GIB, Gibbs, Sescoi
ConstructionAutodesk, Trimble, Intergraph, Bentley, Synchro, Causeway, Carlson, Hexagon and Topcon  
EDA Mentor Graphics, Zuken, Agilent, Altair, Synopsys and JRI Solutions.Agilent, Ansoft, Mentor Graphics, Zuken and Physware 
Mining and GeosciencesGeovia, Mintec, MineRP, Halliburton and Trimble  
Metrology Zeiss, Innovmetric, and Faro TechnologiesMDTVISION, Wilcox , LMBA
Robotics ABB 
Shipbuilding SAMIN 
CAE CEDRAT, Vector Fields and Exa Corporation FlomericsESI, ANSYS, Sharc
AEC ChangSOFT, Bentley Systems and Gehry Technologies 


  1. HOOPS Exchange by Techsoft (
  2. Spatial 3D InterOp by Dassault Systems (
  3. 3D Evolution by CoreTechnologie (
  4. CrossManager by Datakit (

Spread the word