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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 format CAD Interoperability Toolkits
Hoops Exchange Spatial 3D CT – 3D Evolution Datakit
ACIS Read and Write Read and Write Read and Write Read and Write
Parasolid Read and Write Read and Write Read and Write Read and Write
STEP Read and Write Read and Write Read and Write Read and Write
IGES Read and Write Read and Write Read and Write Read and Write
VDA Read Read and Write Read and Write Read and Write
JT Read and Write   Read and Write Read and Write
STL Read and Write   Read and Write Write
Obj       Read and Write
PRC Read and Write      
U3D Read and Write      
3DPDF   Write Write Write
VRML Read and Write   Read and Write Write
CAD native formats CAD Interoperability Toolkits
Hoops Exchange Spatial 3D CT – 3D Evolution Datakit
Autodesk Inventor Read Read Read. Write if CT-Plugin and Inventor on  same machine Read
Autodesk (DWG/DXF)     Read (Up to 2010 version) Read DWG/DXF 3D
Write DXF
Catia V4/V5/V6 Read – V4 & V5 Read all versions
Write – V4 & V5
Read all versions
Write – V4 & V5
Read – 2D and 3D of V4,V5,V6
Write – 3D of V4 &V5
SolidWorks Read Read Read. Write if CT-Plugin and SW on same machine Read – 2D & 3D
Write – 2D
SolidEdge Read Read   Read
ProE/Creo Read Read Read. Write if CT-Plugin and ProE on same machine Read
Siemens NX Read Read Read. Write if CT-Plugin and NX on same  machine Read- 2D and 3D
Write – 3D
Rhino Read     Read
Ideas Read   Read. Write if CT-Plugin and Ideas on same machine Read

List of customers/partners with respect to CAD Interoperability toolkits

Industry type Tech Soft  Spacial Datakit
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
Manufacturing SolidWorks, PTC, ANSYS, 3D Systems, Delcam, Mitutoyo, FARO, Yaskawa, ARAS, Lagoa and GrabCAD. OMAX, Flow, Trumpf,Pathtrace, Cimatron, CNC Software Inc and Missler Auton, GIB, Gibbs, Sescoi
Construction Autodesk, 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 Geosciences Geovia, Mintec, MineRP, Halliburton and Trimble    
Metrology   Zeiss, Innovmetric, and Faro Technologies MDTVISION, Wilcox , LMBA
Robotics   ABB  
Shipbuilding   SAMIN  
CAE   CEDRAT, Vector Fields and Exa Corporation Flomerics ESI, ANSYS, Sharc
AEC   ChangSOFT, Bentley Systems and Gehry Technologies  

References

  1. HOOPS Exchange by Techsoft (http://www.techsoft3d.com/products/hoops-toolkits/hoops-exchange/)
  2. Spatial 3D InterOp by Dassault Systems (http://www.spatial.com/products/3d-interoperability)
  3. 3D Evolution by CoreTechnologie (http://www.coretechnologie.com/Conversion_Engine_3D_Evolution_PRODUCTS)
  4. CrossManager by Datakit (http://www.datakit.com/en/cross_manager.php)

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