State of CAD Data Exchange:
"Are we closely there yet?" the dreaded question we hear wailing from the back of the car. "Yes, nearly there" is our cheerful response. We didn't mean it. We may be miles away, hours more of tiresome journey. The PLM industry forges forward, the CAD user's searching interoperability cry out "Are we nearly there yet?" & the vendor side of the industry in a solitary chorus reply "Yes, nearly there".
The vast majority of day-to-day CAD translation is now satisfied by good explicit translation between CAD systems. That means to say, solids are translated to solids, surfaces to surfaces and wire-frame, points, layers, colours etc, to their equivalents. The translation products have matured and the user can expect good results. For example one Theorem customer, a UK automotive OEM, recently batch translated more than 30,000 models in less than 12 hours with only 16 failures, a success rate of 99.95%. With this kind of success rate, why are we not able to say, "Yes, we're nearly there?"
The answer is that things are changing. Opportunities for development arise even with the CAD systems themselves. For instance, a CATIA V5 assembly can comprise CATIA V5 parts and referenced geometry from a number of other CAD systems including native CATIA V4 parts. The opportunity exists, thus, for a single translator to translate the hybrid assembly, and this capability has already been incorporated into Theorem's recent Version 8 release.
The need for fast, accurate explicit translation still exists and just as new requirements have appeared new solutions is required. 3D models have always had the ability to hold more than just geometry and the ASME 14.41 standard now described how 3D annotation, including dimensions and tolerance data should be held. It means that the user requirement for manufacturing detail to be passed with a translated model now has a technical solution and the translation vendors have a set of common standards against which they can provide workable solutions rather than just technical solutions. These pictures show a real production instance of CATIA V5 model data, along with 3D annotations and the resultant translation into VisMockup for enterprise wide use of the information.