For years, engineers have acknowledged that when they work with supply chain partners to design new assemblies, subassemblies, or individual component parts, the implications of transferring files between differing CAD systems is a difficult, time-consuming, and error prone task.
But now for users of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0, help has arrived.
Say, for example, your company makes subsystems for auto manufacturers. You get an urgent e-mail from your customer, asking for an immediate change requiring that your subassembly fit into a new environment. To make the change, you've got to ask one of your own suppliers for quick turnaround on a part for the subassembly. The problem is, your customer is a CATIA shop, and your supplier designed the part using Unigraphics.
Making these changes ordinarily requires you to take the CATIA environment design from the customer, translate it to your Pro/ENGINEER format, then send it to your supplier, who will have to do further translations for the re-design. Then once you get the design back from your supplier, you may need a few extra days to clean up the translations, re-map features, check data integrity, and so on. Your customer is not happy.
Now, with Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0, you can perform direct translations between CATIA V4 and V5 and Pro/ENGINEER, Unigraphics and Pro/ENGINEER, and I-DEAS and Pro/ENGINEER. This means that when a change is made to your design, there are fewer implications; you’ll spend less time manually updating your Pro/ENGINEER models based on changes made in other CAD systems, and you can know that the geometric quality in the models you are delivering is excellent. And perhaps best of all, your customer is happy.
The wait is over. Pro/ENGINEER users have been clamoring for direct translation of non-Pro/ENGINEER files for some time. And with Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0, the wait is over. Here are the highlights:
· CATIA V5-to-Pro/ENGINEER -- This second-generation interface supports imports of curve, surface, and solid geometry, as well as color and layer information. Like its first-generation counterpart for CATIA V4, this version is import-compliant with the patented Associative Topology Bus (ATB)* found in Pro/ENGINEER, and does not require a CATIA V5 license.
· UG-to-Pro/ENGINEER -- This new interface supports import and export of Unigraphics curve, surface, solid geometry, and color information. It supports import of part and assembly data stored as UG part (*.prt) files up to the UG NX version, and export of parts and assemblies in either UG V18 or NX format. It is also import compliant with the ATB, but does require a UG installation and license.
· I-DEAS-to-Pro/ENGINEER -- Also new, this interface supports import of I-DEAS package and model (*.pkg and *.mf1) files containing parts and assemblies via the I-DEAS Team Data Manager, up to, and including the I-DEAS V10NX version. The Pro/ENGINEER interface can import curve, surface, solid geometry, and color information, but does not support the ATB at this time. It does require an I-DEAS installation and license.
(* The ATB capability means that you can import a model from UG, for example, into Pro/ENGINEER. In the future, if that model is modified in UG, the changes that are made are automatically reflected in Pro/ENGINEER.)
Going direct saves time and trouble. According to Asa Trainer, Director of Product Management for Interoperability at PTC, direct translation of CAD data pays enormous benefits over the conventional dual-translation methods that employ standards-based neutral formats like IGES or STEP.
"With conventional translation, you've got to reformat the data two times, from the source system to the neutral format, and from the neutral format to the target system," he says.
"Simple models, such as those containing prismatic geometry, usually pass through in good condition. But complex models containing organic surfaces and/or details such as small rounds or holes, and vendor-specific surface types, often do not translate well."
Using standards-based translators, it's up to you to pick up the pieces. You have to spend additional time at your workstation, filling in the corrupt or missing geometry content. Even when that's done, you may have serious doubts about the data integrity of the design. What’s more, because this process is so harrowing, you are less likely to want to update the design every time the source design changes.
By going direct, says Trainer, the data is cleaner and less error-prone, meaning you won't work as hard, or as much, fixing up the design. Early benchmarks have shown that direct vendor-to-vendor translation can speed up the process by as much as 70 percent. You'll do your work faster, and you won't have to worry about your design's integrity.
Speeding collaboration. The direct translation function in Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0 serves as a major boon to collaborative engineering.
"This helps companies perform better in supply chains with multi-vendor product development software," says Trainer. "By speeding up the collaboration process and improving collaboration integrity, it helps supply chain partners excel today, and prepare to handle the dynamics of changing vendors, and evolving supply chains, in the future.”
· Learn more about the Granite Interoperability Kernel
· White paper: Better Application Interoperability With the Associative Topology Bus (PDF)
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