Aerospace and Defense Customer Stories
In a perfect world, all data would conform precisely to standards, and every software solution would speak every others’ language. In the real world, however, data sharing is fraught with potentially time-consuming pitfalls. This is particularly true when it comes to 3D CAD.
No one understands this better than this naval defense contractor, a leading global aerospace and defense technology company with employees in 50 states and 25+ countries. The contractor provides innovative systems and services for aerospace, shipbuilding, and technology customers around the world. The contractor often grapples with these data compatibility challenges between 3D data formats.
Special Package for the Navy
The team supports the development and manufacture of the modular weapons systems for the US Department of Defense.
The Challenge: Data Compatibility Between CATIA® and SOLIDWORKS®
The modular weapons systems package is standardized on CATIA software. They receive the computer-aided design (CAD) data packages in SOLIDWORKS format, which is not compatible with CATIA. To manage this data, they needed a proven reliable way to convert the Navy’s SOLIDWORKS data into the CATIA format they use.
The Conventional Method of Translating 3D CAD Data Was Manual:
1) Open each SOLIDWORKS file one by one
2) Save each file in the industry neutral STEP format
3) Import each STEP file into CATIA
4) Save each file in the CATIA format
What gets ‘lost in translation’ with this manual method? This multi-step, manual translation approach tends to introduce a host of problems. Possible errors include differences in dimensions and features, the loss of mass properties and parametric capabilities, and the inadvertent conversion of the solid model into a surface model.
There were thousands and thousands of files that needed to be converted. With the number of models that needed to be converted, and the manual rework that would have been required to get ‘watertight’ solid models, the conversion of the data package alone was shaping up to be a two-year project.
The Solution: Automated Data Conversion with TransMagic
The naval defense contractor began searching for a better way to handle the data conversion. The team was considering possible solutions to automate the translation process. They did a thorough cost-benefit analysis and selected TransMagic software based on the powerful capabilities it provides at an affordable cost. TransMagic creates power tools for converting and validating 3D geometry which are powerful and easy-to-use, and insures compatibility with the target software, CATIA. The translation tools in TransMagic solve a wide range of the 3D CAD data exchange problems facing the manufacturing industry. TransMagic enables the quick reuse of 3D CAD data from virtually any source into any target application.
The TransMagic Expert plus the BATCH automation package provides complete support for ALL major 3D design files, including CATIA and SOLIDWORKS. It is ideal for manufacturing companies working in multi-CAD environments.
“Compared with the multi-step translation approach, TransMagic is cutting our conversion time in half or more. That means without it, a year-long job would take two.”
The Results: Conversion Time Cut in Half! One Year Saved!
“Having TransMagic makes a big difference in my work,” says the customer. “I can open any SOLIDWORKS file directly in TransMagic, TransMagic knows it is reading SOLIDWORKS, and I can then save the file to our CATIA format. Though not often necessary, when required, TransMagic automatically repairs more than 9 out of 10 issues during the translation process. What isn’t automatically repaired is a simple ‘manual’ process in TransMagic, a couple of easy decisions and clicks. The converted models were valid and included the original design intent and the parts list from CATIA, which was lost with the previously used manual multi-step process using STEP as the intermediate format. Compared with the multi-step translation approach, TransMagic is cutting our conversion time in half or more. That means without it, a year-long job would take two. That, along with the additional software features, has made it a real program asset.”
About the Winning Product Configuration
Every license of TransMagic Expert includes their PowerPack for SOLIDWORKS plug-in. The plug-in brings many of TransMagic’s capabilities into the SOLIDWORKS interface, creating a single window unified environment. The TransMagic PowerPack for SOLIDWORKS is a SOLIDWORKS Certified Gold Product, meaning it offers single window integration with SOLIDWORKS, providing seamless data exchange functionality that gets continual testing to ensure compatibility with all versions of SOLIDWORKS.
TransMagic gives this customer the flexibility to manually select any single part from the CAD assembly, and open, extract or export it to another format. For automation, the TransMagic BATCH Add-on enables the customer to load an unlimited number of CAD files of mixed formats, and just click on the desired output format. Then they can walk away or go home and let TransMagic do the difficult work, saving hours or weeks of tedious manual work. The PowerPack for SOLIDWORKS converts parts directly, meaning the user can use TransMagic to import/export directly with confidence.
“Being able to directly export different configurations is nice. We do not have to do extra translations, which helps to cut our conversion time in half, too,” says the customer. “Overall, TransMagic is a definite time saver for us. It would have been extremely cumbersome to do a multi-step conversion for each of these thousands of parts. Time and productivity are of course important to us as a business, but are even more important for the sailors anticipating these great new systems at sea. TransMagic is helping us get there.”
This defense customer requests to remain anonymous.
Air Comm Corporation (ACC) was founded in 1987 to resolve problems commonly found in factory-installed environmental control systems. ACC is a leader in the development and manufacture of state-of-the-art bleed air heaters and vapor-cycle air conditioners for turbine helicopters.
ACC customers include Bell Helicopter Textron, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Huges Helicopters, Enstrom Helicopters, Schweizer Aircraft and Agusta Aerospace Corporation.
What design challenge led you to choose TransMagic?
“ACC evaluated TransMagic software after experiencing unsatisfactory performance from a competiting translation software developer. ACC needed to translate CATIA files utilized for design development of the company’s environmental control systems components.”
Describe a project that requires 3D translators?
“ACC receives CATIA model files from a prominent helicopter manufacturer detailing volume allocation for location of our company’s products. For example, once model files are translated, ACC engineers evaluate location and access to company plumbing tube and manifold assemblies with respect to helicopter flight control systems.”
What is the benefit of being able to exchange files with users of different CAD/CAM/CAE systems?
“Exchange of parameteric component data between manufacturer and supplier design engineers permits development collaboration prior to fabrication. Design details can be worked out, modified, and or revised as required. This process promotes a higher level of component fidelity in contrast to past trial-and-error methods.”
How has using TransMagic allowed you to attract more customers?
“ACC is still at the early levels of translating model files so there’s insufficient information to provide sales related data. However, translating client model files represents a trend that will continue to grow in utilization.”
Further information at http://AirCommCorp.com.