Automated CAD TranslationThe fastest way to translate lots of files is through automated CAD translation, a type of batch processing; through this technique, hundreds or even thousands of files can be translated into the format of your choice at one time, saving you and your department valuable design and engineering time. This process has two key advantages:

  1. Automation
  2. The files can all be queued up at one time by the user, eliminating the time-consuming process of using the mouse and keyboard to individually locate and open each file, and eliminating the process of saving each file to the desired format.

  3. Direct Translation
  4. A great deal of time is wasted each day by CAD users waiting for screens to regenerate. When you are batch processing CAD files, the files do not have to be rendered graphically on the screen since they are processed by the translator directly. While we’re used to having graphical feedback when we manipulate CAD files, ultimately it all comes down to pure data, and translating data is much faster without waiting for and interacting with graphical displays.

How fast is fast?

Recently I was asked for some actual times on how long it would take to process 10MB, 50MB and 100MB files, converting from CATIA to STEP, NX to Parasolid, and NX to STEP. Using customer data, I selected 4 files from each category that were at least the minimal size of 10, 50 and 100 Megabytes. Employing my i7-4700MQ CPU with 24GB of RAM, here are the results:

Size   Format   Format Time
10MB   CATIA to STEP   0.25 minutes
50MB   CATIA to STEP   2.25 minutes
100MB  CATIA to STEP   5 minutes

Size  Format Format    Time
10MB  NX to  Parasolid 3 seconds
50MB  NX to  Parasolid 1 minute
100MB NX to  Parasolid 3 minutes

Size  Format  Format Time
10MB  NX to   STEP   0.25 minutes
50MB  NX to   STEP   1.25 minutes
100MB NX to   STEP   4 minutes

The times above are the averages when running four random files through batch processing for each format and size designation, using TransMagic’s MagicBatch add-on.

Thousands of files per hour?

NX files in this benchmark translated in a mere 3 seconds each, which equates to over 1000 10MB files in under an hour; and that’s not even including the many smaller files that are often contained in assemblies. Recent customer data I’ve surveyed showed that only 10% of the files were over 10MB in size, 25% were 1MB or over, and 65% were less than 1MB.

Overnight processing

Extrapolating from the above data, if a CAD user had literally thousands of files to convert, and they selected a few thousand files for automated CAD translation when leaving the office at 5pm, when they returned the next day at 8am (in 15 hours) they could have batch processed:

(1000) 10MB CATIA to STEP translations
(50)   50MB CATIA to STEP translations
(10)   100MB CATIA to STEP translations

(1000) 10MB  NX to  Parasolid translations
(50)   50MB  NX to  Parasolid translations
(10)   100MB NX to  Parasolid translations

(1000) 10MB  NX to STEP translations
(50)   50MB  NX to STEP translations
(10)   100MB NX to STEP translations

That’s a total of 3000 10MB files, 150 50MB files, and 30 100MB files processed while the engineer or designer is not even present! In fact, we have customers who do exactly that; they wait until their customer files come in and batch process them overnight or over the weekend to save processing time during working hours.

Repair Options

Need repair? MagicBatch can automatically run Lite Repair on every file, or, if you have the MagicHeal add-on you can automatically run Full Repair on each file as well.

So the next time you find yourself plodding through the tiresome task of File > Open, waiting for the file to render graphically, then invoking the File > Save As process, consider giving automated CAD translation a try!

Learn more about MagicBatch here.