Key Factors Responsible for Effective CAD Translation
To facilitate moving 3D CAD data from one software to another, quality translation is paramount; with a dozen major worldwide 3D CAD formats to choose from, most companies rely on CAD translation every day, whether to satisfy customer requirements, or to facilitate downstream design, engineering, and manufacturing processes. Here are a few considerations when deciding on a CAD translation solution.
Licensed Formats vs Reverse Engineering
A licensed format gives you the assurance that your translator is going to read or write the CAD format of your choice as the CAD vendor intended. A reverse-engineered translator can also read a CAD format but is more prone to errors, where the translator is only as good as the person who last engineered it, and is also subject to changing interpretations and definitions that inevitably arise out of changing CAD formats and features. TransMagic SUPERVIEW (and all core TransMagic products) use licensed APIs for CATIA, NX, SolidEdge, SOLIDWORKS, Inventor and many more, including native APIs for neutral formats such as ACIS, Parasolid, 3D PDF, JT, Collada, Web GL and more.
True CAD Brep Geometry
TransMagic reads and writes true CAD Brep geometry, which gives you access to accurate mass properties calculations, surface area calculations, bounding box geometry and measure and dimensioning tools, as well as Model Based Definition data and PMI.
A PMI section is shown in the screenshot at right; this single feature saves a major automotive OEM from having to maintain hundreds of sectional drawings for a single major component. PMI can be viewed, managed and extracted to CAD and shareable formats such as 3D PDF.
There are a host of other tools useful for viewing and estimating, as well as translating to other CAD Brep formats, polygonal formats and voxels.
Decimal Precision Accuracy
CAD systems range in decimal precision from 10-4 to 10-6 (4 to 6 places of accuracy).
Depending on the precision of the translator, data can be lost as soon as it enters the host system, i.e., if the translator is built with 5 places of precision, it will be unable to properly define incoming geometry from a higher-precision CAD system, potentially leading to significant geometric variance from the original or corrupt geometry.
Higher precision means higher quality and less chance of error. TransMagic is built with 10-6 precision, ensuring that you can read every nuance of the geometric data in the native CAD format, and that your translation is the best it can possibly be.
Ease of use is a huge determining factor in how often and to what degree a software solution is utilized.
A 2010 study by Gartner Research found ‘ease of use’ to be more important than ‘product features’ and correlated easier to use applications to significantly higher user adoption rates.
Ease of use translates into less time training users, less time for users to wade through processes, and ultimately increased productivity.
In the study, usage rates within a company rose from 27% to 35% when the software was rated as ‘easy to use’. When a company is investing in a tool, it makes good business sense to look not only for the best, most accurate system possible, but a system that the users will want to use. TransMagic has made ease of use a hallmark of their design for fifteen years, striving to keep the number of buttons and menus to an absolute minimum and automating complex processes wherever possible.
The Industry Translation Solution
TransMagic Expert is the best, most cost-effective translator in the world. In head-to-head benchmarks with its stiffest competitors, only one other (much higher priced) solution was found as capable. Ease of use, high precision and licensed geometric kernels give you the edge you need to contend with today’s multi-CAD world. Learn more about TransMagic Expert here.
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Detroit Automotive Technology Examiner
– Frank Sherosky, Detroit Automotive Technology Examiner