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CAD Interoperability Survival Guide

Everybody favors their CAD solution and that means interoperability havoc in multi-CAD environments. Here's an idea for how to manage the chaos.

Everybody favors their CAD solution and that means interoperability havoc in multi-CAD environments. Here's an idea for how to manage the chaos.

Working in a multi-CAD environment is the norm, and it comes with loads of problems that waste time and money. The white paper “CAD Interoperability Survival Guide” explores a practical way to better manage multi-CAD’s troubles and get back a lot of your time. Tech-Clarity cover image courtesy of Autodesk Inc.

Dear DE Reader:

Multi-CAD environments are vexatious. Every team, client and external partner prefers their CAD solution. And they don't want to buy or learn yours. This adds data conversion, redrawing and assorted error-prone, non-value added costs. What to do? Stop doing business with them? Today's Check it Out read has a better idea.

The e-book “CAD Interoperability Survival Guide” by Tech-Clarity's Jim Brown doesn't offer the panacea that eliminates multi-cad “mayhem,” as he calls it. Brown acknowledges that a CAD solution's ability to recognize and include designs of different formats, today's state of art, beats nothing. Nonetheless, you still spend too much time and money revising models with design changes.

The practical approach, he suggests, lies with software capable of incorporating non-native CAD files with associativity. Meaning what? Essentially, software that tracks changes within the context of design relationships.

Hands-on, this means you can reapply parametric changes when a revised file is included without the need for rework. Beyond making processes simpler and less error prone, this has broader ramifications like freeing contract manufacturers to be innovative, reduced confusion between design and machine shops as well as easier legacy data reuse.

That last bit is intriguing. Stored somewhere in your outfit are a gazillion old CAD designs that are fine pieces of work. You might be in an industry like aerospace where designs must live for decades. This software would let you grab and tweak a non-native CAD file. You could then, say, run it through embedded analysis or prep it for additive manufacturing, CAM toolpaths and so on.

This e-book does a tidy job framing the problems with multi-CAD environments and leading you through what the ability to track changes within the context of design relationships can mean for you. Brown liberally uses insights from real-world users to bring home his points. He suggests what your next moves could be.

Brown and Autodesk, the paper's sponsor, also earn kudos for not pushing Fusion 360 at you. In fact, it's not mentioned once. That's despite the temptation to tout that Autodesk is bundling all Fusion 360's functionality into one for a third of the cost of the individual functions.

The “CAD Interoperability Survival Guide” is good stuff. If you know or suspect that there's gotta be a better way to work within a multi-CAD environment, what it proposes seems a practical solution worth your consideration. Hit today's link for your copy.

Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, DE

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About the Author

Anthony J. Lockwood's avatar
Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].

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