In an earlier post titled “A Sick Dassault Systemes Joke” I explained in great detail why I believe Dassault Systemes was doing everything it could to prevent SolidWorks from adding support for CATIA V4 and V5 to their software. Instead of stopping at bitching about the problem, I decided to go ahead and do something about it. So I made contact with Spatial and began negotiations with them to license 3D InterOp (their data exchange component) along with the CATIA V5 libraries from Dassault Systemes. As it turns out, things went quite smoothly. If you have been keeping track of this blog or the press releases coming out from SYCODE, you will have noticed that off late we have been releasing quite a few products that use 3D InterOp.
Today we released two add-ins for SolidWorks: CATIA V4 Import for SolidWorks and CATIA V5 Import for SolidWorks. The CATIA V4 add-in uses libraries developed by Spatial and can read .model, .exp and .session files from CATIA version 4.1.9 to 4.2.4. However, the V5 add-in uses authentic CATIA V5 libraries developed by Dassault Systemes and can read .CATPart, .CATProduct and .cgr files from CATIA V5 R2 to V5 R19.
The use of authentic CATIA V5 libraries in our V5 import add-in ensures that the quality of data translation from CATIA V5 to SolidWorks is almost perfect. I use the word “almost” because SolidWorks uses Parasolid, a modeling kernel different from that used by CATIA. The conversion of geometry from CATIA to SolidWorks is largely dependent on how good a job the programmers at Spatial have done mapping geometry from one kernel to another. From the results of our testing, they appear to have done a pretty good job. Either way, in my opinion, this is definitely one of the best solutions that is available, if not the best.
One of the most common questions from SolidWorks users that we receive at SYCODE is “How can I open CATIA files in SolidWorks?” Previously, we could not help these users. Now we can. Giving SolidWorks the ability to read CATIA V4 and V5 parts and assemblies is only solving half the problem. We are now investigating how we could give SolidWorks the ability to save its parts and assemblies to CATIA V4 and V5 files.