Now able to run on a number of different workstations, and building on the STEP standard, Catia looks set to enter more market areas

The latest version of Catia/Cadam Solutions, version 4 release 1.7, continues along the path IBM and Dassault Systemes have set themselves of making the product more open and better able to function in workplaces with more than one type of platform.

Two new standard interfaces make it easier to exchange data across heterogeneous CADCAM systems. STEP 214 was originally developed by the automotive industry for the automotive industry, but it has a much broader impact across manufacturing, allowing data to be shared and exchanged within the same company, or between a company and its suppliers.

The latest version of Catia supports AP214 as well as another standard, OXFIDWG, which lets Catia users exchange engineering drawings and related texts, annotations, details and views with PC-based systems.

Catia is no longer the single platform of old: its modules now run on a variety of workstations from Sun, SGI and HP, as well as IBM.

The use of feature-based tools now helps designers of cars and consumer goods to produce better shapes by capturing design intent more easily. One of the new additions to Catia of importance to the mechanical design engineer is Global Shape Deformation, a feature that provides users with a set of tools so they can perform continuous deformations of complex shapes.

The design of plastic parts is improved due to the fact that two new filleting types have also been included. In addition, the design of fabricated parts and tooling has been simplified through the incorporation of a new chamfer operator.

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