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Theorem has enabled BAE Systems to migrate CADDS data into CATIA for its Nimrod MRA4 maritime reconnaissance aircraft project.

CADDS had originally been selected for wing design and CATIA was being used elsewhere on the airframe.

BAE Systems considered unifying the MRA4 project on a single CAD system, and the conclusion was that a migration of CADDS data into CATIA would be desirable if it could be done effectively and economically.

There were many significant challenges to taking such a step.

CADDS had been used effectively for wing design for a long time and BAE had built up a very large database of designs comprising over 120,000 models and drawings.

These consisted of stand-alone 2D drawings, 2D model data, 3D wire frame, 3D surface data, 3D solids and the various combinations.

It soon became clear that while standards-based methods such as IGES or STEP would assist in the migration of some elements of this data, they would not enable a full migration.

Even the CADverter direct database CADDS to CATIA translator supplied by Theorem, though it would translate the 2D and 3D model files, was not at that time able to offer a solution for the whole 2D data set.

However, Theorem had already developed drawing translation capabilities on other migration projects, and the enhancement of this module to meet BAE’s specific needs solved the problem.

A translation process was developed that used Theorem’s CADverter to translate all forms of CADDS geometry into CATIA format and then carry out three comparison operations on the source data and the resulting destination data.

For every translation, the mass properties would be compared and Theorem’s shape comparison module would be applied.

By using these three different methods any discrepancy could be identified, but the question of how to enable a manual checker to confirm this still remained.

The data created by the three-stage checking process created very detailed reports and the prospect of manually trying to interpret such documents was not acceptable.

The solution to this problem was Theorem Process Manager (TPM), a product that Theorem had developed for the management and control of translation processes.

TPM provides the ability to ‘read’ all the detailed comparison logs, and build summary and exception reports including detail from other system messages during the process.

TPM can also compare data in summarised results with user-defined ‘range tables’, and was therefore able to pinpoint any translations that included values outside acceptable ranges.

This meant that TPM was able to create man-readable summary information and specific exception reports, directing manual checking to the translations that showed potential problems and avoiding the previous need to check the vast majority of translations ‘just in case’ there might be an error.

TPM has automated the checking process and removed one of the most labour-intensive and significant cost overheads, making the MRA4 migration project much more viable.

A by-product of applying TPM to the checking process has been that detailed audit trails are also automatically produced.

This removes the other potential stumbling block of having to create and validate an audit trail manually.

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