CAD Data Migration

CAD data migration refers to a process of transferring existing CAD models to a CAD system being different from the CAD system where the models were created. CAD data migration is necessary to stay compatible with new CAD systems and in the situations we change CAD environment. As multi-CAD environments are commonly used today CAD data migration is a frequent practice. When we go from one CAD system to another we need to resolve not only the format issues, but also (more important) incompatibilities in CAD kernels used by different systems. This is not a trivial task and solving it can be challenging even if we use most sophisticated repair & healing technologies. In any case the CAD data migration call always for validation to ensure CAD model integrity. Capvidia offers both special tools for CAD data migration as tools for CAD data validation. Only if the validation process is successfully passed we can talk about successful migration. The validation process should be an integral part of the CAD data migration. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

Capvidia offers various specialized solutions for both CAD data migration and validation:

  • CATIA V4/V5 import to SolidWorks
  • Import of large files and assemblies into SolidWorks
  • Feature based translation into SolidWorks
  • Bi-directional CATIA-SW-CATIA
  • CATIA V4 to CATIA V5 migration
  • Batch translation

CATIA Import to SolidWorks

Importing large automotive CATIA models and assemblies to SolidWorks is time consuming and problematic. With FormatWorks the process is optimal, straightforward and easy. The reading and translation of CATIA parts is fully controlled by FormatWorks and runs independently from SolidWorks. CATIA models are analyzed and automatically repaired to internal requirements of the SolidWorks kernel. Prior to SolidWorks translation the part is visualized and can be examined in a graphical window. The user can choose to translate the entire model or only individual parts (ref. points, edges, faces, solids, assemblies) required in SolidWorks for further design work.

"Efficient import of large CATIA models into SolidWorks is crucial for subcontractors working with automotive and aerospace industry. They often get complex CATIA parts and assemblies, but only need a portion of the original model in SolidWorks to complete their design. FormatWorks saves them time that is currently being wasted in translating complete models and provides a flexible bridge between CATIA and SolidWorks environments."

Feature Based Data Translation to SolidWorks

Capvidia uses native CATIA V5 libraries (licensed from Spatial) to read native CATIA data. The original part are analyzed and qualified into two entity groups: FFO (Free Form Objects expressed as NURBS) and AO (Analytical Objects expressed by plane, cylinder, sphere, cone, torus, surface of revolution, extrusion). The AO objects with explicit SolidWorks feature representation are automatically translated. The translation of the FFO objects requires minimal user interaction. The whole process is intuitive and fully interactive with drag & drop operations. The user decides which parts should be converted into editable SolidWorks features and those that should be left in their original "frozen" form as references. The resulting hybrid models are ideal for the design of manufacturing tools, robot fixtures and rigs around complex parts imported into SolidWorks. The resulting SolidWorks model can be validated against the original CATIA model using CompareWorks or CompareVidia (see Capvidia validation tools).


Model in CATIA V5
Model in CATIA V5
FormatWorks SolidWorks Add-in
FormatWorks SolidWorks Add-in
Model in SolidWorks
Model in SolidWorks

Bringing CATIA models (based on proprietary kernel) into SolidWorks (based on Parasolid kernel) requires applying special repair& healing techniques. The objective of healing is to adopt the original model mathematical definition to the requirements of the receiving CAD system. The healing operation may involve change of an incompatible entity (e.g. NURBS entity is converted into a cylinder representation), but must not allow any change or deformations of the original model (volume and surface should remain the same). In the advanced data translation systems as FormatWorks, 3D TransVidia and others the healing process is implemented in the background and not visible to the user. The system requires from the user only the definition of the receiving CAD system (data format) to which the translation has to be performed.

CATIA Assemblies

Selective data import from CATIA to SolidWorks
Selective data import from CATIA to SolidWorks

For CATIA assemblies the best solution available is 3D TransVidia. This product is a standalone application communicating with SolidWorks over an API. It can be configured to work with multiple SolidWorks seats connected over the local network (using local IP addresses). In this way a user can read a complex assembly into 3D TransVidia without locking any seats during the translation process. The assembly can be further divided into individual parts and send to different users. In this way the work can run in parallel using sub-sets of the imported model on different workstations. This capability is very important in applications related to tooling and fixture design, re-design of limited parts of the original model or design of new related elements using references from the original model, all being typical applications for subcontractors to the automotive and aerospace industry.

3DTransVidia configured with multiple SW seats
3DTransVidia configured with
multiple SW seats

Exporting from SolidWorks to CATIA

When the user decides to export a SolidWorks part to CATIA, FormatWorks/3D TransVidia will first verify the part compatibility with CATIA, then heal the model if required and only after that translate it into native CATIA format. In cases where the model definition is incompatible with the receiving system and automatic healing cannot be performed the user will receive a warning that the resulting translation may include errors

Large Data Sets - Batch Translation

All Capvidia solutions have options for automatic batch translation. Batch translation is an interesting option for translating large amounts of legacy data. The process is fully automatic and can run overnight. The batch translation mode controls all steps of translation process. The results and potential problems are stored in a log file. In case of batch translation for SolidWorks each translated model is read into SolidWorks for verification of the results and stored automatically in SolidWorks file format. If any problems are encountered the system will automatically recover after a user-defined time-out. SolidWorks will also be restarted in case of a crash. All problems are logged with a time stamp for further verification and control.

Capvidia offers wide range of solutions for working with imported data in SolidWorks. Interoperability between CATIA and SolidWorks requires specialized tools not only converting data formats but also resolve incompatibilities between CAD kernels. We offer both products and services helping you to deal with all kind of data translation issues.