SolidWorks and Catia – again

Roopinder Tara talks about Dassault and SolidWorks not "talking", raising the question for the ten-thousandth time.  John McEleney answers it for the ten-thousandth and first time (read his comments).

Richard Doyle
My official title is Senior User Advocacy & SolidWorks User Groups - but most people just call me "The User Group Guy". I've been a SolidWorks user since 1997, and was one of the founding members of the SWUGN Committee. Since starting the Central Texas SolidWorks User Group in 1999, my career path has led me to DS SolidWorks and a dream job supporting the SolidWorks User Group Network worldwide.
Richard Doyle
Richard Doyle
  • Jason

    Richard, John didn’t really answer the question. Solidworks can read native Autocad, Inventor, Solidedge, UG, Pro/E, & Cadkey file….but it cannot read native Catia files. A very simple question that has “never” been answered by Solidworks…”why?”.

    This just fuels the rumors that Dassault prevents you guys from putting a Catia translator inside Solidworks.

    John makes it sound like he’d rather not spend the resources on it but resoures were spent on all the other’s tranlators.

    The way I see it: The translators are primarily put in to help when moving competitor’s customer to Solidworks. Dassault doesn’t really want Catia and Solidworks cannabilizing each others user base since that means no additional $$$. Hence, not catai translator…except through a 3rd party.

    So what’s the real story?

  • Space Coast CAD Solutions

    The answer is very simple, really. Catia and SolidWorks don’t talk to each other because they are built on different kernels. Because Catia uses the ACIS kernel by Spatial, and SolidWorks usese the UGS Parasolid kernel, this presents the first barrier. The second, and most major barrier, is a legal one. Even though Catia and SW are owned by the same parent, the modeling kernels are exclusive to 2 different companies. There are licensing issues involved, and it’s debatable if anyone can really understand all the legalese that is involved in this, other than the UGS and Dassault lawyers. For whatever reason, there seems to be some major legal obstacle to a good bridge being developed. I really do not know if this is a maneuver on the part of UGS to push their NX line of software to the forefront of the high-end CAD market, (they certainly have the upper hand from this perspective) or if it’s some sort of condition of the acquisition of SolidWorks by Dassault. Perhaps someone else can elaborate on this, especially if they are a VAR and deal with licensing for data translators.

  • freecader

    “Catia and SolidWorks don’t talk to each other because they are built on different kernels. Because Catia uses the ACIS kernel by Spatial, and SolidWorks usese the UGS Parasolid kernel”

    This is an old post but I would like to clarify some points here. Catia is not using the ACIS kernel. Catia is a top-tier, or rather high-end, CAD package that was already in existence long before it acquired Spatial Technology that was developing and marketing the ACIS kernel. In fact, Dassault Systemes acquired SolidWorks long before it purchased ACIS. Catia has its own proprietary kernel. At the time when Dassault bought SolidWorks, it was thought that Dassault wanted SolidWorks very friendly GUI. But it didn’t turn out that way because Catia GUI was far more superior akin to that of another top-tier package called I-DEAS (now merged with Unigraphics as the NX package). So the purchase was a purely business decision as SolidWorks was the fastest growing mid-tier MCAD company at that time. But the strangest thing is that SolidWorks uses the Parasolid kernel, at that time developed and sold by UGS, a direct competitor of Dassault. It could be the apprehension that UGS, an EDS company (now Siemens PLM) would stop supporting SolidWorks with its Parasolid kernel or the fact that EDS charges a high premium for the the Parasolid kernel that made it less competitive than EDS own product, Solid Edge. Either scenario could have drove Dassault to acquire Spatial Technology that was relatively a small company at the time of purchase. Interestingly, Solid Edge started out as an Intergraph product that used the ACIS kernel and then switched to Parasolid when UGS acquired it.


    Solidworks_and_.. Nice :)


    How do I start working with STL file in CATIA V5? Please help me out. thanks in advance.

  • Justyna

    Very interesting inevitrew (listened to the full version). The T Splines question was a good one Josh. So basically he is saying (loud and clear) that in future SolidWorks/v6 can pick and choose technologies from the Dassault portfolio and that it is a decision by SolidWorks what they choose. So, in theory, Imagine and Shape technologies (or sub sets of it) can be used.It also appears that they are positioning SolidWorks (Mechanical) as the structural engineering element to Live Buildings. I am not convinced about the response to the final question though. I understand the meaning of product experience but I am not convinced that digital simulation can deliver this across many product sectors. For large scale projects I see the need, but for smaller scale products there are elements that come into play that simply cannot be economically defined without making a physical product or prototype things like weight, balance, feel, surface texture, temperature, comfort endurance etc. To me, those elements are critical to the 3D experience.On Dassault’s own 3D blog they show videos of two 3D experience projects one for towing icebergs, the other for a watch design. I get the iceberg. I simply don’t see the value in this approach for the watch.I can’t help but feel that all this is sending mixed messages to the market. Dassault have the technology but their marketing is confusing. All they have to say to users is, we are creating a new platform based around the CATIA/Enovia v6 technologies. All DS products will use this as the underlying system, and all DS products can access all the technologies. It is up to each company what they choose to use.I would sooner they moved away from demoing 1990s style game simulations and useless gallery applications and focussed on showing just what these technologies can do. That way we have something to look forward to.