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KeyCreator Compare

Kubotek comes out with an app that compares one version of geometry with another and highlights changes. We interview Kubotek about it

By Ralph Grabowski, Jan 16, 2012

See Also

 ·  Kubotek website
 ·  KeyCreator articles-collected by CADdigest.com
 ·  KeyCreator directory-on TenLinks.com

Kubotek is known for its KeyCreator direct modeling MCAD software, but another side is less visible: software that inspects and validates CAD models, especially those translated from other formats.

This side of the business came about when Boeing wanted to allow subcontractors to use their own CAD systems, but needed some way to certify that the models translated correctly to CATIA, the system Boeing uses. Kubotek developed the model validation software, and then expanded its abilities to check the accuracy of assemblies, references, dimensions, PMI, annotations, BOMs, and even the math types used by translators. Kubotek has now developed a Comparison Suite, targeted at two main applications: Comparison and documentation of changes occurring in translated data for quality system compliance and comparison and documentation of design changes. Basically, the Comparison Suite of products handles not only the validation, but also documenting design changes, including the set-up of custom templates to automate batches of change reports.

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Click for larger picture
Kubotek Compare highlights differences between versions of geometry

Kubotek’s Comparison suite consists of ECO Manger, Validation Tool and now the Compare add-on. While ECO and Validation Tool are meant for larger enterprise or tier level suppliers and are priced accordingly*. However, the new Compare add-on may be a good entry point for those wishing to spend a lot less and who can use this technology with KeyCreator’s CAD system. Compare performs basic geometry and assembly comparisons, looking for differences between two files. The differences are reported using colors, "is-was" values displayed by tooltips, and a detailed history tree. There is no formal report generation; it is strictly visual. Kubotek suggests the software can be used by designers to self-check design changes during a design session--designers can see a history of the changes they've made as the model develops.

Q&A

In a recent interview, Kubotek VP of Sales, Matt Carr explained to me his company's intent regarding KeyCreator Compare.

Q: Is KeyCreator Compare a stripped down version of KeyCreator?
A:
It is a stripped-down version of our high-end ECO [engineering change order] Manager product. Compare is not standalone, like ECO Manager, but runs inside of KeyCreator. It requires an additional license beyond what is needed with KeyCreator.

Senior Application Engineer, Andy Beaupre added that other CAD systems typically perform comparisons only on their own file formats, and simply don't have the breadth of support for the many file formats handled by Compare.
 
Q: It seems to me that KeyCreator Compare would be useful on its own. Why is it not available as a stand-alone?
A:
It could be standalone, but that is not a direction we are going right now. It is married to the direct modeler. The validation process is not allowed to change the data; only on the design side can you make changes. Hence, KeyCreator Compare runs inside KeyCreator: Compare shows differences; KeyCreator makes the corrections. It is tied to a CAD system so that the changes can be corrected directly, rather than having to request the corrections.

If you need to operate the software on other computers, KeyCreator Compare can be run  using a node lock, floating or USB SIM license; floating or SIM’s provide network flexibility in where you run the software.

Q: Is markup available?
A:
We are looking at adding markup tools.

Q: We know that translation is not perfect. Say I import a model saved in SAT and another in Parasolid or JT format. How does Compare guard against showing differences in models that are actually differences due to translation errors?
A:
Compare simply shows the differences. In some ways, it does not matter where the change came from -- from a design change or through translation error. Problems introduced by translation are outside the scope of this software, but Compare will identify the differences in any case.

Q: Your Web page says KeyCreator Compare can be used for quotes. How does it tie into a bidding or job costing system?
A:
There is no link to quoting systems, although you can take exact measurements.

In the field, we found that customers had been quoting from a written description, but now they can make quotes from the actual 3D model. The mold making industry typically gets lots of changes. You would use this software to determine the volume of material, the complexity of the mould, the changes from the previous mould -- to visually see the changes.

Q: Does it generate reports?
A:
No. It has a tree to see the relationship of parts. If you wanted printed output, you could take a screen grab.  Otherwise, you would need to rely on ECO Manager for full report generation.

Q: I notice mention of flat assemblies, something I haven't heard of before. What are they?
A:
These are models made only of solid bodies, in which all references collapsed. Compare handles these, as well as traditional models that have assemblies with internal and external links to part files. Since Compare runs in KeyCreator, it can break the links, and then relink them at will. This allows you to remove parts that are of no interest.

Q: What is the pricing of these products?
A:
Our price is at approximately two-thirds of the mid-range CAD industry standard. KeyCreator with base translators is $3,700; maintenance is another 22% a year. There are additional costs for high end translators, such as for CATIA, which can add one or two thousand to the price.

We haven't fixed the price of Compare; right now, we list it as $2,495, plus cost of KeyCreator.

For More Information

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*Comparison suite products range from about $2K - $9K for the "add-on"' versions to KeyCreator and $3K-$11K for the stand-alone products

About the Author

Ralph Grabowski is the owner of upFront.eZine Publishing and hosts the WorldCAD Access blog. He has written over 100 books and several hundred magazine articles about CAD. He has served as technical editor for Cadalyst magazine, and has been a columnist for CADENCE and AutoCAD World. Ralph holds a civil engineering degree from the University of British Columbia. He was awarded "Best CAD/AEC/PLM Editor" by Strategic Research in 2005, and received the CAD Society's "Community Award" in 2002.

Complete bio on upFront.eZine