Kubotek comes out with an app that compares one
version of geometry with another and highlights changes. We
interview Kubotek about it
Ralph Grabowski, Jan 16, 2012
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
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
Click for larger picture
Kubotek Compare highlights differences between versions of
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.
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
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
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
Q: Is markup available?
A: We are looking at adding markup tools.
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
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
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
suite products range from about $2K - $9K for the "add-on"' versions
to KeyCreator and $3K-$11K for the stand-alone products
||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.
bio on upFront.eZine