CATIA V5 Incorporates Functional Modeling
April 3, 2003
In October 2002, Dassault Systèmes signed a deal with CAD startup ImpactXoft to incorporate IX Design’s technology into a future release of CATIA version five. (See “Dassault Systèmes invests in ImpactXoft.”) At the opening session of the Spring 2003 meeting of the U.S. CATIA Operators Exchange (COE), executives gave CATIA customers a peek at a new product that incorporates ImpactXoft’s functional modeling.
(Click image to enlarge.) ImpactXoft’s functional modeling enables intricate castings, such as this one, to be made with relatively few features as shown in the tree to the left of the display.
CATIA V5 release 12 (tentatively scheduled for the end of 2003) will include a new software product with the working title Molded Part Design Workbench. Workbenches are collections of functions grouped on a common button menu. (See “CATIA versus SolidWorks” for more description.) When a designer opens the new workbench from a pull-down menu, CATIA displays a button bar with the IX Design functional features that are most useful for designing molded parts. These include cutouts, pockets, bosses, ribs, grills, and rests (lands).
The functional features differ from features used in most other CAD systems. ImpactXoft’s features create geometry that might require multiple features in a typical CAD program based on the methods pioneered by Pro/Engineer. For example, a functional cutout differs from an ordinary cut feature in that it can have a variety of edge treatments around an opening. With conventional systems, a lip around the edge of a hole would generally be defined as a separate feature. (So-called user-defined features combine multiple features in one operation, but these compound features typically aren’t provided with most CAD software.)
(Click image to enlarge.) Fully integrated with CATIA version five, ImpactXoft’s functional modeling employs menus and button bars consistent with CATIA’s style. Some of the new ImpactXoft features are shown in the button bar at the top of the display.
A second difference is that ImpactXoft’s features go together without regard to the order in which they are created. (See “IX Design rolls out” for discussion.) The net result is that plastic castings can be created faster and with fewer features than conventional CAD systems require. These properties also could make functional models easier for others to modify when the need arises.
- Best of both worlds
- Future developments
The full article is available for a fee at CADCAMNet.