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Muggle Technology

excerpted from  

August 21, 2003

The need to translate data among CAD systems remains important even though there are fewer CAD system brands in use today than there were a decade ago. Firms with lower-cost CAD systems such as SolidWorks, Solid Edge, or Inventor need to read data from higher-priced systems such as CATIA, Unigraphics, or Pro/Engineer. The reverse may also be true. One CATIA user we met needed to translate into CATIA version five an assembly designed with SolidWorks by a Hungarian subcontractor.

TransMagic is a stand-alone data-translation program that converts three-D solid models from one system to another. It’s exceptional for being able to read and write both CATIA version four and five data. But TransMagic doesn’t perform real magic. Like most translators, there are limits to what it can do.
TransMagic standard was able to read this CATIA version four model of an exhaust manifold and translate it to Parasolid format, readable by Unigraphics, SolidWorks, or Solid Edge. The solid appears in SolidWorks’ feature manager (shown at the left) as an imported body. No features were translated.
(Click image for a larger view.)

TransMagic translates solid-model geometry, but it doesn’t convert dimension-driven form features, such as extrusions, cuts, or sweeps. Consequently, the end product of a TransMagic conversion is what most systems call an “imported body” whose dimensions can’t easily be changed.

Like STEP or IGES translators, TransMagic reads data in the format of the originating system and converts it to its own proprietary format. The software will read either solids or surfaces. After reading the data, users have the option of letting TransMagic repair (close) any gaps between surfaces so that they can be sewn into a solid.

Repair functions are automated. Users have a choice of lite, full, super, and assembly repair. There is little need for users to make decisions when repairs are being made. On the other hand, if the repairs don’t work, users can do little about that either.

TransMagic doesn’t handle all formats bi-directionally. It can read and write CATIA files, but it can only read (and not write) Pro/Engineer and Unigraphics. Moreover, like most third-party translators, it lags behind the releases of the software providers. For instance neither Pro/Engineer Wildfire nor Unigraphics NX will be supported until the October 2003 release. The complete matrix of TransMagic capabilities is shown in the table below.

TransMagic 4.1 translation matrix

From

ACIS R2-11CATIA V4.1-4.2CATIA V5 R?-?Parasolid R10-14Pro/Engineer V16-2001Unigraphics V11-18
 

 

 

 

 

To

ACIS R2-11

0

CATIA V4.1-4.2

0

CATIA V5 R6-11

0

Parasolid R10-14

0

Pro/Engineer V16-2001

X

X

X

X

0

X

Unigraphics V11-18

X

X

X

X

X

0

 =translation available X=no translation 0=identical

Even though TransMagic is able to read Pro/Engineer files (which have been encrypted since the 2000i release), it doesn’t employ PTC’s Granite kernel. TransMagic has licensed both Parasolid from EDS and the CAA libraries for version five from Dassault Systmes to use in its translation software. TransMagic also reads and writes the standard ISO 10303 (STEP) and IGES formats, as do most CAD programs.

Read more...

  • Assemblies tricky
  • Who could use it?

The full article is available for a fee at CADCAMNet.

 
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