Free Whitepaper: Enhancing the User Experience in CAD Data Re-Use and Translation Processes

According to CIMdata 2014 NC Market Analysis Report, 10 out of the top 15 CAM companies use Spatial's 3D InterOp.  Read this whitepaper to learn why.


  • The Pitfalls of Poor 3D CAD Translation
  • How to Design for Productivity
  • How Users are Empowered with a 3D Interoperability software solution
  • How to leverage a productive and predictable experience in your Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) workflow



Translating 3D CAD data files for application interoperability is a given part of today’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) workflow; providing a predictable and productive user experience is no longer a luxury - it’s a necessity!

Today the richness and complexity of the design and analysis process often requires multiple applications to be available to engineers.  A product lifecycle management system (PLM) managing the data for such a library of solutions will also require the translation of core CAD data between the applications.  The result is the need for translation mechanisms that understand the underlying elements of each application’s data, and faithfully, accurately, and predictably present the core data to the user and to other applications. Learn more about 3D Interoperability.


3D data translation tools must do much more than just translate (convert data from one data form into another). Translation must also deliver on the application workflow requirements for use of the data. For example, users may not need to modify anything, they may simply want to query a product structure. Other users may need to collaborate and annotate the model to describe engineering changes, while others may need a way to accurately and reliably re-import a subset of the model. It’s more about understanding the purpose for interacting with the data than a strict translation for data modification.

Translating a 3D model from one environment to another can result in issues from a loss of data integrity, such as missing or deformed surfaces, faulty edge orientation, open boundaries, or self-intersecting wires. The translation tool must be capable of repairing and validating the model in the destination format, providing a quality result preserving design intent for data reuse.

Finally, the interactive portion of the translation process must provide a predictable and pleasing user experience. Long load times, excessive periods of “silence” (no feedback), or not giving the user control over the process can lead to a frustrating experience—increasing costs, reducing user productivity, and reducing customer confidence in the end-user product.

In this paper we discuss common pitfalls of poor CAD data translation, and, through the use of Spatial’s 3D InterOp component, provide insights about steps that can be taken by 3D software developers to ensure that their applications successfully overcome these challenges. 






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