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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Working with Catia data in Autodesk Inventor

With the release of Inventor 2010 earlier this year we were given the ability to open 3D model data that was created using Catia V5 and also save 3D Inventor parts and assemblies in Catia V5 format. This gives Inventor users the ability to collaborate with clients, suppliers and colleagues who use Catia during their design process.

Within Inventor 2010, the Open dialogue box has an extensive list of file types that can be opened which includes (amongst many others) JT, UGS NX, SolidWorks, DWG, Pro/Engineer and of course Catia V5. By selecting ‘Catia V5 Files’ from the list you can select any of the .CATProduct or .CATPart files that have been created using Catia V5.
.CATProduct files are similar to Inventors .IAM assembly files and contain references to .CATPart files which are similar to Inventors .IPT part files. If you choose to open a .CATProduct file that has references to .CATPart files, all of the related data will be opened into Inventor 2010. If you choose to open a .CATPart file, the part will be opened so you can quickly re-use it and save it as an Inventor .IPT file.
When you select a Catia V5 .CATProduct or .CATPart file to open into Inventor 2010, you can change the open options that will allow you to configure what you want to import and how you want to import it. The options dialogue gives you the ability to choose whether you want to import Solids, Surfaces, Wires etc and how you want the imported data to behave e.g. do you want the assembly to be an assembly, single part, multi-body solid and do you want to import surfaces as single surfaces, composites or as a group. There are also options to Check Parts during Load and Enable Advanced Healing; both of these options are post process options that check the quality of the data and allow stitching.
Setting the options when you are opening data that originated in other software will help you when re-using it within Inventor 2010 making sure you have access to the 3D geometry quickly and easily.

When you want to share your 3D Inventor data with a Catia V5 user, just use the Export > CAD Format... option and select Catia V5 from the files of type. Once again you can set the Options which allows you to include Sketch geometry (or not) and also set the version of Catia V5 that will be using the data (R18, R17, R16 etc).