January 15, 2001


Volume 3
Number 11

Page 1
- Welcome
Page 2
- Update
Page 3
- News
Page 4
- Brief lines

* Welcome *
Welcome to this issue of 2PDM, an e-zine distributed every two weeks on a free subscription basis. The following article, 'Choose the Exchange Format', is the third of a series of articles by Mike Bryan about CAD Data Exchange. The first article, 'A Logical Approach to CAD Data Exchange' appeared in the November 6, 2000 issue. The second, 'Determine Minimum Dataset' appeared in the December 4, 2000 issue.

* Choose the Exchange Format *
There are two main methods of transferring product data between dissimilar systems. One is by direct translation and the other is through the use of neutral formats. In this article only neutral formats will be considered since they can always be used and very often give better results than direct translation. The mechanism is that a pre-processor will translate the CAD database into the neutral format and a post-processor will translate the neutral format into the CAD database. Thus when two dissimilar systems exchange data there are two distinct translation phases - one at the sending company and the other at the receiving company. When there is an error it is essential to find out at which of the two translation phases it occurred. This subject will form the basis of a later article.

There are four contenders for the choice of exchange file neutral format which are as follows:-
  • Drawing eXchange Format (DXF)
  • Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES)
  • Verband Der Automobile-Industrie - Flachen Schnittstelle (VDA-FS)
  • STandard for the Exchange of Product model data (STEP)
DXF is an Autodesk proprietary format that has been adopted by the Construction Industry. From a Mechanical Engineering point of view it is lightweight and really only suitable for transferring simple drawings and then only if it is the highest common exchange factor linking the systems. It is not suitable for transferring part geometry because of its lack of precision even though it now offers 3D wire-frame geometry support. It does not have the weight of a National or International Standards Agency behind it nor is it incorporated into CALS. For these reasons it is not a suitable choice format to use for quality controlled data exchange between dissimilar systems.

In the beginning was IGES - mind you, it wasn't very good in the beginning. IGES has been evolving for over twenty years and has become a stable and widely used format. It is an American national standard ANSI Y14.26M. However, it does have serious limitations. The specification is written in the English language and is thus imprecise and ambiguous. It is restricted to part geometry and annotation but does include structure and relationships. The other problem is that the IGES processor implementers, who are generally the CAD vendors, will normally only offer support for their own particular entities. Thus it is possible for two exchanging systems to have an entity mismatch which is strictly not the fault of IGES but of the particular implementations. There are recognized IGES subsets which are intended to prevent this problem and these are:-
  • VDA-IS - German automobile industry IGES subset
  • MIL-D-28000 class 1 - Technical Publications )
  • MIL-D-28000 class 2 - Mechanical Engineering ) CALS subsets
  • JAMA - Japanese automobile industry IGES subset
The first three subsets listed will be supported by most IGES processors and should be used wherever possible. Another problem that tends to inhibit high quality data exchange is that IGES processors are not conformance tested although facilities for such testing do exist.

STEP has the great authority of the International Standards Organization behind it and is otherwise known as ISO 10303. It is intended to cover the whole spectrum of product data from initial design to decommissioning and will continue evolving for many years. STEP is the nemesis of IGES - at least that's the theory. It has, however made good all the shortfalls of IGES. It has its own data description language, EXPRESS, in which STEP is written. EXPRESS is an object-oriented language and is machine-readable ensuring the various parts of STEP have a unique, unambiguous interpretation. The business end of STEP, with respect to data exchange, is provided by the Application Protocols (AP).

As the name suggests an AP is a collection of entity descriptions that are applicable to a particular application area which might be as broad as automotive or as narrow as sheet metal. An entity may appear in many APs and will always be consistent (theory again) such that an AP214 processor should be able to exchange common data with an AP203 processor. In practice an AP may place restrictions on some entities such as maximum degree of a B-spline or polynomial curve. Each AP is made up of conformance classes that have their own test schedule. Thus two STEP processors that support the same conformance classes of the same AP should be able to exchange product data seamlessly. The two most commonly supported APs at the present time are AP203 - mainly used by aerospace companies - and AP214 - used by automotive companies. Support for 2D drafting is offered by AP201 and AP202 but neither of these is widely implemented by CAD vendors.

Actually there is one more format and I will mention it here to satisfy any French readers there might be:
  • Standard d'Echange et de Transfert (SET)
SET was issued in the early 1980's as a competitor to IGES and is French national standard AFNOR z68300. It is concise and results in a smaller file size than the equivalent IGES file. However, IGES had several years start on SET and was being fairly widely supported at the time of SET's birth and so SET never found much support outside French CAD suppliers. I believe, though, that it is one of the agreed exchange formats for Airbus work.

If we consider some basic categories of CAD data then the choices for exchange format would be as follows:-
  • 2D drawings (architectural) : DXF
  • 2D drawings (mechanical) : IGES, DXF (if last resort)
  • 3D wire-frame : IGES, VDA-FS, STEP
  • 3D wire-frame + 2D annotated projections : IGES
  • Solids : STEP
Note that AutoCAD is the de facto system for architectural and construction industry work hence data exchange should pose no problems: Wrong (unless AutoCAD systems are at the same release). The best bet for exchanging data between different releases of AutoCAD is DXF not native .dwg format.

Mike Bryan can be contacted at m.bryan@chyanbre.demon.co.uk

* Put 2PDM on your Mailing List * 2PDM e-zine provides information about new systems, new insights and new approaches in the PDM worlds. Each issue of 2PDM is read by more than 24,000 product development professionals. 2PDM is on the Mailing Lists of many corporations, organizations and Special Interest Groups. Mail us at pdm@2pdm.com to get permission to put free-of-charge 2PDM on your Mailing List and distribute value-adding information to your colleagues.

Page 2

 Web-based View-Markup from Spicer Corporation.

Web-based View-Markup from Spicer Corporation

* 'World of EDM/PDM' Web site pages updates/additions *
Entries in the table of Service Providers in the EDM/PDM World recently added or modified include those for Document Imaging Solutions, Inc., L&H Consultants Inc. and Processia Solutions.

Entries in the tables of providers of conferences and seminars addressing EDM/PDM recently added or modified include those for eBusiness for Industry, 21st Century Commerce EXPO 2001 and COE 2001 Spring Conference.

Contributions are sought for the PDT focus of PDT Europe 2001, (Brussels, Belgium, April 24-26, 2001) on the importance of exploiting the business opportunities available from Product Data Technology and PDM implementation. Abstracts are invited in all areas of Product Data Technology and related disciplines. Separate business and technical conference streams are planned. This Call for Papers invites original contributions, which might include any of the following main conference topics: Business Benefits, PDT Methodologies and Future Visions. Potential contributors are invited to mail pdte@qmsstep.com

Entries in the table of CAD user stories recently added or modified include those for GEBO Industries (Autodesk Inventor) and Tokyo Electron (Ansoft's Maxwell 3D).

* Recently published books *
To order any of the following books, follow the link through to Amazon.com
House of Quality (QFD) in a Minute
Christian Madu

Joint Requirements Engineering : QFD for Rapid Customer-Focused Software and Internet Development
Georg Herzwurm

Computational Fluid Dynamics : The Basics With Applications
John Anderson

IT Services Costs, Metrics, Benchmarking and Marketing
Anthony Tardugno

Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking With Realistic Applications
Rudolf Eigenmann

90 Days to Launch : Internet Projects on Time and on Budget
Shayne Gilbert

The PDMA Handbook of New Product Development
Milton Rosenau

The 5 Pillars of TQM : How to Make Total Quality Management Work for You
Bill Creech

For the following subjects, follow the links through to Amazon.com
Top 50 Computer Books Toy Store Beatles Store Management and Leadership

To order any of the following items, follow the link through to Amazon.com
Internet & Networking Top Selling Software Amazon.com 100 Hot CDs
Computer Add-Ons PDAs Top Selling Electronics

The X-Files - The Complete Second Season
Kodak DC3200 Digital Camera
Adobe Photoshop 6.0

To order any of the following books, follow the link through to Amazon.de
Harry Potter und der Feuerkelch
Joanne Rowling

Lexikon der populaeren Ernaehrungsirrtuemer
Udo Pollmer

HTML 4.0 Handbuch. HTML, JavaScript, DHTML, Perl
Stefan Muenz

Musik-Homepage    Video      Computer- & Videospiele      Software & CD-ROMs-Homepage

To order any of the following books, follow the link through to Amazon.fr
Livres : les meilleures ventes amazon.fr

Le chef de projet paresseux... mais gagnant
Marc Destors

Dictionnaire bilingue Internet et multimedia de Collectif

* Need to go to an EDM/PDM event? * To find out which events are coming up, visit our list of Conferences and Seminars in the EDM/PDM world.

Page 3

 Autovue - from Cimmetry Systems, Inc.

Download AutoVue from Cimmetry Systems

* Corporate *
Cadence Design Systems, Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire CadMOS Design Technology, Inc., a privately held design tools firm headquartered in San Jose, CA.

Cimage Enterprise Systems announced that it rebranded its international operations as Cimage NovaSoft on January 1, 2001. The name change follows the acquisition of NovaSoft Systems Inc. by Cimage Enterprise Systems in November 1999.

Intergraph Corporation and Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced the completion of Bentley's acquisition of Intergraph's civil engineering, plot-services and raster-conversion software businesses, which represent about $30 million of annual revenue.

Mentor Graphics Corporation announced that it has acquired the printed circuit board (PCB) computer-aided design software division, also called the ECAD division, of CADIX Inc., a Japanese company.

PartMiner, Inc. announced the renaming of its IQXpert subsidiary as PartMiner CSD.

* Financial results *
Ariba, Inc. announced results for the first quarter of fiscal 2001, ended December 31, 2000. Revenues were $170.2 million, up 625 percent from the same period last year. Net income for the quarter excluding certain non-cash charges was $14.0 million.

Océ announced provisional results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2000. Total revenues went up by 14% to US$ 2,803 million.

Follow the links for books in the Product Development Library
Benchmarking Computational Fluid Dynamics Project Management QFD

* People *
Engineous Software announced the appointment of Glenn Reis as vice president of American sales.

The Process & Building Solutions division of Intergraph Corporation announced the appointment of Jay Stinson as vice president, Enterprise Engineering Solutions.

* Implementation *
Agile Software Corporation announced that QUALCOMM has chosen Agile Anywhere as its collaborative manufacturing solution.

AristaSoft Corporation announced that Accordion Networks, a provider of next-generation service delivery platforms, is building a business infrastructure based on AristaSoft solutions that integrates and streamlines business processes.

Innoveda, Inc. announced that musical instrument manufacturer Peavey Electronics has standardized on Innoveda's PCB interconnect solutions.

ITI announced that Ford Motor Company has selected ITI's CAD model quality testing and interoperability software, CAD/IQ.

PartMiner CSD announced two customer wins - Israel Aircraft Industries, Ltd. and Smiths Industries.

QUMAS Inc. announced that healthcare products manufacturer Medela Inc. of McHenry, IL has implemented DocCompliance to serve as a repository and control system for all of Medela's FDA-regulated documents.

SDRC announced that Thiokol Propulsion has placed a $2.2 million order with SDRC to transition from Sherpa's PDM system to Metaphase.

Verity, Inc. and the H.W. Wilson Company, publisher of Web, CD-ROM and print references for librarians and researchers worldwide, announced that Verity technology has been selected to power the new version of the WilsonWeb which is targeted for deployment in 2001.

* Developments *
GDS Engineers, Inc. (GDS) announced the release of CADQC for AutoCAD. CADQC is a drawing standards checking application that runs as a stand-alone application or with AutoCAD 2000/2000i.

Green Pasture Software announced G5 for Lotus Domino.doc. G5 is a Web-based application that enables Domino.doc users to manage CAD documents and their relationships to reference files, redline files, change orders, maintenance schedules and similar files from within Domino.doc.

Hummingbird Ltd. announced the immediate availability of Hummingbird EIP 4.0.


Download the CIMdata Report

Spicer Corporation announced the integration of ViewCafé's Java-2 enabled functions into CMwebStat, a Web-based product configuration management system created by CMstat Corporation. Using ViewCafé through a standard Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, CMwebStat users can find a parts list, view/redline/or markup a drawing or document, initiate a change request, perform a change impact assessment and make on-the-fly status reports.

Tecnomatix Technologies, Ltd. announced the release of its new product eM-PLC, enabling engineers to design manufacturing processes in a 3D virtual environment and then introduce control information into that virtual cell.

* Relationships *
Agile Software Corporation and WebEx Communications announced that Agile has selected the WebEx platform to support Agile NetCCB, a new eService hosted on MyAgile.com. Agile NetCCB will enable Agile customers and their supply chain partners to hold change control board (CCB) meetings to collaborate in real-time on product content by providing group access to bills of materials, change orders and drawings.

Cimage NovaSoft announced the signing of Visual Concepts as a Cimage NovaSoft business partner. Visual Concepts designs, develops and implements large applications, primarily in the Oracle environment.

Ingenuus Corporation announced that it has selected Seiko Instruments to be the exclusive distributor of its Verilux Electronic Design Automation products in Japan.

MatrixOne, Inc. and Johnson Controls, Inc., a tier-one automotive interior supplier, announced a strategic partnership to jointly develop an integrated, Web-based solution for automotive suppliers to bring new levels of design collaboration, communication and management to the entire supply chain.

MatrixOne, Inc., e2open and Ariba, Inc. announced that e2open will deliver new collaborative product design and commerce services to its member community, leveraging technology from MatrixOne and Ariba.

Océ announced an agreement to distribute ZyLAB Technologies' ZyIMAGE software worldwide under the name Océ Find Logic.

Océ Technologies and Dassault Systemes announced the signing of a Component Application Architecture V5 development partnership. The purpose of this agreement is the integration of Océ printing applications in the CATIA V5 environment.

* Other *
EIGNER + PARTNER announced that axalant-CM has been certified by the Institute of Configuration Management.

Workgroup Technology Corporation (WTC) announced that, effective January 12, 2001, WTC's trading symbol is being changed from WKGCD to WKGP.

Page 4
Brief lines

Subscription information
To subscribe to 2PDM, fill in the subscription form or send an e-mail headed 'start 2PDM subscription' to pdm@2pdm.com

Subscription cost
Subscribers receive 2PDM free of charge.

Privacy policy
We understand and respect your desire for privacy. The information we ask for at subscription time is the minimum necessary to effectively fulfill your subscription and communicate with you if and when necessary. We do not release the information you provide us to third parties. In case of further questions, you can reach us at pdm@2pdm.com

Previous issues
Click here to access previous issues of 2PDM.

Limited time
We know you have a busy schedule. To reduce delivery and reading time, 2PDM has a simple format and concise content.

Termination of subscription
To terminate subscription, please send an e-mail headed 'stop 2PDM subscription' to pdm@2pdm.com

2PDM is provided free of charge to its readers. Companies that share our objectives of promoting successful implementation of EDM and PDM systems and world-class product development performance may sponsor 2PDM. There is space for a maximum of one sponsor message per page, except on this 'Brief lines' page - where there is room for several short sponsor messages.

Publication frequency
2PDM is published approximately every two weeks.

Copyright 2001 by John Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to reproduce text or graphics
Applications for permission to reproduce part or parts of 2PDM (text or graphics) should be sent to pdm@2pdm.com

Permission to make 2PDM available within an organization
Applications for permission to make 2PDM available within a company or other organization (e.g. by internal mail, corporate Intranet, etc.) are usually accepted. Please send a request for permission to pdm@2pdm.com

Information provided in 2PDM is intended solely to provide general guidance on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. Information is provided 'as is', with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to, the warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

Nothing in 2PDM shall to any extent substitute for the independent investigations and the sound technical and business judgement of the reader. Technology, laws and regulations are continually changing, and can only be interpreted in the light of particular factual situations. The information in 2PDM does not constitute technological, business, legal, investment or consulting advice, and should only be used in conjunction with appropriate professional advice obtained by the reader from a suitably qualified professional who understands the reader's particular factual situation.