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A New Modeler From Spatial?

A New Modeler From Spatial?

Spatial's recent announcement of its Convergence Geometric Modeler may not be a major product release, but it's still big news.

For anyone who uses the hundreds of products sold by the hundreds of companies who use Spatial's component software (e.g. ACIS), for anyone who needs seamless compatibility with CATIA V5, and for the countless data translations that take place each day using products built on Spatial's data translation tools, the big news is the operative word "kernel."

For many years before Dassault acquired Spatial, the company was integrating portions of the ACIS code into the CATIA V5 modeler (through a source-code license). Since the acquisition, that work continued, but there were always two distinct modeling engines.

This announcement calls for a repackaging of the CATIA V5/V6 engine into a component (a kernel) that can be integrated into products from Spatial's OEM customers, who are a relative who's-who list of players and products, including SpaceClaim, Gibbs, Moldflow, ANSYS, Pathtrace,, and hundreds more, just as they integrate ACIS today. Spatial's 3D Interop data translators are also now staged on this new kernel.

There are some big advantages of this new packaging. For example, tolerant modeling was built on top of the ACIS engine, but only as an afterthought because ACIS was built many years before tolerant modeling became a key requirement in 3D CAD modeling. Now this technology is a core capability of the CATIA V5/V6 engine, and with the packaging change, it also becomes central to ACIS. Some advanced surface modeling capabilities are now available to Spatial's component customers that were part of the CATIA modeler, but traditionally not found in ACIS. These and other new improvements guarantee compatibility with CATIA V5/V6.

This new packaging also makes products built on Spatial's data translation tools (now called "3D Interop CGM") perform much faster. When these translators ran on ACIS, a translation was required from CATIA V5 to ACIS, then to the final destination -- two translations each time a CAD file was moved between CATIA V5 and another CAD system. Now that the CGM kernel is the CATIA V5/V6 engine, the initial translation is no longer required. This will speed things up considerably, while also easing compatibility issues that sometimes arose with version updates.

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