MCAD Tech News #152

14 Sep, 2005 By: Jeffrey Rowe

Cadalyst MCAD Tech News

Interoperability and the Lack Thereof

Kubotek survey confirms what we knew: Data exchange is anything but easy

by Jeffrey Rowe

Think most, or at least some, of the problems associated with interoperability have been solved? Whatever your answer, take a look at a study recently conducted by Kubotek USA (formerly CADKEY) on the design and manufacturing marketplace, ?2005 CAD Interoperability Survey.? (You?ll have to register before downloading the results.) Based on responses from more than 1,250 CAD managers and users, the survey explored some of the issues surrounding CAD interoperability and the depth of a problem that seemingly won?t go away.

Accurate Picture
Based on my experience, the results of this survey accurately portray the current state of CAD data interoperability and probably won?t surprise anyone who regularly deals
with multiple design data formats. The results confirm a number of things that many CAD industry vendors and users have known for some time. They point to the fact that although interoperability progress has been made with standards such as IGES and STEP, new file formats continue to proliferate and create havoc. As the sheer number of file formats grows, so do problems associated with exchanging data between them. Also growing are the many companies that supply products or services that attempt to solve or assuage the interoperability problem. Read more >>


With assistance from the NASA-funded Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program, a precision manufacturer of mechanical components has solved a mystifying situation in the production of an aluminum battery cover, thereby gaining a viable edge on the competition.

Called SATOP, the program is operated by the Technological Research and Development Authority. It provides free engineering assistance to small businesses with technical challenges through the expertise of the program's Alliance Partners, 50 aerospace companies and universities involved in the U.S. Space Program.

Collins Manufacturing produces an aluminum battery cover that is bead-blasted on one side and has two blind threaded holes on the other side. As part of the manufacturing process, once the parts are anodized, they are cleaned and sent to an outsourced company for sealing. 

"When the plates returned home, along with being newly sealed, they were also discolored," said Collins Manufacturing Vice President Jim Whittaker.  "We couldn't identify the root of the problem."

Though a little discoloration may seem inconsequential, Whittaker realized that the staining along the beaded side meant there was some sort of contaminating element in the process and he needed to determine what that element was.

"Between the different chemicals used and the processes involved in the complete manufacturing of the cover, it was difficult to determine what was causing the contamination," said Whittaker.  "We needed a definitive answer." Read more >>

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Tool Shop Optimization Executive Forum  
September 22, 2005, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Laurel Manor, Livonia, Michigan
Cimatron Technologies will host an executive dinner for Michigan- and Windsor-area tooling executives to discuss tool shop optimization strategies. Tooling executives attending this event will have an opportunity to hear industry experts and peers speak about competition in the tooling industry and discuss strategies for success. Registration is required.

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here>>

what's new at
For an online version of this newsletter and past issues of MCAD Tech News, go to:

Get the Code! Cadalyst's Hot Tip Harry and AutoLISP Solutions code for September is now available for download from Cadalyst?s Web site, including a clever utility for hiding messages in your drawings.

MCAD Modeling Methods -- Virtual Prototyping:
Design, test and present your product virtually to save time and money.

Cadfidential: Each month, Cadalyst magazine takes a behind-the-scenes look at the CAD world.