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As appeared in the February 8, 2001 issue of MACHINE DESIGN

User review
Edited by Paul Dvorak


After getting Catia V5 running in our shop, it helped us
cut up to 50% off the time
usually required to design
products with our previous
design software. The solid
modelers icon-driven interface makes it easy to learn
and use. While evaluating
several solid modelers, Catia
was the only one that included the sheet-metal features we need to design
products ranging from light
fixtures to missile parts.
Users can efficiently create sheet-metal designs
from scratch and in the context of an assembly. Rather
than dealing with plain
geometry, designers can
work in the manufacturing
language they already
know, such as walls, bends,
reliefs, tabs, thin extrudes,
stampings, and flanges. And
features are easier to use The sheet-metal enclosure, modeled in Catia V5, shows the capability of the
than before now that the de- software, such as holes, cutouts, tabs, and bends. The feature tree for the part
veloper has added drag-and- appears to the left.
drop capabilities.
V5 lets designers create associative features on using exploded views and bills of materials. After usfolded and unfolded part representations. For ex- ing the software for six months, its easy-to-use drawample, a cutout placed on an unfolded representa- ing tools and assembly features have cut design and
tion of a part automatically reflects on the folded development time across the board by 50 to 80%.
representation. Associative features can be added at
For training and implementation, we worked with
any time during model creation and without prereq- Advanced Enterprise Solutions, a Texas-based IBM
uisite operations.
Premier Business Partner. AES initially approached
V5 makes it painless to import and preserve us with a week-long training schedule. I asked them
legacy data in IGES and DXF file formats. This is to turn their one-week class into 2.5 days, and they
crucial when dealing with long-established cus- did. Our team of engineers with many years of solidtomers who have accumulated many drawings of ex- modeling experience, picked up V5 in short order.
isting equipment.
We plan on integrating Catias Knowledgeware
Our previous CAD software lacked good part organ- with the sheet-metal software so that our engineers
ization, sometimes taking hours to scroll through can generate their own cost estimates. And to work
comprehensive part tables in larger designs. V5 lets more closely with customers, well use Catias Web caengineers decompose assemblies into part trees or ta- pability so they can view and markup drawings.
bles that show how the product is assembled, or to
The software gives little to complain about. If I had
quickly find a part they are looking for without search to pick something to improve, Id say the literature
that comes with the software is too comprehensive. It
The software can turn solid models into drawings, reads more like a beginners manual. The accompanyand create subassemblies and complete assemblies ing CD-ROM demo with voice technology is better and

User review
I find myself relying on it more
than the manual.
And talk about a wish list: We
signed an agreement with Dassault Systemes to become a strategic partner in developing future
Catia Solutions versions for the
sheet-metal industry. Our ultimate goal is to make all of V5s
sheet-metal features as easy as
one click.
Catia V5 comes from Dassault
Systemes, Burbank, CA 915043341, (818) 295-4114,
Thomas Saputo

The assembly in Catia shows how sheet-metal parts might be combined

with others for sizing studies or assembly guidelines.

Mr. Saputo is president of Jomico

Metal Fabricators
( a high-tech
metal and fabrication company in
St. Louis. They design and
engineer precision sheet-metal
components and assemblies for the
aerospace, commercial, consumer
and electronics industries.

Copyright 2001 by Penton Media, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio 44114