solidWorksCertifiedGoldProductFormatWorks Extends SolidWorks Data Translation Capability

FormatWorks is a SolidWorks Certified Gold Product Add-in that solves frustrating data translation problems for SolidWorks users. It has the highest level of integration within SolidWorks with a fully integrated "single window" application.

FormatWorks extends the SolidWorks data translation capability by providing automatic, accurate, and reliable bi-directional translation. It provides extended support of native CAD formats CATIA V4, CATIA V5, CATIA V6, Siemens NX, Inventor, Creo/ProE that are limited or not available in SolidWorks. It also supports Model Based Definition (MBD) information such as, file annotations, PMI, FT&A, or GD&T. FormatWorks can directly read MBD from CATIA V5, Siemens NX and Creo/ProE native formats.

FormatWorks also provides automatic repair and healing to ensure that all imported 3D CAD models including IGES and STEP meet the criteria set by SolidWorks to form valid solids. 3D models read through FormatWorks translator are automatically repaired to exact solids within the original model tolerance.

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FormatWorks Automatically Resolves the Errors that Occur
When a CAD Model is Imported into SolidWorks

In order to fully understand the capabilities of FormatWorks, the following examples are some of the most common data translation issues SolidWorks users typically experience.

Import Errors

FormatWorks automatically resolves errors that occur when a model is imported using standard SolidWorks import capabilities. These errors may prevent the user from utilizing many tools within SolidWorks.

FormatWorks import diagnostics
Import Diagnosis
FormatWorks check entity
Check Entity Function

Common data translation problems that FormatWorks solves:

  • Quality Loss & Model Deformation – Models directly imported into SolidWorks can often be deformed, resulting in a significant quality loss. Notice the missing geometry and edges that are collapsed to a single point in the direct SolidWorks import above. FormatWorks provides capabilities to prevent this kind of deformation and enables SolidWorks users to import a clean, precise 3D solid model.

    reduced quality loss from FormatWorks
  • 1000+ Surfaces that Will Not Knit – Models directly imported into SolidWorks often have problems resolving tolerance issues when sewing or knitting surfaces into a complete solid model. The picture on the left shows the result of this kind of problem: 7165 surfaces in the feature tree that will not knit into a solid model. This result is unusable and requires 3 times the storage capacity. FormatWorks resolves this problem by knitting all these surfaces into one solid model without any deformation.

    FormatWorks knits surfaces into one solid model without deformation
  • Uncontrolled Model Changes – The most serious direct import errors are those that go undetected. Manufacturing processes require precise, accurate translations. For example, the translation above illustrates a SolidWorks direct import and it appears to be missing a critical surface, but there is no indication that it is missing on the model. This surface has been maintained by FormatWorks.

    FormatWorks maintains accurate model translation

  • Surface Explosion – Direct SolidWorks import of complex surfaces is also a problem for SolidWorks as it is unable to maintain a 1-to-1 surface translation. The 3D model pictured here has originally 33 surfaces, but the direct SolidWorks translation has exploded the number of surfaces to 127. FormatWorks is able to detect and prevent this from happening and give you a 1-to-1 surface translation.
    surface-explosion-sm

Typical FormatWorks Workflow

Data Import

FormatWorks supports native CAD data formats, as well as neutral, and kernel formats. Please see the Supported Formats section

Tolerance Control

FormatWorks tolerance controlFormatWorks automatically finds the correct model tolerance value by verifying the size of all model entities. The user controls the model tolerance by choosing between the following options:

  • File tolerance (value stored in the header of the file)
  • Estimated tolerance (recommended default value)
  • User defined tolerance (can be set by the user)

Model Preview and Selective Translation

A powerful preview capability allows visualization of parts or assemblies stored in any CAD format prior to translation into SolidWorks. It has all functions of a graphical viewer such as zoom, rotate and pan. It also features a project tree showing the entire model structure. Using the model preview, users can select entities they want to have translated into SolidWorks by selecting model entity name, color, grouping, or picking an entity directly on the 3D model. Choose any combination of assemblies and parts and translate them into SolidWorks and leave the rest of the data behind, providing time savings, increasing computer resources (memory) and giving manageable model data to SolidWorks.

FormatWorks model preview before import into SolidWorks
Preview of original model prior to loading into SolidWorks
Investigate original model prior to loading into SolidWorks
Investigate original model prior to loading into SolidWorks

Selection of part of interest prior to translation to SolidWorks
Selection of part of interest prior to translation to SolidWorks
Selected part in SolidWorks
Selected part in SolidWorks

Automatic Repair and Healing

FormatWorks automatic repair identifies and repairs over 70 typical geometry and topology errors when it reads a 3D model. The automatic repairs are controlled and always performed within the original model tolerance to prevent any model deformation.

Direct Import into SolidWorks
Direct Import into SolidWorks
FormatWorks Import with Automatic Repair
FormatWorks Import with Automatic Repair

Error Classification

FormatWorks error classification and specialized manual repair toolsError classification and specialized manual repair tools provide an easy to use work flow to solve the most complex CAD repair tasks that are difficult or impossible to do in SolidWorks. The user has access to extensive diagnostic capabilities that identify and classify errors which prevent the forming valid solids in SolidWorks. Each problem entity is separated and transferred along with the neighboring geometry to a separate SolidWorks document. The user operates only on a small model part, which greatly simplifies the most complex repairs. The model is then automatically updated with the repaired entities.

Error Classification Categories:

  • Gaps
  • Overlaps
  • Ledges
  • Open contours
  • Untrimmed surfaces

Tips - How to Fix

Manual Repair

Manual repair of a SolidWorks model has never been simpler. When necessary, FormatWorks will automatically provide the user with the proper workflow to fix all problems originating from inconsistencies in the 3D CAD model definition. Defective entities are grouped in a project tree as separate documents.

 

FormatWorks manual repairAll manual repair operations are intuitive and easy to use since they are completely integrated into SolidWorks. As a result, the user operates only on faulty parts and their neighbors instead of manipulating the whole model or complex assembly.

FormatWorks provides proprietary functions to resolve geometric and topological problems that usually prevent the user from forming a valid solid or surface model in SolidWorks. These functions are developed specifically to preserve the design intent and quality of the most complex models to meet the manufacturing accuracy.

Manual Repair Special Functions:

  • Surface creation
  • Surface recreation
  • Surface merging
  • Surface trimming
  • Surface splitting

Manual Repair Workflow

FormatWorks provides an organized and easy to use workflow to isolate faulty entities and their neighbors in a separate document.

Error classification tree provides graphical link to faulty entity
Error classification tree provides
graphical link to faulty entity

Exported error entity with neighbors to a separate document
Exported error entity with neighbors
to a separate document
Repair using SW surface creation function
Repair using SW surface creation function
Original model updated with the repaired part (now consistent solid)
Original model updated with the repaired part
(now consistent solid)

After a repair is completed, FormatWorks inserts the repaired entities back into the original model and automatically updates the whole model.

Accessing Product Manufacturing Information (PMI)Accessing Product Manufacturing Information
PMI (GD&T and FTA)

The Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) stored with a 3D model is now easily accessible from CATIA V5, Siemens-NX and CREO-Pro/E native files. PMI text and dimensions provide essential manufacturing information about tolerances, surface quality, and other production specific information. PMI information is displayed on the 3D model and accessible from the project tree. The user can activate/hide PMI layers, change the font type, alter the letter size, edit dimensions, and print the PMI information for documentation purposes.

Feature Translation

IGES file translated into SolidWorks with features

Complex CAD models imported through FormatWorks can be simplified into entities that are recognized as "SolidWorks features" in much higher a rate than models imported directly by SolidWorks. For example, an original complex NURBS representation is automatically converted to analytical definitions such as plane, cylinder, sphere, cone or SOR (Surface of Revolution). This significantly reduces the size of the CAD model and results in much higher success rate for SolidWorks automatic feature recognition, thus providing a fully editable SolidWorks model.

Features:

  • Holes
  • Cuts
  • Chamfers
  • Fillets
  • Extrusions
  • Ribs

Data Export

FormatWorks supports export of CAD data created or modified in SolidWorks in native CATIA file formats as well as other CAD data formats.

Batch Processing

Batch Mode Control WindowFormatWorks batch translation is designed to simplify and automate the translation of large assemblies and multiple CAD data sets. Batch translation is performed automatically. It is controlled from a single window managing the translation process, monitoring the progress, and analyzing the results. Batch translation is fully autonomous and will automatically recover in case of an unexpected error or system crash. A status report shows the translation results classified into the following categories: solid, non-solid and model with errors (specifying amount and type of error).



Supported CAD Formats

Import

Format File extensions Version 3D MBD
ACIS .asc R1 - 2016 1.0 yes
CAPXML .xml yes
CATIA V4 .model, .exp 4.1.9 – 4.2.4
CATIA V5

.CATPart,

.CATProduct

R6 – R26

(V5–V6R2016)

yes
CATIA V6 .CATPart, .CATProduct V6R2016 yes
DXF/DWG .dxf, .dwg 2.5 - 2014
IGES .igs, .iges, .ig2(catia) up to 5.3
Inventor .ipt V6 – V2016
.iam V11 – V2016
JT .jt 6.4 – 9.5
ProE / Creo .prt, .prt.*, .asm, .asm.* 16 – Creo 3.0 yes
Siemens NX .prt 11 – NX 10 yes
Solid Edge .par, .asm, .psm V18 – ST8
STEP .stp, .step AP203, AP214, 242 yes
QIF .qif,.xml 1.9.3 yes
3DXML  v4.3
XCGM  R2012 - R2016 1.0
VDA-FS  1.0 - 2.0

 

Export

Format File extensions Version
ACIS .sat R18 - 2016 1.0
CAP XML .xml
CATIA V4 .model CATIA 4.1.9 – CATIA 4.2.4
CATIA V5

.CATPart,

.CATProduct

R6 – R26

(V5 – V6R2016)

IGES .igs, .iges up to 5.3
STEP .stp AP203, AP214
QIF .qif,.xml 1.9.3
3D PDF .pdf 1.7
3DXML v4.3
XCGM R2012 - R2016 1.0
VDA-FS  2

FormatWorks Fully Integrates Within SolidWorks

Fully Integrated as a Stand-alone or Network/Float License with SolidWorks

FormatWorks is a SolidWorks Certified Gold Product representing the highest level of integration with SolidWorks, quality and interoperability. Certified Gold Product Add-ins are fully integrated "single window" applications adding value to SolidWorks customers.

MBD – Model Based Definition Support Including PMI (GD&T and FT&A)

FormatWorks provides full access to the MBD (Model Based Definition) for CATIA V5, Siemens NX, PTC's Creo(Pro-E), and STEP A203 ED2 formats. The user can view the 3D model along with the GD&T (Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerance), PMI (Product Manufacturing Information), or FT&A (Functional Tolerance & Annotation). Print the annotation to create 2D paper documents. Both solid and surface representations (CATIA hybrid representation) including CATIA 2D sketches are supported.

Creo/ProE PMI
Creo/ProE PMI
Siemens NX PMI
Siemens NX PMI
CATIA V5 PMI
CATIA V5 PMI

Preview Function (data structure in the project tree)

features-previewFormatWorks includes a 3D CAD model preview-select-translate capability. This allows users to instantly read 3D CAD models and view them before they are translated to SolidWorks. The preview offers all functions of a graphical viewer providing zoom, rotate and pan operations. It also features a project tree showing the entire model data structure.

Selective Translation (only parts of interest are translated into SolidWorks)

The FormatWorks model preview-select-translate capability allows SolidWorks users to instantly read 3D models and select parts of interest to be translated into SolidWorks. The selective translation is very useful if your imported parts are complex assemblies and you need to extract single parts or reference entities for use in SolidWorks.

Preview. Selected part from CATIA V5 assembly
Preview. Selected part from CATIA V5 assembly
Translated part into SW from CATIA V5 assembly
Translated part into SW from CATIA V5 assembly

Original Dassault CATIA Libraries Licensed for Use in FormatWorks

To access native CATIA data FormatWorks uses original CATIA libraries (licensed from Dassault Systems), which ensures correct interpretation of the CATIA CAD data and immediate updates followed when new revisions of CATIA are available.

Automatic Repair

FormatWorks repairs both geometry and topology using specialized algorithms. FormatWorks automatically identifies and repairs over 70 typical data translation errors within the original model tolerance to prevent model deformation. It converts CATIA entities into entities compatible with SolidWorks' representation e.g. cylinders for the SolidWorks mating functionality.

FormatWorks automatic repair process

Error Classification

The FormatWorks Error Classification function identifies and classifies all errors and inconsistencies in the 3D model definition. An Error Classification Tree gives an organized and easy workflow for the manual repair process. The special Manual Repair Tools complement SolidWorks capabilities to efficiently correct any remaining errors. The following types of error classification are provided:

Error Classification Categories:

  • Gaps
  • Overlaps
  • Ledges
  • Open contours
  • Untrimmed surfaces

Manual Repair

Manual repair has never been simpler. If necessary, FormatWorks will automatically provide you with the workflow to fix all problems remaining in the CAD model. Defective entities are grouped in a project tree as separate SolidWorks documents. All manual repair operations are intuitive and easy to use since they are completely integrated into SolidWorks. As a result, the user operates only on faulty parts that are separated from the rest of the model.

The following special Manual Repair Tools are provided:

  • Forming solids – Capvidia's proprietary stitching function can form solids while preventing model deformation
  • Repair in separate documents – Isolate faulty entities into separate documents along with their neighboring geometry
  • Unique Surface Recreate algorithm – Repairs surfaces that have been deformed to recreate the original surface
  • Surface Trimming – Trims a surface with a set of trimming curves. Works on multiple surfaces simultaneously
  • Surface Create – Create a surface using a robust algorithm designed that can create surfaces based on contours or surface borders
  • Surface Merging & Splitting – Simplify surfaces to create a more robust surface representation

Manual repair of CAD models in FormatWorks

Batch Translation

The batch mode function automates the translation process. It is especially suitable for translating large files or multiple data sets. Batch translation is set up through a separate interface to define the process parameters. The process itself does not involve any user interaction. The batch translation is controlled automatically and in case of an unexpected error, it will recover and continue.

Geometry Simplification (NURBS into analytic representation) and Feature Recognition

Geometry simplification and feature recognition with FormatWorks
Feature translation

FormatWorks includes automatic feature recognition capabilities that can identify in the underlying NURBS representation SolidWorks features such as:

  • Holes
  • Cuts
  • Chamfers
  • Fillets
  • Extrusions
  • Ribs

CATIA Multi-body Document into SolidWorks Assembly

FormatWorks automatically converts CATIA V5.CATPart multi-body document into a SolidWorks SLDASM assembly document. Each CATIA V5 multi-body is represented by one separate part in a SolidWorks assembly.

FormatWorks provides multiple configurations to meet the different requirements for all SolidWorks users:

  • FormatWorks Standard – FormatWorks Standard offers data translation with automatic repair & healing to eliminate incompatibilities that prevent SolidWorks from forming clean valid solids. It also contains error classification and manual repair tools that enable SolidWorks users to easily fix problems that are extremely difficult or impossible for SolidWorks to repair in its own.
  • FormatWorks Professional – FormatWorks Professional includes all functionality in FormatWorks Standard, but also offers Preview-Select-Translate for large complex parts and assemblies, support for MBD (Model Based Definition), and Batch Translation capabilities.
  • FormatWorks Server – Provides a multi-user solution that can take advantage of a server configured for large models. FormatWorks clients are installed with SolidWorks to provide access to the server.
  • FormatWorks Float – Allows multiple users to share FormatWorks licenses across a network.
  • FormatWorks Lease – FormatWorks is also offered as an annual subscription basis.
 StandardProfessionalServer
License Type Permanent/Annual Permanent/Annual Permanent/Annual
Translators Configurable Configurable Configurable
PMI Support + +
Batch Mode + +
Model Preview + +
Selective Translation + +
Automatic Repair + + +
Model Simplification / Features + + +
Error Classification + + +
Manual Repair Tools + + +
Problem Area Isolation + + +
Server Monitor +
Upgrade Available Professional / Server Server

FormatWorks has been designed to support all SolidWorks applications where precise data translation is required. It is especially suited for the automotive and aerospace industry. The Gold Certification awarded by SolidWorks ensures users that FormatWorks is the very best solution. Capvidia has been working with SolidWorks since 1995 and has considerable experience with SolidWorks, CATIA, and the automotive and aerospace industry requirements. Typical FormatWorks users work in the following application areas:

  • Mold & Die Design
  • Tooling & Fixture Design
  • Manufacturing
  • Packaging
  • Container Design
  • Product Design
  • CFD Simulation
  • FEA

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