CAD Exchanger is not a new company among CAD translators, but only recently have they begun to make themselves noticed. I interviewed founder and ceo Roman Lygin and technical marketing engineer Ramil Gasanov.
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Q: Let's start with a little bit of your background: what's your experience in the CAD world? A: My degree is in computer science and applied mathematics. I worked at Matra Datavision in 1990s, and then at Intel where I learned about parallel computing with multi-core CPUs.
I started CAD Exchanger in 2009. Users began asking for more features, and so after a few years we reached a critical mass of paying customers. We now have 10 employees and are located in Nizhny Novgorod about 250 miles east of Moscow.
Q: So you've been around seven years, but this is the first I've heard of you! A: Correct. We focused on creating a product that worked smoothly, and now we are working on increasing our visibility.
Q: There are already many CAD translation services around. Why is your's needed? A: We understand we came into an entrenched market, but this began as my passion to focus on what we do best and how we do it -- focus on what customers want, such as quality of translation, a reasonable price, and fast performance.
For performance, we focus on parallelism , which is a very tough job to accomplish in CAD, and with translation in particular. We now have two patents on parallel computation for CAD, beating our competition at this.
Q: How many cores can your software access? A: There is no theoretical maximum, but at the practical level workloads scale well to 4-8 cores. After this, there is often saturation due to limited parallel slack available in models (i.e. independent data that can be processed concurrently). We run on Linux, Windows, Mac, and Android. iOS is in the pipeline. Most customers are on Windows, so we leverage multi-core CPUs on desktops and laptops. You can't yet load models up to our Web site, but we are working in the direction of the cloud.
We surveyed our customers, and their #1 concern is data privacy and security. They do not want their data to leave their premises. It is a given that the cloud is the most discussed subject these days, but data security is the #1 concern.
Q: You write the translators yourself, or do you license some? A: We focus on writing our own; we do not commercially license third-party converters at the moment.
Q: I notice that all the formats you support are neutral ones, and no proprietary ones, like from PTC or Solidworks. How do you decide which formats to add? A: It's a matter of return on investment. Implementing PTC, Solidworks would take a significant time, but we find that there is little demand for them compared to the generic formats. DWG might be the first external license we pursue; we are in talks with the ODA.
We currently support IGES, STEP, ACIS-SAT, Parasolid-XT, JT, STL, OBJ, Rhino, BRep, VRML, and X3D.
Q: CAD translation is an inexact art. How do you get feedback over failed translations? A: In the world of translators, there are different approaches. We try to bother users as little as possible, so we do automatic healing and troubleshooting -- the most time-consuming part of the translation. Following each failed translation, we get log files that we analyze. We try to issue releases once to twice a quarter to bring out improvements on a regular basis.
Q: Who are your customers? A: We have three types:
End users inside corporations (like Alcatel-Lucent) or individual users
ISVs [independent service providers] like Fujitsu and Altium who license CAD Exchanger SDK to integrate it into their software
Service providers who need our batch converters for such jobs as 3D printing
Q: Why should someone buy your software over a competitor? A: We understand we are in a tough market, we leverage what we do best with our excellent price-performance ratio. We pay a lot of attention to the user experience. http://cadexchanger.com
Sponsor: Okino Graphics
== Professional 3D File Conversion/Viewing/Rendering Software ==
For over 2 decades Okino (Toronto) has provided mission-critical 3D conversion software used extensively by tens of thousands of professionals. We develop, support and convert between all major CAD, DCC & VisSim formats. Robert Lansdale (CTO, firstname.lastname@example.org) tailors each package to the specific conversion requirements of each customer.
Popular formats include 3ds Max, Maya, C4D, LW, ProE, SolidWorks, Inventor, SketchUp, DWF/DWG, DGN, CATIA, IGES/STEP/Parasolid, 3D PDF/U3D, JT, FBX, Collada & more. We know data translation, and provide immaculate developer-to-customer relations. http://www.okino.com
And One More Thing...
IronCAD LLC announces that the 2017 IronCAD Design Collaboration Suite works faster with large data sets with 30% faster save and load times for large assemblies, and 10X faster graphics performance of large assemblies. Other improvements are in the areas of 2D sketching, sweeping, and sheet metal. There are enhanced revision tables, BOM editing, and a hundred other improvements.
There is more at our WorldCAD Accessblog about the CAD industry, tips on using hardware and software, and our popular travelogues. You can keep up with the blog through its RSS feed and email alert service. These are some of the articles that appeared on WorldCAD Access during the last week:
If being able to translate drawings is the big draw for Solid Edge, doesn’t that make them a little vulnerable to Solidworks if Solidworks (or another competitor) provides great translation tools? Just thinking about it. - R. P.
The editor replies: The CAD market is no longer growing much, so CAD vendors try to grow by poaching users from competitors. So, they have no choice but to write great translators.
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Thanks very much for your interesting eZine, and this article especially. But I couldn't see the image of the assembly relationships coming through from Solidworks to Solid Edge. - Greg Morehouse, Senior Engineering Analyst Motovated Design & Analysis, New Zealand
The editor replies: Sorry about that! Here is the missing image:
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FYI we are one of the many Solid Edge users who never went to Synchronous Technology. Due to the economic downturn we went off maintenance just as ST came in. Several times since we’ve spent significant time trying different versions of ST, but never felt comfortable with it.
Since we were stuck at V20 [from 2006] due to the maintenance issue, we’ve chosen to just use that as a sufficient tool that works well, and still prefer it to our Solidworks and Inventor seats, which are up to date. We use several CAD packages which use "ordered logic" [a.k.a. history tree"], and it makes switching between all of our CADs easier.
I think making their main product ST was a mistake. It would have been fine to offer it as an option or another environment, like sheetmetal. But Solid Edge as a package is not intuitive to ordered CAD users now, and since it has both [modeling systems] has become too complicated.
I’m good friends with the local Solid Edge reseller, so this puts a bit of pressure on our relationship unfortunately. Just thought you might want to hear another take on Solid Edge! - Name withheld by request
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I have read with much interest your notes on Solid Edge University and in particular round table discussion on Cloud & Collaboration. It has been great to read opinions from users which much resonate with our own thinking. We are currently working on enabling cloud. We plan an early alpha version within a few weeks and partner with Microsoft on that front. On our roadmap we target viewing, conversion, measurements and other scenarios all of which have been stressed as priority for Solid Edge users. - Roman Lygin, ceo cadexchanger.com
Re: For its future, Autodesk copies from Dassault
Interesting to watch if all moving towards in-memory computing, especially BIM or simulation tools. For field guys / construction that will be handy, and off-line will be key selling point! -Pranab via WorldCAD Access