Design Review in a Multi-CAD Data Management Environment

By Ron

ConversationDesign Review in a Multi-CAD Data Management Environment, a conversation with:

  • David Segal: ENOVIA User Experience Director
  • Ron Close: ENOVIA Marketing Director




Ron Close, Dassault Systèmes’ ENOVIA Marketing Director

Ron Close, Dassault Systèmes’ ENOVIA Marketing Director

Ron: David, thanks for joining us for this conversation. We’ve been talking a lot recently about the ENOVIA Multi-CAD Data Management Experience and it’s great to have the subject matter expert with us. For this conversation, we’d like to talk about how companies can optimize their Design Review processes in a Multi-CAD environment. Could I first ask you to describe the basics of how ENOVIA tackles this problem?

David: Thanks Ron. This is indeed a very important topic for our customers. As you know, many customers work in a mixed CAD environment but still need to bring the data together for intra-departmental reviews as well as reviews with constituents outside of the company, such as suppliers and OEM clients.   Managing digital mock-up (DMU) in Multi-CAD environments has been always an important process to improve design quality and efficiency. ENOVIA is able to bring Multi-CAD designs together by automatically generating lightweight versions of the CAD files and assembling them in what we call a ‘3D hybrid digital mock-up’. Once the visualization data is created, ENOVIA users can enjoy the benefits of the 3DEXPERIENCE Data Driven Architecture which delivers critical functionality to perform instant design reviews, resolve interferences and clashes.

Ron: I understand that is how we bring the data together. Do we have to manually regenerate the visualization data each time the CAD data is updated?

David Segal, ENOVIA User Experience Director

David Segal, ENOVIA User Experience Director

David: No, with the immersive data management provided by ENOVIA, the changes made in the native CAD system are automatically propagated not only to the visualization data, but for the Bill of Materials and other meta-data elements as well. In fact, designers or a group of designers, could set up rules for automatic generation and updates of lightweight designs and be in constant control of when, how and what data will be generated.

Ron: Besides the visualization data, can you shed some light on other data elements that are managed in this environment?

David: Information about material, tolerances and annotations, product and manufacturing information can be captured for further digital mock-up analysis. In addition, information such as version, owner and data last changed are always accessible from ENOVIA. This makes it easier than ever to maximize the value of your IP – even when it comes from different CAD authoring systems.

Ron: Very cool. You mentioned that when the CAD data is modified, the changes propagate ‘automatically’. How is that accomplished? Surely the designer must interact with ENOVIA to communicate his changes?

David: I’m glad you asked. Actually, the immersive environment from Dassault Systemes places ENOVIA functionality within the CAD authoring application’s user interface. The designer doesn’t need to leave his work environment and switch to another window – all design data management functions are available from within the CAD user interface. So the simple act of saving a part through this interface enables the changes to propagate automatically. Moreover, ENOVIA ensures your data integrity and prevents any chance for design inconsistency through this automatic propagation. This is especially important for concurrent design with multiple players.   I just happened to have a screen shot with me to illustrate this point:

CAD Authoring Application Interface

CAD Authoring Application Interface

 Ron: Thanks David, that’s very clear now. As a final question, can you summarize the value of having this 3D hybrid design review available for Multi-CAD clients?

David: In short, this is all about improving design quality, efficiency and development cycle through truly innovative process of a design’s precise visual convergence. This is what makes it a Multi-CAD Data Management Experience.

There are three key values that I would like to leave you with regarding this innovative process:

  1. Efficiency: Extend the value of intellectual property: Leverage existing design data for full blown mock-ups for review and analysis.
  2. Quality: Reduce the occurrence of duplicate designs across multiple CAD systems: Ttoo often, companies spend time designing parts which may already exist somewhere else. Having all of the Multi-CAD data at your fingertips minimizes this risk.
  3. Optimize access to intellectual property: Managing all of your Multi-CAD design data in one environment minimizes the risk of unauthorized access and maximizes design integrity. Keeping your IP safe, secure, accessible and valid for current use is one of the fundamental values of deploying the ENOVIA solution.

Ron: David, thank you very much for your time.

View our webinar for more information on how Dassault Systèmes can help you with your Multi-CAD Data Management challenge.


Related Posts: “Stop Using Digital Duct Tape for Multi-CAD Data Management” and “Three Common Myths of Multi-CAD Data Management

How to Take Charge of Your Mechatronic Product Development: The Smart Products Case study

By Estelle

Remote Home Control

The move to producing smart products has been gaining traction in the last few years. Consumers want more out of the products they buy: more flexibility and adaptability, connected and even more portability and mobility. On top of the electrical, mechanical and electronics components that you would find in traditional products, smart products are run by software that also gives rise to more innovation and features that were not possible before.

If the consumer market is opting for a refrigerator that sends you a SMS of the things you need to buy at the grocery or a car that drives itself, then how are manufacturers affected by it?

Businesses making smart products know that these stuffs are also more complex to design and create than their more traditional counterparts.  What this means is that you would need the services of more experts and more professionals in order to bring your products to market.  You also need to synchronize the varied design lifecycles involved in the manufacturing process.

Mechatronic Product Development

Other challenges include a longer time to market, quality issues, redesign and rework, more costs when it comes to product development, and problems with software development.   All of these carry a negative impact on the businesses, especially your profitability.  If you are behind schedule and fail to deliver your smart product on time, then it might mean lower sales and lower profits for you.

Fridge And here’s the thing, complexity will only continue to increase. Not only are consumers opting for smart products, they need something new or something better over time.   In the future, they will no longer want a refrigerator that just lists down its content and tells you what to buy, they will want one that does that AND suggest dishes that you could cook with all the ingredients you have in the refrigerator.

So your manufacturing processes would constantly become even more complex.


The good news is that you can take charge of your mechatronic product development by using better processes and using technology to provide integration, traceability and visibility platforms.

How do you do this? Here are some steps.

  1.  Set the goal and make sure that everybody is aware of what these goals are so that they all work towards it. To be effective in setting goals, you should consider what are needed to achieve that goal.  To illustrate, imagine that you are working on a new smartphone, do you know what your customers are expecting it to have and offer?  In this case your goal would be to create a smartphone that is useful to your customers without cramming in too many features that your customers would not use.
    Now here’s the challenge: product requirements from different domains often have different systems and formats and this leads to fragmented information.  This in turn leads to overlooked requirements or over designed products.
    What you need is a way to consolidate your requirements that are drilled down to actionable details.  These requirements need to be version-controlled so that it could go through the entire product life-cycle, become guidelines for your product’s design and used for product validation.  You can also save time if you can keep this centralized document visible so that you could also update it in the future.
  2. Working with your requirements, you need to come up with a conceptual design. Getting the conceptual design right would help you avoid expensive reworks and redesigns when you find a major flaw along the way.What you need to do is systems modeling and find a way to simulate systems behavior to help your design engineers come up with optimized concept products.
  3.  Validate your product often. Smart products are quite complex so you have different factors that you need to analyze.  When you can simulate the system’s behavior, you can easily validate your product to show that you have made the right decision when it comes to design.  It also helps your designers to analyze, interpret and report results.
  4.  Design by discipline. If you have laid all of your products’ requirements, you can easily have different parts of the product designed simultaneously.  The challenge at this stage is that different disciplines usually mean different tools and different design lifecycles.  However, parallel design efforts can help you cut the time to market.What you need to do is make sure that every member of your team knows what the others are doing through collaboration and communication.
  5. Revise when necessary. Always address errors and bugs in a timely manner, so you might want to manage these changes as well.  The thing with changes is that a change in one component would mean that designs for the others would also change.  As such it is imperative that everybody working on the design of your product knows all of these changes.

In all of these steps, a mechatronics collaboration platform can  help you do what needs to be done to make your smart products even more competitive.

Tech Clarity White paper


If you want to know more on how to master the development of your smart products, advance your business processes and systems maturity, and improve your products quality and time-to-market, download the Tech-Clarity white paper here.

The Power of ZERO: 3 Questions and Answers

By Ron

ZERO files

Recently we have seen quite a buzz about the ‘ZERO files’ capabilities from DASSAULT SYSTEMES. For example, recently published a video interview with ENOVIA CEO Andy Kalambi which zeroes in (pardon the pun) on reducing BOM errors. And General Electric’s Jeff Erno explains in this YouTube video the value of zero files to an engineering organization.   Not to mention all of the international press (Korea, Japan, India…).

Andy Kalambi, ENOVIA CEO    Jeff Erno, Consulting Engineer, General Electric

So what is it?

‘Zero files’ is enabled by the DASSAULT SYSTÈMES 3DEXPERIENCE data driven architecture and enables companies to collaborate more efficiently, with less errors and more security. It is a generational change within the Product Lifecycle Management domain which enables applications like ENOVIA to provide extended value to thousands of customers around the world.  While the benefits are clearly attractive, it’s not always easy to understand how this works and what it means to an individual.  Let’s break it down by addressing some commonly asked questions:

Question #1: Is the notion of ‘zero files’ achieved in other disciplines?

Answer #1: Yes. In fact, many people interact in file-less environments today for both personal and business activities. Here are a few examples:

  1. Movies: In the not so distant past, one would rent or by DVDs (basically movie files) and use their players to watch movies at home. In the zero-files world, we stream movies from service providers such as Hulu and Amazon.
  2. Banking: When is the last time you balanced your check book by comparing the paper or PDF bank statement against your home ledger? In the zero-files world, bank registers are validated by viewing on-line statements and matching them with home records for accuracy. You need not wait until the end of the month to view your credit card statement; in a data-driven world, transactions are posted and viewable shortly after purchase.
  3. Document authoring and editing: Tools like Google Docs operate in a ‘zero-files’ environment. For example, if multiple people are working on a spreadsheet, they do not need to save the file and email it to the next person for their edits; rather, they all collaborate on an on-line workbook simultaneously (without having to check-in / check-out their files). Tools like Google Docs are prolific in the college environment and have started to become more popular in the workplace.
  4. Enterprise Applications: Tools for CRM and ERP have long operated in a ‘zero-files’ environment. This has enabled a higher degree of scalability and collaboration to occur while securing intellectual property.

Question #2: What makes a ‘zero-files’ environment more secure than using a file-based PLM tool?

Answer #2: Even though your data may be secured by a file-based PLM system, local files are placed on the user’s desktop.   This leaves the door open (even for well-meaning employees) to distribute your company’s files freely via email or web based file sharing sites.  This is a much larger issue than most people realize.  A recent study shows that 40% of companies that have a PLM system in place still use public email / web storage tools to distribute CAD files within their own company.  More than 70% use public email / web storage tools to distribute CAD files to suppliers and vendors. In a zero-files environment, the data that is provided to the client workstation is abstracted so that it may not be saved and re-distributed via other tools.

Question #3: I understand that zero-files can be achieved with CATIA V6. Does that mean that the zero-files environment will not support file based applications (such as legacy CAD tools, etc.)?

Answer #3: While it is true that the zero-files environment provides maximum benefit when the authoring application, it is a fact that many enterprise applications operate in a file based manner.  Driven by the 3DEXPERIENCE PLATFORM, ENOVIA provides the ability to manage files from these legacy applications.
It’s also worth noting that zero-files applies to more than CATIA V6; requirements management, purchase orders, quality and issue management are some of the many data types in ENOVIA that operate in  zero-file files environment.

For Multi-CAD solutions, ENOVIA provides the unique capability of creating hybrid digital mock-ups based on lightweight representations – which are data driven.  This means you have the advantage of zero files while using lightweight representations from other CAD systems.  The system maintains a relationship to the originating CAD authoring tools while enabling the benefits of zero-files for design reviews and mock-ups.

Questions or comments?  Contact our user experience experts at

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Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.