Computer Aided Design is now a Ubiquitous technology used in mechanical engineering. Use of computers has made the whole process of product development very simple. Whether it be conceptualizing the idea into a concept or evaluating multi part assemblies for strength and performance. Almost any phenomenon can now be simulated using computers with the right engineering mind guiding it, of course.
There are many choices in Software packages which organizations use to do their product development.
They can be classified as follows
1. Entry Level start-ups and educational – Bare bones software used for the basic stuff of converting an idea into a design considering the product is simple and having 10s of parts. Features are limited in terms of design documentation. Example: Google Sketchup, FreeCAD, Onshape, Autodesk 123D, Fusion 360
2. Medium to large enterprise – Advanced version of the Entry level software with ability to handle complexity in the range of 100s to 1000s of parts and with multiple features for handling functions like analysis, CAM. e.g. Solid works, Creo-parametric, Autodesk Inventor, Siemens Solid edge.
3. Very Large enterprise – Complete engineering packages with Powerful and Robust CAD work environments, example: Siemens NX, CATIA. These packages are generally linked to a product lifecycle management software which handles end – to end Data of products, an example being Siemens Teamcentre for NX .
NX and CATIA are the most widely used software in the automotive and aerospace industry.
Differentiating factors between Solid works and CATIA are the ability of CATIA to generate A-class surfaces reliably and also multiple advanced surface design options.
CATIA being developed initially for the aerospace industry has become the industry benchmark for surface design.