CATIA, interoperability, revit

Revit to CATIA Interoperability Workflow

Every piece of software has its limitations. The good thing about knowing may different kinds of programs is that you can combine them to achieve anything you want.

In this post, I’ll go over the steps of bringing in an IFC file of a steel truss from Revit into CATIA, which can then be used in other apps, such as xGen.

Importing an IFC File

Clicking on the ‘+’ arrow at the top right corner of the window allows you to import the IFC file. In this case, I already uploaded the file into the 3DDrive, but you can also get the file directly from your computer.

You will know that the IFC file has successfully been imported within the pop-up window.

Also, within the tree, all the geometry is read properly as beams.

Creating a Derived Representation

A derived representation makes a copy of the beam elements and puts them into a new 3D shape. Basically its an extraction process so the elements can be linked elsewhere.

Moreover, an IFC file cannot be directly manipulated or referenced, so this process is necessary.

To start, make sure that the root is selected, which in this case is the Site. Then, hover over the root and the ‘Derived Representation’ button will appear.

In the pop-up window, create a new 3D Shape into which the copied elements will go. You can either drag select the elements you want to copy within the tree or use the auto-select button.

The beam elements now live inside a new 3D shape!

Linking Elements into a New Product

In order to aid in organizing all the parts, the next and final step is to link the derived representation, the 3D shape, into a new product.

This separates the old IFC geometry with the new, usable geometry too.

Firstly, right-click on the new 3D shape and click ‘Share this representation’. This makes the 3D Shape accessible to be inserted into the new Product.

Now make a new product and right-click on it, selecting Insert > Existing 3D Shape.

As you’re prompted to select an existing 3D shape, go to the new 3D shape created and click on it.

After doing this last step, you can rename the product to something more telling of what it is, and so you can open it up in other programs. And don’t forget to save (though this app with remind you before you close out of the app)!

Opening in xGen

You can now drag and drop this new product with the beam elements within another app such as xGen and start working with it!

For this project, I used xGen for some complex steel framing modeling of one part of the truss. I’ll go into more detail in the next post!

CATIA, Component Based Design, Research

High LOD Modeling – Template Instantiation

After creating the base model, the next step is to create a Engineering Template. It’s comparable to an adaptive component family in Revit, but with the main difference being that you can include alot more geometrical information.

Creating an Engineering Template

Clicking on the ‘+’ arrow at the top right corner of the window allows you to create new content. Searching for ‘template’ brings up the Engineering Template icon.

After clicking the icon, a separate tab opens. Click on the ‘Add Reference’ button to link the base model to the template.

The program prompts you to select the components to be added, so you click on the top of the tree, the ‘Glazing_Panel A.1’, which contains all the information needed.

Automatically, this portion of the model gets added. In order to add the other portions of the model, such as the Skeleton, click on that part under ‘Unchanged Components’ and then the arrow. This includes all the parts into the ‘Components to process’ dialogue box.

Next, the inputs created, such as the axis system and three points which make up the edges of the panel, need to be linked. Clicking on the Inputs tab, a small window will pop up. In order to be able to select the inputs, click on the ‘Glazing_Panel A.1’ within the tree. This loads all the available parts that can be selected. Then, clicking on the small right arrow moves the necessary inputs to the ‘Selected objects’ box.

The last step is to link in the ‘Offset’ and ‘Thickness’ parameters, in a similar way as in the last step.

Testing the Template

Within the Building and Civil Assemblies app, create a test building and add some test inputs.

Using the Engineering Template tool, we can then test to see if the base model has been properly constructed. So, if anything looks wonky, this test will show you what needs to be fixed!

The tool prompts you to select the Engineering Template that you want to populate. So, again, click on the main part of the tree, or ‘PLM_Template_Panel A.1’, in this case.

Now, this is the fun part. A new window appears, and asks for the inputs. You can either select them on the tree menu or directly on the 3D viewer. Then, you get a nice little diagram of the different parts and how they interconnect.

And, when you thought it couldn’t get better, you can actually preview the result before instantiating the whole panel. Definitely feels good when you get a idea ahead of time if your model will work after all!

And yes, the moment of truth— it works!!!!!!!!!!

In the next post, I’ll go over how to populate the panel on a real design.