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Machine tool simulation
Developer(s) Dassault Systemes
Stable release V6R2010 / June 23, 2009
Operating system Unix / Windows
Type CAD software
Website [1]

CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite developed by the French company Dassault Systemes and marketed worldwide by IBM. Written in the C++ programming language, CATIA is the cornerstone of the Dassault Systemes product lifecycle management software suite.

The software was created in the late 1970s and early 1980s to develop Dassault's Mirage fighter jet, then was adopted in the aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, and other industries.

CATIA competes in the CAD/CAM/CAE market with Siemens NX, Pro/ENGINEER, Autodesk Inventor and SolidEdge.



CATIA started as an in-house development in 1977 by French aircraft manufacturer Avions Marcel Dassault, at that time customer of the CADAM CAD software.[1]

Initially named CATI (Conception Assistée Tridimensionnelle Interactive — French for Interactive Aided Three-dimensional Design ) — it was renamed CATIA in 1981, when Dassault created a subsidiary to develop and sell the software, and signed a non-exclusive distribution agreement with IBM.[2]

In 1984, the Boeing Company chose CATIA as its main 3D CAD tool, becoming its largest customer.

In 1988, CATIA version 3 was ported from mainframe computers to UNIX.

In 1990, General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp chose CATIA as its main 3D CAD tool, to design the U.S. Navy's Virginia class submarine.

In 1992, CADAM was purchased from IBM and the next year CATIA CADAM V4 was published. In 1996, it was ported from one to four Unix operating systems, including IBM AIX, Silicon Graphics IRIX, Sun Microsystems SunOS and Hewlett-Packard HP-UX.

In 1998, an entirely rewritten version of CATIA, CATIA V5 was released, with support for UNIX, Windows NT and Windows XP since 2001.

In 2008, Dassault announced and released CATIA V6[3]. While the server can run on Microsoft Windows, Linux or AIX, client support for any operating system other than Microsoft Windows is dropped[4].


Commonly referred to as a 3D Product Lifecycle Management software suite, CATIA supports multiple stages of product development (CAx), from conceptualization, design (CAD), manufacturing (CAM), and engineering (CAE).

CATIA can be customized via application programming interfaces (API). V4 can be adapted in the Fortran and C programming languages under an API called CAA. V5 can be adapted via the Visual Basic and C++ programming languages, an API called CAA2 or CAA V5 that is a component object model (COM)-like interface.

Although later versions of CATIA V4 implemented NURBS, V4 principally used piecewise polynomial surfaces. CATIA V4 uses a non-manifold solid engine.

Catia V5 features a parametric solid/surface-based package which uses NURBS as the core surface representation and has several workbenches that provide KBE support.

V5 can work with other applications, including Enovia, Smarteam, and various CAE Analysis applications.

Supported operating systems and platforms

CATIA V6 runs only on Microsoft Windows.

CATIA V5 runs on Microsoft Windows (both 32-bit and 64-bit), and as of Release 18 Service Pack 4 on Windows Vista 64[5]. IBM AIX, Hewlett Packard HP-UX and Sun Microsystems Solaris are supported.[6]

CATIA V4 is supported for those Unixes[7] and IBM MVS and VM/CMS mainframe platforms up to release 1.7.

CATIA V3 and earlier run on the mainframe platforms.

Notable industries using CATIA

CATIA is widely used throughout the engineering industry, especially in the automotive and aerospace sectors. CATIA V4, CATIA V5, Pro/ENGINEER, NX (formerly Unigraphics), and SolidWorks are the dominant systems.


The Boeing Company used CATIA V3 to develop its 777 airliner, and is currently using CATIA V5 for the 787 series aircraft. They have employed the full range of Dassault Systemes' 3D PLM products — CATIA, DELMIA, and ENOVIA LCA — supplemented by Boeing developed applications.[8]

European aerospace giant Airbus has been using CATIA since 2001.[9]

Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier Aerospace has done all of its designing on CATIA.[10]


Many automotive companies use CATIA to varying degrees, including BMW, Porsche, Daimler Chrysler,[11] Audi,[12] Volkswagen, Bentley Motors Limited, Volvo, Fiat, Benteler AG, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, Toyota, Ford, Scania, Hyundai, Škoda Auto, Tesla Motors, Proton, Tata motors and Mahindra & Mahindra Limited. Goodyear uses it in making tires for automotive and aerospace and also uses a customized CATIA for its design and development. Many automotive companies use CATIA for car structures — door beams, IP supports, bumper beams, roof rails, side rails, body components — because CATIA is very good in surface creation and Computer representation of surfaces.


Dassault Systems has begun serving shipbuilders with CATIA V5 release 8, which includes special features useful to shipbuilders. GD Electric Boat used CATIA to design the latest fast attack submarine class for the United States Navy, the Virginia class.[13] Northrop Grumman Newport News also used CATIA to design the Gerald R. Ford class of supercarriers for the US Navy.[14]


Architect Frank Gehry has used the software, through the C-Cubed Virtual Architecture company, now Virtual Build Team, to design his award-winning curvilinear buildings.[15] His technology arm, Gehry Technologies, has been developing software based on CATIA V5 named Digital Project.[16] Digital Project has been used to design buildings and has successfully completed a handful of projects.

CATIA V4 to V5/V6 Conversion

CATIA V5 and V6 can directly use the CATIA V4 models, but changes in the CATIA data structure requires data conversion from CATIA V4 to V5/V6. This is due to both a change in geometric kernel between CATIA V4 and CATIA V5, and changes in the CAD data structure between CATIA V5 and CATIA V6.

Dassault Systemes provides utilities to convert CATIA V4 data to CATIA V5 with a one-to-one mapping. Still, cases show that there can be issues in the data conversion from CATIA V4 to V5, from either differences in the geometric kernel between CATIA V4 and CATIA V5, or by the modeling methods employed by end users. Experiment results show that can be data loss during the conversion (from 0% to 90%). The percentage loss can be minimized by using the appropriate pre-conversion clean-up, choosing the appropriate conversion options, and clean-up activities after conversion.

Engineering service providers have solutions, but mostly they are unique to a particular company and its processes / standard of modeling method. A common solution for 100% data conversion has yet to be devised. It is important to note that ANY change from one modeling kernel to another would cause similar problems; this issue is not unique to CATIA.

Future implementations

Dassault Systemes released CATIA Version 6 (V6) in mid-2008.[17]

See also


  1. ^ A history of CATIA by former CEO of Dassault Systemes Francis Bernard
  2. ^ Technological Revolution article by Dassault Aviation
  3. ^ Dassault Systèmes Introduces V6 to the Market - Press release
  4. ^ PLM V6R2009 System requirements
  5. ^ Officiel Dassault Systemes Program Directory CATIA Version 5 Release 18 SP4
  6. ^ "CATIA V5 System requirements". IBM. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  7. ^ "CATIA V4 System requirements". IBM. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  8. ^ "Computing & Design/Build Processes Help Develop the 777." Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
  9. ^ "PLM: Boeing's Dream, Airbus' Nightmare." Baseline.
  10. ^ Latulippe, Isabelle (August 2001). "Bombardier Aerospace Virtual Product Definition: Achievements and Future Directions". COE NewsNet. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Product Lifecycle Management Solutions from IBM and Dassault Systemes Boost Efficiency at Leading Premium Vehicle Manufacturer". COE Newsnet. 
  13. ^ Conklin, James. "Realizing Life Cycle Cost Savings Through Standardization". Defense Standardization Program. Department Of Defense. 
  14. ^ "CVN 21 Facts". Northrop Grumman. 
  15. ^ Day, Martin (September/October 2003). "Gehry, Dassault and IBM Too". AEC Magazine. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  16. ^ "Digital Project". Gehry Technologies. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  17. ^ MCAD Online - Dassault launches Catia V6 platform

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Computer Aided Three dimensional Interactive Application


Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. (computing) a suite of Dassault Systèmes CAD programs

See also


Simple English

Catia (Computer Aided Three dimensional Interactive Application) is a comercial designing software. It was made by Dassault Systemes and marketed world-wide by IBM. CATIA is written in C++. [1].

Other websites


  1. Bjarne Stroustrup. C++ applications, 2007-05-25. Retrieved on 2007-06-18.

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