CADIQ 11: Validate Twice, Manufacture Once
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on July 05, 2018 |

While computer aided design (CAD) has become extremely advanced, we’re still waiting even bigger technological leap: model-based design (MBD). Once a digital thread is woven throughout the entire design-to-manufacture process, a new era of manufacturing can begin.

Crucial to the integrity of that digital thread is the ability to ensure the quality of MBD models and their various derivatives as they pass from one stage to the next along the manufacturing workflow. While there are many CAD tools to create MBD models, there are very few to actually check their quality and validate their derivatives automatically.

ITI has made a number of improvements to CADIQ for version 11, including a streamlined viewer. (Image courtesy of ITI.)
ITI has made a number of improvements to CADIQ for version 11, including a streamlined viewer. (Image courtesy of ITI.)

One of the few tools that automatically checks model quality and validates derivatives is CADIQ. We spoke to Raphael Nascimento, CADIQ product manager at International TechneGroup (ITI), to learn about the latest release of CADIQ 11.

What Is CADIQ?

CADIQ is an application that verifies the quality of CAD models, which makes it valuable to users in three primary applications: validating derivative models generated from a native CAD file, comparing different revisions of an MBD model, and generally checking the quality of a native CAD file.

CADIQ generates a 3D PDF that includes different MBD views and associated issues or changes and can be easily shared with other members of a project team or customers. Users can also see this information within CADIQ’s standalone viewer.

When it comes to exporting a CAD model in another format for downstream use, such as a STEP model to be used in manufacturing or inspection, information can be lost, changed or corrupted in the process. CADIQ makes it possible to compare the STEP file and native CAD file, automatically checking for various potential errors or changes. The software is capable of analyzing all major derivative formats, including all of the various permutations of STEP and major CAD formats, as well as formats like 3D PDF, JT and Parasolid.

CADIQ can detect issues and differences between models after export. (Image courtesy of ITI.)
CADIQ can detect issues and differences between models after export. (Image courtesy of ITI.)

As for revision comparison, CADIQ is able to display changes that have occurred from one version of an MBD model to the next.

“It’s important to be able to communicate that information to downstream groups so that manufacturing knows what the differences are,” Nascimento said. “But it’s also very useful to be able to identify an unintentional change.”

Nascimento explained that with parametric CAD systems and complicated models, a feature might be modified and, due to relationships built into the CAD model, another portion of the model might be changed without the designer even realizing it.

“It is extremely beneficial to be able to determine that changes you intended to make were indeed made, and that there were no unintentional modifications made to that model revision,” Nascimento added.

CADIQ detects errors in CAD models. (Image courtesy of ITI.)
CADIQ detects errors in CAD models. (Image courtesy of ITI.)

This is also very much related to quality verification. By asking CADIQ to look for various errors— for example, whether two features don’t attach to one another or if there are small voids or cracks in a model—with CADIQ, it’s possible to find issues that may have been difficult to spot manually. This is particularly true for the increasingly complex geometries made possible by advances in CAD modeling.

“[Verifying quality] is an important part of a company’s engineering process as more and more companies are starting to adopt MBD and MBE (model-based enterprise) practices,” Nascimento said. “You’re starting to use the model directly with downstream applications and things like that, so it’s more important than ever to make sure that the model is of good quality. And, there are a couple of main use cases where CADIQ fits in really well.”

CADIQ 11

Released earlier this year, CADIQ 11 makes a number of improvements to the user experience, including enhancements to the 3D PDF output, the software’s viewer, and the ability to deal with more complex files.

Both the 3D PDF and viewer’s output have been streamlined to be more compact while maintaining the level of information and decreasing the file size. For 3D PDFs, this means consolidating the output into a single page. In the previous version of the software, a page would be dedicated to each saved view of the MBD model.

An example of the new 3D PDF report format generated by CADIQ. (Image courtesy of ITI.)
An example of the new 3D PDF report format generated by CADIQ. (Image courtesy of ITI.)

Now all of the saved views associated with the MBD can be selected on that single page using a widget on the upper left of the report, allowing users to switch between views. And, the 3D PDF is actually smaller in size, which is particularly useful for very large and complex models.

A similar improvement is found in the viewer itself. Rather than launch a viewer session per saved view, all of the saved views are contained within a single viewer session, and users are able to alternate between views.

There are also updates to CADIQ’s user interface, including more modern and user-friendly icons, as well as better support for more complex modifiers and GD&T call-outs.

It’s now possible to change the color of the annotations created in CADIQ. Because the software typically uses the same color scheme as used in the native CAD system, the colors can sometimes clash in the context of another application. If necessary, users can override this color scheme for more readable text.

CADIQ’s capabilities and functionality have also been improved upon. The software has advanced just as CAD systems have. Now that SOLIDWORKS features configuration capabilities to create various instances or different versions of the same model, options can be selected within CADIQ to select the particular configuration of interest. Similarly, CADIQ can filter geometry according to named reference sets in Siemens NX so that particular geometry groups can be analyzed. With JT models, product manufacturing information (PMI) can be validated at the assembly level. In both NX and JT, exploded views with trace lines are also supported.

To streamline the entire process of validating PMI, CADIQ has reduced the redundancy of errors and warnings. Since a revision can result in a number of changes to the entire model, the previous version of the software would flag each individual error or change associated with this broader change. Now, these warnings are consolidated so that only the most important and significant changes are highlighted.

The Future of CADIQ

Though CADIQ 11 is the latest big release, ITI will continue to make upgrades until 2019’s broader update. In the process, ITI will explore other ways that CADIQ may be improved.

Currently, CADIQ is a standalone application that an individual user might download onto a desktop or a company might install on a server. Running the software on a given MBD model might take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the size and complexity of file being analyzed.

While this has not yet driven ITI to develop a cloud version of CADIQ, the idea is not out of the question. The company is in constant communication with customers and, if they begin to demand a cloud option for CADIQ, ITI may develop one. Currently, ITI customers are not asking for this option.

Regardless, the software represents an integral strand of the digital thread. As companies shift to MBE methods and processes and reach for the emerging concept of the digital twin, model validation will be essential to ensuring that the physical twin out in the world matches the digital native that exist somewhere on a server.

To learn more about CADIQ, visit the product page.


ITI has sponsored this post. They have no editorial input to this post. All opinions are mine. —Michael Molitch-Hou


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