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CATIA logo
Screenshot of CATIA V5
Basic data

developer Dassault Systèmes
Publishing year 1977
Current  version CATIA V5-6R2020 and CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE R2020x, 3DExperience R2021x on Cloud
(July 2020)
operating system Windows , AIX , HP-UX , Solaris , IRIX
programming language C ++
category CAD
License DSLS (Dassault License Server) / IBM LUM , commercial

CATIA ( C omputer A ided T hree-Dimensional I nteractive A pplication ) is a CAD system from the French company Dassault Systèmes , which was originally developed for aircraft construction and has now established itself in various industries.

Functionality (selection)

The design process in CATIA includes the creation of three-dimensional models and the derivation of the associated two-dimensional drawings . In addition, there are additional modules that provide functionalities such as B. DMU investigations, kinematics , cable harness construction, composite design, FEM calculations and NC programming .
The functionality is divided into working environments or modules ( workbenches ) according to which the commands are arranged:

  • Photo Studio: Commands for creating high quality rendering images
  • Real time rendering: commands for creating real-time rendering images
  • Part design: Commands for the parametric-associative creation of solid bodies
  • Sheet Metal Design : sheet metal construction
  • Assembly Design: Commands for the parametric-associative assembly of individual parts into an "assembly"
  • Sketcher: Commands for the parametric-associative creation of sketches
  • Drafting: Commands for creating print-ready drawing sheets
  • Structure Design: commands for creating metal structures
  • Freestyle: Commands for the dynamic creation of non-parametric-associative free-form surfaces (especially NURBS surfaces). This mainly includes the creation of curves (3D curves, isoparametric curves, etc.), the creation of surfaces (4-point surface, creation using Extrude , Rotate, etc.), the editing of surfaces and curves (especially deformation by means of control points). In addition, there are extensive analysis tools (surface curvature analysis, section plane analysis, surface analysis using isophotes, etc.)
  • Generative Shape Design: Commands for creating parametric-associative (procedural) surfaces. This primarily includes commands for creating wire geometry (points, lines, curves, etc.), for creating surfaces (using extrude , loft , sweep etc.), and for processing surfaces (using fillets, deformations, crowns etc.). There are also some commands for analyzing surfaces (e.g. surface curvature analysis). If necessary, closed polysurfaces can then be converted into a solid in the Part Design workspace. The associativity from the Generative Shape Design work environment is retained.
  • Sketch Tracer: Commands for importing images as templates for modeling
  • Imagine and Shape: Dynamic free-form modeling of surfaces and volumes on the basis of the subdivision Surface Modeling
  • Advanced Meshing Tools: Commands for the analysis of areas and volumes based on the finite element method

You can switch between the working environments at will.

The currently established version 5 as well as the new version 3DEXPERIENCE (ex V6) have a user interface that is Windows-based in terms of menu navigation. CATIA is in a real 64-bit version. Older versions of CATIA V5 are also available as a 32-bit version and (ported from the Windows version) for various UNIX platforms.

Industrial application

CATIA is used in the aviation (including Boeing , Airbus ) and automotive industries (including BMW , Mercedes-Benz switching to NX , Volkswagen Group , Renault, PSA, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Toyota, Honda) and their suppliers (e.g. . Continental AG , Brose , Magna , SMP , SMIA) or at various Formula 1 racing teams (e.g. Mercedes AMG F1 Team , McLaren Racing , Force India , Sauber F1 Team , Williams F1 in combination with NX, Caterham F1 Team ) is used as the standard CAD system. Numerous companies in other industries also work with CATIA: in the energy and transport sector (e.g. Alstom ), in medical technology (e.g. Lawton), in machine, plant and tool construction (e.g. Schuler , Arburg ), in the construction industry (e.g. Gehry Partners ), in shipbuilding (e.g. Meyer Werft ) and in the consumer goods sector (e.g. L'Oréal ) as well as in the high-tech sector (e.g. AMD , Clarion Malaysia).


Historical logo

The French aircraft manufacturer Avions Marcel Dassault (now Dassault Aviation ) began in 1969 to use computer technology to create interactive technical drawings . These techniques were used for the first time in the development of the Alpha Jet . In 1974 Dassault bought one of the first licenses for the CADAM (Computer Augmented Design And Manufacturing) CAD program from Lockheed , which until then was only a two-dimensional program. For this CAD program, Dassault began developing a three-dimensional tool in 1978, which was initially called CATI (Conception Assistée Tridimensionelle Interactive) and was renamed CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) in 1981.

There were efforts to sell this in-house development to other companies. Therefore, on June 5, 1981, the Dassault Systèmes group company was founded. With IBM joined Dassault Systemes a distribution agreement for CATIA from. The first CATIA version (CATIA V1) was an add-on for CADAM in 1982. It expanded CADAM with 3D functions and made surface modeling possible, which could then be used further via NC programming.

In 1984 CATIA was expanded to include drawing functions and thus became independent of CADAM. The second version (CATIA V2) was introduced in 1985. Three years later, in 1988, the third version of CATIA (CATIA V3) was released. This was the first version on Unix - Workstations ( 6150 IBM and later RS / 6000 ) ran.

The fourth version (CATIA V4) was completed in 1993. The program ran in 1996 on IBM AIX and also on Unix workstations from HP , SGI and SUN .

CATIA V5 was introduced in 1999. The version was newly developed on the Windows platform and enables parametrically associative construction on a PC basis. Not only the user interface but also the file format has been extensively changed. Although it is possible to import constructions that were created with older versions, further processing is only possible to a limited extent. With the release of V5R16 in 2005, a pure 64-bit version of CATIA V5 for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition was available for the first time. The standard operating system for the releases up to V5-6R2015 (alias R25) is Windows 7, since 2016 Windows 10 has also been supported for the release V5-6R2016. During the changeover from V4 to V5, many new and modern operating and data concepts were introduced in response to pressure from the market, as was the case with other comparable CAD systems. This, together with the switch to a new user interface, made the switch from CATIA V4 to V5 difficult.

In January 2008 Dassault Systèmes announced its Version 6 (V6) platform under the heading "PLM 2.0 - PLM online for all". At the same time, CATIA Version 6 (3DEXPERIENCE) was presented. CATIA V6 supports cross-divisional, virtual construction with system engineering, mold construction , mechanical construction and plant construction as well as the reuse of in-house knowledge .

Version 5 as a file-based application will still be around for several years. A new generation of the software has been available since release 22 or officially V5-6R2012, as additional functionalities of the V6 or 3DEXPERIENCE core have been implemented. This means that there are also significant improvements and extensions in the current releases. Maintenance (troubleshooting and adaptation to new infrastructure conditions) should be guaranteed until at least 2026. The VW Group has been using the V5-6R2018 (R28) release since May 2019, and BMW is planning to do so in autumn 2019. Migration paths are available for the transition to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

The currently most widespread version in Germany is still CATIA V5-6, it is mainly used in the automotive and supplier industry , the aerospace industry and their suppliers.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. NX