History of Innovation

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1977: CATIA

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Innovation: Aerospace CAD Design
Location: France
Year: 1977
By: Avions Marcel Dassault

CATIA (pron: K’tia) – Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application – is a 3D Product Lifecycle Management program that supports product development from design to the manufacturing and construction stage. CATIA can be used to create 3D parts made of sheet metal, composites or molds, based on digital 3D sketches. It was the first CAD/CAE/CAM software created. [1] Originally called CATI (Conception Assistée Tridimensionnelle Interactive – French for Interactive Aided Three-dimensional Design), it was developed in 1977 as a surface modeler to assist in designing the Dassault fighter jets. Based on ten years of 3-D mathematics research, the program allowed designers and engineers to create complex three dimensional forms and provide documents for manufacturing. In 1981 the program was renamed CATIA and Dassault Systemes was formed to develop and sell the program. In 1984 Boeing chose CATIA as its main CAD tool centralizing it as an aerospace CAD tool [2]. In 1989 Chrysler began using CATIA for it’s Jeep and truck designs, introducing CATIA into the automotive industry where it has quickly grown to be used in some form by most automobile manufacturers [3]. In 1990 CATIA was choosen by the General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation to design U.S. Navy submarines, and in 1998 CATIA V5 was released with features created specifically for shipbuilders. This program is not limited to the aerospace, automotive, and shipbuilding fields, it can be used to design electrical and HVAC systems. Frank Gehry’s curvilinear designs have been modeled using CATIA [2].

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Written by Morgan Allford

January 1, 1977 at 12:00 am

One Response

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  1. Morgan, Please see http://www.allpar.com/corporate/chrysler-group/catia-vs-nx.html for an early image.
    I believe Catia started as automotive design, then aerospace, finally architectural.


    October 5, 2012 at 1:26 am

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