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Integrity of STEP files produced by SolidWorks?

Question asked by John Howell on Jan 24, 2011
Latest reply on Jan 24, 2011 by Lenny Bucholz

What is everyone's experience with the model integrity of STEP files produced by SolidWorks?


We are about to procure CADIQ and do some validation, however I thought posting a question here might give some real world feedback.




When we release a drawing into our PDM system today, I have an AddIn that programmatically creates a Parasolid file of the Part/Assmbly referenced by that drawing. That Parasolid file is then released into our PDM system along with the drawing. Subsequently, when a vendor needs a file to fabricate a part, the purchasing folks can get that file from our PDM system. Once our vendors got over their initial fright, Parasolid files have worked out quite well


We chose Parasolid over IGES or STEP because early on, say early 2000's, it seemed the Parasolid files created by SolidWorks were much more sound that either of the other formats. IGES seemed kind of antiquated (tho it still has its uses) and STEP files seemed to be plagued by geometry issues - fillets turned into spheres, holes that filled themselves in (or partially filled themselves in), etc... As Parasolid is what SolidWorks is based on, the files produced never had geometry problems. The file size was also a small fraction of STEP.


Since then we've been bought by a large corporation, and STEP files are what they produce with the software they use (NX). We are being encouraged to 'align' - not just because it's what they do, but also because the STEP format it seems is what is going to be used in the future when PMI really takes off as it is the international standard for data exchange.