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. Architect Frank Gehry used it to design the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Walt Disney Concert Hall.
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.
In 1984, the Boeing Company chose CATIA as its main 3D CAD tool, becoming its largest customer.
In 1990, General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corp chose CATIA as its main 3D CAD tool, to design the U.S. Navy's Virginia class nuclear 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 2008, Dassault announced CATIA V6. Support for any operating system other than Windows is dropped.
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.
As of 2008, the latest release is V5 release 19 (V5R19).
V5 can work with other applications, including Enovia, Smarteam, and various CAE Analysis applications.
CATIA V3 and earlier run on the mainframe platforms.
European aerospace giant Airbus has been using CATIA since 2001. In 2006, Airbus announced that the production of its Airbus 380 had been set back by two years at a cost of $6.1 billion because development was done on two versions of CATIA. It would appear that German and Spanish Airbus facilities used CATIA V4, while British and French sites had switched to V5. Among the problems: wiring harnesses manufactured using aluminium rather than copper conductors required special design rules including non-standard dimensions and bend radii; these were not easily transferred between different versions.
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. His technology arm, Gehry Technologies, has been developing software based on CATIA V5 named Digital Project. Digital Project has been used to design buildings and has successfully completed a handful of projects.
CATIA Version 5 Release 7: A look at the most recent version of IBM/ Dassault Systemes' high-end MCAD program. (cad options).(Evaluation)
Dec 01, 2001; CATIA is one of four high-end MCAD systems grouped along with Pro/ENGINEER, Unigraphics, and IDEAS, although the latter...