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.
CATIA competes in the CAD/CAM/CAE market with Siemens NX, Pro/ENGINEER, Autodesk Inventor and SolidEdge.
CATIA started as an in-house development in 1977 by French aircraft manufacturer Avions Marcel Dassault, at that time customer of the CADAM CAD software.
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 1988, CATIA version 3 was ported from mainframe computersto UNIX.
In 1990, General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp chose CATIA as its main 3D CAD tool, to design the U.S. Navy’s Virginia class 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 1998, an entirely rewritten version of CATIA, CATIA V5 was released, with support for UNIX, Windows NT and Windows XP since 2001.
In 2008, Dassault announced and released CATIA V6. While the server can run on Microsoft Windows, Linux or AIX, client support for any operating system other than Microsoft Windows is dropped.
Commonly referred to as a 3D Product Lifecycle Management software suite, CATIA supports multiple stages of product development (CAx), from conceptualization, design (CAD), manufacturing (CAM), and engineering (CAE).
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.
Although later versions of CATIA V4 implemented NURBS, V4 principally used piecewise polynomial surfaces. CATIA V4 uses a non-manifold solid engine.
Catia V5 features a parametric solid/surface-based package which uses NURBS as the core surface representation and has several workbenches that provide KBE support.
V5 can work with other applications, including Enovia, Smarteam, and various CAE Analysis applications.
Supported operating systems and platforms
CATIA V6 runs only on Microsoft Windows.
CATIA V5 runs on Microsoft Windows (both 32-bit and 64-bit), and as of Release 18
Service Pack 4 on Windows Vista 64. IBM AIX, Hewlett Packard HP-UX and Sun
Microsystems Solaris are supported.
CATIA V4 is supported for those Unixe and IBM MVS and VM/CMS mainframe platforms up to release 1.7.
CATIA V3 and earlier run on the mainframe platforms.