Developer(s) Dassault Systèmes
Initial release 1977 (1977)
Stable release
3DEXPERIENCE Platform R2016x / 2016 (2016)
Operating system Windows / Unix (server)
License Proprietary software

CATIA (an acronym of computer aided three-dimensional interactive application) (in English, usually pronounced /kəˈtiə/) is a multi-platform computer-aided design (CAD)/computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)/computer-aided engineering (CAE) software suite developed by the French company Dassault Systèmes. It is written in the C++ programming language.


CATIA (Computer Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application) started as an in-house development in 1977 by French aircraft manufacturer Avions Marcel Dassault, at that time customer of the CAD/CAM CAD software[1] to develop Dassault's Mirage fighter jet. It was later adopted in the aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, and other industries.

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.[2]

In 1984, the Boeing Company chose CATIA V3 as its main 3D CAD tool, becoming its largest customer.

In 1988, CATIA V3 was ported from mainframe computers to 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. Also, Lockheed was selling its CADAM CAD system worldwide through the channel of IBM since 1978.

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, V5 was released and was an entirely rewritten version of CATIA with support for UNIX, Windows NT and Windows XP (since 2001).

In the years prior to 2000, problems caused by incompatibility between versions of CATIA (Version 4 and Version 5) led to $6.1B in additional costs due to years of project delays in production of the Airbus A380.[3]

In 2008, Dassault Systèmes released CATIA V6.[4][5] While the server can run on Microsoft Windows, Linux or AIX, client support for any operating system other than Microsoft Windows was dropped.[6]

In November 2010, Dassault Systèmes launched CATIA V6R2011x, the latest release of its PLM2.0 platform, while continuing to support and improve its CATIA V5 software.

In June 2011, Dassault Systèmes launched V6 R2012.

In 2012, Dassault Systèmes launched V6 2013x.

In 2014, Dassault Systèmes launched 3DEXPERIENCE Platform R2014x [7] and CATIA on the Cloud, a cloud version of its software.[8][9]

Release history

Name/Version Version History Value Release Date
Catia v5 R__ _/_/1998
Catia v6 R__ _/_/2008
Catia v6 R__ _/_/2011
Catia v6 R20 _/5/2013

Scope of application

Commonly referred to as a 3D Product Lifecycle Management software suite, CATIA supports multiple stages of product development (CAx), including conceptualization, design (CAD), engineering (CAE) and manufacturing (CAM). CATIA facilitates collaborative engineering across disciplines around its 3DEXPERIENCE platform, including surfacing & shape design, electrical fluid & electronics systems design, mechanical engineering and systems engineering.

CATIA facilitates the design of electronic, electrical, and distributed systems such as fluid and HVAC systems, all the way to the production of documentation for manufacturing.

Mechanical engineering

CATIA enables the creation of 3D parts, from 3D sketches, sheetmetal, composites, molded, forged or tooling parts up to the definition of mechanical assemblies. The software provides advanced technologies for mechanical surfacing & BIW. It provides tools to complete product definition, including functional tolerances as well as kinematics definition. CATIA provides a wide range of applications for tooling design, for both generic tooling and mold & die.[10]


CATIA offers a solution to shape design, styling, surfacing workflow and visualization to create, modify,[11] and validate complex innovative shapes from industrial design to Class-A surfacing with the ICEM surfacing technologies. CATIA supports multiple stages of product design whether started from scratch or from 2D sketches. [10]

Systems engineering

The CATIA Systems Engineering solution delivers a unique open and extensible systems engineering development platform that fully integrates the cross-discipline modeling, simulation, verification and business process support needed for developing complex ‘cyber-physical’ products. It enables organizations to evaluate requests for changes or develop new products or system variants utilizing a unified performance based systems engineering approach. The solution addresses the Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) needs of users developing today’s smart products and systems and comprises the following elements: Requirements Engineering, Systems Architecture Modeling, Systems Behavior Modeling & Simulation, Configuration Management & Lifecycle Traceability, Automotive Embedded Systems Development (AUTOSAR Builder) and Industrial Automation Systems Development (ControlBuild).

CATIA uses the open Modelica language in both CATIA Dynamic Behavior Modeling and Dymola, to quickly and easily model and simulate the behavior of complex systems that span multiple engineering disciplines. CATIA & Dymola are further extended by through the availability of a number of industry and domain specific Modelica libraries that enable user to model and simulate a wide range of complex systems – ranging from automotive vehicle dynamics through to aircraft flight dynamics.[12]

Electrical systems

CATIA v5 offers a solution to facilitate the design and manufacturing of electrical systems spanning the complete process from conceptual design through to manufacturing. Capabilities include requirements capture, electrical schematic definition, interactive 3D routing of both wire harnesses and industrial cable solutions through to the production of detailed manufacturing documents including formboards.[13]

Fluid systems

CATIA offers a solution to facilitate the design and manufacturing of routed systems including tubing, piping, Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning (HVAC). Capabilities include requirements capture, 2D diagrams for defining hydraulic, pneumatic and HVAC systems, as well as Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID). Powerful capabilities are provided that enables these 2D diagrams to be used to drive the interactive 3D routing and placing of system components, in the context of the digital mockup of the complete product or process plant, through to the delivery of manufacturing information including reports and piping isometric drawings.[14]


CATIA can be applied to a wide variety of industries, from aerospace and defense, automotive, and industrial equipment, to high tech, shipbuilding, consumer goods, plant design, consumer packaged goods, life sciences, architecture and construction, process power and petroleum, and services. CATIA V4, CATIA V5, Pro/ENGINEER, NX (formerly Unigraphics), and Dassault Systèmes' own SolidWorks platform are the dominant systems.


The Boeing Company used CATIA V3 to develop its 777 airliner and used CATIA V5 for the 787 series aircraft. They have employed the full range of Dassault Systèmes' 3D PLM products – CATIA, DELMIA, and ENOVIA LCA – supplemented by Boeing-developed applications.[15]

The development of the Indian Light Combat Aircraft has used CATIA V5.

Chinese Xian JH-7A was the first aircraft developed by CATIA V5 when the design was completed on September 26, 2000.

European aerospace Airbus is also using CATIA.[16]

Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier Aerospace has done all of its aircraft design on CATIA.[17]

BAE Systems uses CATIA.[18]

The Brazilian aircraft company EMBRAER uses CATIA V4 and V5 to build all airplanes.

FNSS is using CATIA V5 and V6.[19]

Vought Aircraft Industries uses CATIA V4 and V5 to produce its parts.

The Anglo/Italian Helicopter company AgustaWestland uses CATIA V4 and V5 to design their full range of aircraft.

All daughter companies of the French company Safran use CATIA for a full range of aerospace, defence and security products.

The Eurofighter Typhoon has been designed using both CATIA V4 and V5.

The main supplier of helicopters to the U.S Military forces, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., uses CATIA as well.

P3 Voith is using CATIA V6 electrical.[20]

Bell Helicopter, the creator of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, has used CATIA V4, V5 and V6.[21]

Of course, Dassault Aviation is also using CATIA and they are currently working on CATIA V6.[22]


Many automotive companies use CATIA to varying degrees, including BMW, Porsche, McLaren Automotive,[23] Chrysler, Honda,[24] Audi,[25] Jaguar Land Rover, Volkswagen, SEAT, Škoda, Bentley Motors Limited, Volvo, Fiat, Benteler International, PSA Peugeot Citroën,[26] Renault,[27] Toyota,[28] Ford, Scania, Hyundai, Tesla Motors,[29] Rolls-Royce Motors, Valmet Automotive, Proton, Elba, Tata motors[30] and Mahindra & Mahindra Limited. Goodyear uses it in making tires for automotive and aerospace and also uses a customized CATIA for its design and development. Many automotive companies use CATIA for car structures – door beams, IP supports, bumper beams, roof rails, side rails, body components because of CATIA's capabilities in Computer representation of surfaces. Bombardier Transportation of Canada is using this software to design its entire fleet of Train engines and coaches. Webasto uses CATIA to design its roof.[31]


Dassault Systèmes has begun serving shipbuilders with CATIA V5 release 8, which includes special features useful to shipbuilders. GD Electric Boat used CATIA to design the latest fast attack submarine class for the United States Navy, the Virginia class.[32] Newport News Shipbuilding also used CATIA to design the Gerald R. Ford class of supercarriers for the US Navy.[33] In 2004, it has been adopted by the Beneteau Group for development of new sailing and leisure motor boats.[34]

Industrial equipment

CATIA has a strong presence in the Industrial Equipment industry. Industrial Manufacturing machinery companies like Schuler and Metso use CATIA, as do heavy mobile machinery and equipment companies like Claas, and also various industrial equipment product companies like Alstom Power and ABB Group. Michelin is also using CATIA for its production.[35]

High Tech

Some High Tech companies are using CATIA to design their products. You can find for example: Nikon,[36] Nokia,[37] Pegatron.[38]

Energy, Process & Utilities

Suzlon uses CATIA to manufacture turbine blades.[39]

Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) & Retail

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is using CATIA to optimize its packagings.[40]

Example of modeling in CATIA


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.[41] His technology arm, Gehry Technologies, has been developing software based on CATIA V5 named Digital Project.[42] Digital Project competes for market share with Graphisoft's ARCHICAD, Revit, Microstation and other Building Information Modelling applications. SHoP Architects company is using CATIA for its designs.[43]

File compatibility and CATIA V4 /V5 /V6 conversion

Dassault Systèmes provides utilities to convert CATIA V4 data files so they are accessible to CATIA V5 and CATIA V6. Still, cases show that there can be issues in the data conversion from CATIA V4 to V5 from either differences in the geometric kernel between CATIA V4 and CATIA V5 or by the modelling methods employed by end users. The percentage loss can be minimized by using the appropriate pre-conversion clean-up, choosing the appropriate conversion options, and clean-up activities after conversion. Conversion from CATIA Version 4 to Version 5 created construction problems for the Airbus A380 which caused $6.1B in additional costs due to years of project delays when aircraft wiring was too short to make connections.[3]

Transition from V5 to V6 is facilitated because they are sharing the same geometric kernel. Third-party file translators also up-convert CATIA files between versions.


CATIA competes in the high-end CAD/CAM/CAE market with Siemens NX.


See also


  1. A history of CATIA by former CEO of Dassault Systèmes Francis Bernard
  2. "isicad :: The DASSAULT SYSTEMES Success Story". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Airbus – A380". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  4. CIMdata Introduces V6
  5. "CATIA CAD Software Review by IndiaCADworks". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  6. "What is CATIA?". Professional industrial design services, High value-added mold and High quality product suppliers. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  7. Latest release of CATIA
  8. "CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE-on-the-Cloud brings High Power Design Tools to Small Design Teams >". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  9. "Social Design on the Cloud with CATIA – Dassault Systèmes " Yanko Design". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  10. 1 2 CATIA solutions
  11. Iqbal, Munawar; Wasy, Abdul; Batani, Dimitri; Rashid, Haris; Lodhi, M.A.K. (2012). "Design modification in rotor blade of turbo molecular pump". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment. 678: 88. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2012.02.030.
  12. CATIA systems engineering reference
  13. CATIA electrical systems reference
  14. CATIA fluid systems reference
  15. "Computing & Design/Build Processes Help Develop the 777." Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
  16. Airbus chooses CATIA V6
  17. Bombardier Aerospace with V5
  18. BAE Systems is using CATIA V6
  19. FNSS is using CATIA V6
  20. P3 Voith is using CATIA V6
  21. Bell Helicopter chooses CATIA V6
  22. Dassault Aviation using V6
  23. "McLaren – Job Opportunities". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  24. Honda using CATIA
  25. "Upheaval in automotive PLM as car companies change partners". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  26. "Peugeot S.A. signs a 3-year contract for 1,300 CATIA licenses.". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  27. Renault chooses CATIA V6
  28. Joann Muller (2 February 2010). "Toyota: Computer-Addled Design?". Forbes. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  29. Tesla chooses CATIA V6
  30. Tate chooses CATIA V6
  31. Webasto is using CATIA V6
  32. Conklin, James. "Realizing Life Cycle Cost Savings Through Standardization". Defense Standardization Program. Department Of Defense.
  33. Gerald R. Ford class using CATIA
  34. "Beneteau Group Selects PLM Shipbuilding Solutions From IBM and Dassault Systèmes".
  35. Michelin is using CATIA V6
  36. Nikon is using CATIA V6
  37. Nokia is using CATIA V6
  38. Pegatron is using CATIA V6
  39. Suzlon is using CATIA V6
  40. P&G is using CATIA V6
  41. Day, Martin (September–October 2003). "Gehry, Dassault and IBM Too". AEC Magazine. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
  42. "Digital Project". Gehry Technologies. Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
  43. SHoP is using CATIA V6

External links

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