IFC, an open file format widely embraced in the AEC industry, enables information exchange and collaboration throughout the project lifecycle between diverse software applications. It contains detailed and structured data about building and construction elements, such as walls, floors, windows, etc.
Here are the currently supported versions by CAD Exchanger:
IFC2X3 is commonly used in various industries, allowing you to easily exchange data among software platforms.
IFC4 (up to 4.3) introduces new data schemas and refinements to further enhance interoperability and data exchange reliability.
CAD Exchanger can import IFC files of versions 2X3 and 4 (up to 4.3) and export IFC files of version 2X3. Such support includes:
Follow this link to check out all the CAD Exchanger products.
One of the key advantages of the IFC format is its extensive support for entities specific to the architecture and construction domain. It provides a comprehensive set of predefined entities that capture the elements and components found in projects. These entities range from fundamental elements like walls, floors, and doors to more specific elements such as windows, stairs, and HVAC systems.
IFC offers a wide range of entities and attributes that allow for the representation of design information, construction sequencing, cost estimation, project scheduling, facility management, and more. It enables rich information exchange, facilitating better communication and understanding among project stakeholders. It allows for more accurate analysis, visualization, and simulation, leading to improved decision-making throughout the project lifecycle.
Between IFC 2x3 and IFC 4, the former has certain limitations in terms of its range of geometric representations. IFC 2x3 does not support B-rep and typically represents objects with the use of polyhedra, sweeps, or basic Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) shapes. In contrast, IFC 4 removes this limitation by offering support for full B-rep shapes. However, it is worth noting that the existing geometric representations provided by IFC 2x3 are often sufficient for many applications.
IFC has its own structure, optimized for buildings, so it provides technical possibilities for sharing data, primarily at the level of geometry. Transferring generic CAD models with shared parts and subassemblies between various assemblies to the IFC format can be challenging due to the inherent limitations of the format.
This conceptual rearrangement can involve mapping the non-BIM data to the appropriate IFC entity or property, ensuring that the relevant information is preserved and accurately represented. It may require additional effort and careful consideration to properly structure and integrate the non-BIM data within the IFC format.
This format offers advantages such as data consistency and the ability to exchange rich building information across a wide range of software platforms.
This format is predominantly used in the AEC industry. This encompasses a wide range of professionals and organizations, including architects, structural engineers, MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) consultants, contractors, facility managers, and more. Additionally, industries related to building operations and maintenance, such as facility management, can also benefit from the IFC format's ability to store and share building information effectively.
To open this file, you will need a compatible software application, for example, CAD Exchanger Lab. Launch the software and navigate to the 'New file' option. Browse your computer's directories and locate the IFC file you want to open. Then select the file and click "Open". Once the import process is complete, the file should be loaded into the software, allowing you to view and interact with the 3D model and associated data.
Yes, the format provides support for a wide range of building elements, from basic components like walls and doors to more complex elements like HVAC systems, structural frameworks, and electrical systems. This allows for accurate and detailed representation of various aspects of the building.
Our software supports file conversion between various CAD and BIM formats, including Revit (.rvt) and IFC (.ifc). Launch CAD Exchanger and navigate to the 'New file' option. Select the 'Open' option and browse your computer to locate the .rvt file you want to convert.
Once the file is loaded, go to the main menu, tick 'Show export options', select .ifc, and then click 'Export'. Choose a destination folder where you want to save the converted IFC file and provide a name for the file. Click on the 'Save' button to initiate the conversion process. Once the conversion is complete, you will have an IFC file. See the full list of file compatibility in the 'How To Import (Read) and Export (Write) IFC files' section.
This format was developed by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) in the late 1990s. The aim was to create an open and neutral standard for exchanging building information in the AEC industry. The first version, IFC 1.0, was released in 2000 and focused on basic geometric representation and property sets.
In subsequent years, IFC 2x3 became a significant milestone in the format's history. Released in 2005, it introduced improvements like support for complex building elements, object relationships, spatial hierarchy, and classification. These enhancements greatly enhanced the ability to exchange data and fostered better collaboration across disciplines in the AEC industry.
The most major release is IFC 4, which was introduced in 2013. Building upon the foundation of IFC 2x3, IFC 4 expanded the format's capabilities even further. It introduced advancements such as support for advanced geometries, improved representation of construction sequencing, enhanced data schemas, and inclusion of domains beyond building construction, like infrastructure.
After IFC 4, subsequent versions like IFC 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 were developed to enhance the format by refining the schema, introducing advanced modeling and analysis support, and adding new features. Today, this format has become an indispensable industry standard that will revolutionize information exchange and facilitates collaboration.
The STEP format is a neutral file format used for the exchange of data in the field of CAD. It can contain data, such as 3D geometry, product structure, attributes, tolerances, and materials.
Below you can find all the specific types of STEP files that CAD Exchanger supports:
AP203 focuses on mechanical design. It is used to exchange 3D models and associated information for product design and manufacturing processes.
Also known as the Automotive Design Standards, AP214 is used in the automotive industry. It includes additional features to represent complex assemblies and automotive-specific information.
AP242 is an advanced STEP version that supports the exchange of product information throughout the product lifecycle, including manufacturing, assembly, and maintenance.
During import and export, CAD Exchanger supports:
Follow this link to check out all the CAD Exchanger products.
Since STEP is a neutral file format, it is not tied to any specific CAD software vendor. Almost any software that works with CAD data, and many programs that work with 3D data, can read or write this format.
STEP files are capable of representing complex 3D geometry, including curves, surfaces, and solids. They also store additional information, such as product structure, attributes, and metadata. This ensures that the integrity of the design is maintained during the exchange process, reducing the risk of data loss or conversion errors.
STEP files are widely recognized as a stable and reliable format for long-term data archiving. Their standardization ensures that the files will remain accessible and usable in the future.
Due to their comprehensive nature, STEP files tend to contain a large amount of data, resulting in larger file sizes compared to other file formats. This can pose challenges when it comes to storage, sharing, and transferring files, particularly in cases where limited storage space or bandwidth is a concern.
The larger file sizes can also impact processing and loading times, especially when dealing with complex assemblies or intricate geometries. It may take longer to open, potentially affecting productivity.
The majority of STEP files are written as text files. While it allows for human readability and easy interpretation, it can introduce potential round-off errors in numerical values. These rounding errors may be negligible in most cases, but they can accumulate and impact the accuracy of the model, especially in situations where high precision is crucial.P
STEP files offer interoperability, preserve geometry and associated data, are platform-independent, and are suitable for long-term archiving.
To open this file, you will need a compatible software application, for example, CAD Exchanger Lab. Launch the software and navigate to the 'New file' option. Browse your computer's directories and locate the STEP file you want to open. Then select the file and click "Open". Once the import process is complete, the file should be loaded into the software, allowing you to view and interact with the 3D model and associated data.
Yes, STEP files are widely supported by various CAD software applications. They are designed to facilitate interoperability between different programs. See the full list in the 'STEP format is supported by' section.
The history of this format dates back to the late 1970s when the need for a standardized method of exchanging product data between various CAD systems became apparent. To address this challenge, the International Organization for Standardization formed a committee, ISO TC 184/SC 4, dedicated to developing a universal format.
After years of collaborative effort from experts and industry stakeholders, the first version of the STEP standard, known as AP203, was released in 1994. It aimed to enable the exchange of data for mechanical and electrical designs. Over time, additional versions of the STEP standard were introduced, such as AP214 for automotive design and AP242 for complete product lifecycle information. These versions expanded the capabilities of STEP, accommodating various industry requirements and advancements in technology.
Today, the STEP file format is widely adopted and recognized as a reliable means of exchanging 3D models and associated data between different CAD systems. It has streamlined collaboration, enhanced interoperability, and improved efficiency across industries like automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing.
A CAD file is an output of a CAD software, containing key information about the designed object: its geometry and topology representation, 3D model hierarchy, metadata, and visual attributes depending on the format of the file.Read more
In the eighth part of the series, we touch upon the neutral data exchange standard in Building Information ModelingRead more
This article explores the integration possibilities with the UNIGINE engine, a powerhouse in the realm of virtual simulation and game development. Learn how it can be used in applications built with the UNIGINE engine to import CAD and 3D models.Read more