Universal 3D (U3D) is a compressed file format standard for 3D computer graphics data.
The format was defined by a special consortium called 3D Industry Forum that brought together a diverse group of companies and organizations, including Intel, Boeing, HP, Adobe Systems, Bentley Systems, Right Hemisphere and others whose main focus had been the promotional development of 3D graphics for use in various industries, specifically at this time manufacturing as well as construction and industrial plant design. The format was later standardized by Ecma International in August 2005 as ECMA-363.
The goal is a universal standard for three-dimensional data of all kinds, to facilitate data exchange. The consortium promoted also the development of an open source library for facilitating the adoption of the format.
IGES (Initial Graphics Exchange Specification) was among first vendor-neutral CAD formats designed to enable interoperability between different CAD systems. The latest versions of IGES have been approved by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and published by US PRO (U.S. Product Data Association). The latest officially approved version of the IGES standard is version 5.3 which was published in 1996. Nonetheless, IGES remains a broadly used format (along with STEP) supported by all major CAD/CAM/CAE systems such as CATIA, Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks, Solid Edge, NX, Pro/Engineer, Creo and multiple others. IGES files usually have *.igs or *.iges file name extensions.
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