Due to the multiplicity of computer-aided engineering applications present in industry today, interoperability between programs has become increasingly important. A survey conducted among top engineering companies found that 82% of respondents reported using 3 or more CAD formats during the design process. A 1999 study by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) estimated that inadequate interoperability between the OEM and its suppliers cost the US automotive industry over $1 billion per year, with the majority spent fixing data after translations. The Neutral Parametric Canonical Form (NPCF) prototype standard developed by the NSF Center for e-Design, BYU Site offers a solution to the translation problem by storing feature data in a CAD-neutral format to offer higher-fidelity parametric transfer between CAD systems. This research has focused on expanding the definitions of the NPCF to enforce data integrity and to support associativity between features to preserved design intent through the neutralization process. The NPCF data structure schema was defined to support associativity while maintaining data integrity. Neutral definitions of new features was added including multiple types of coordinate systems, planes and axes. Previously defined neutral features were expanded to support new functionality and the software architecture was redefined to support new CAD systems. Complex models have successfully been created and exchanged by multiple people in real-time to validated the approach of preserving associativity and support for a new CAD system, PTC Creo, was added.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





interoperability, heterogeneous CAD, CAD Features, neutral format, design history, multi-user CAD, collaboration, collaborative CAD, Neutral Parametric Canonical Form, client-server architecture, associativity, design intent