Tips & Tricks: Analyzing Assemblies That Include Parts from Outside CAD Systems

Written By: Aaron Shaw
  • 2/19/2016

We all know what a pain it can be to work with incompatible file types and applications. When you need to bring parts into your assembly that were designed using a different CAD system, you don’t want to lose important data, and you especially don’t want to deal with files that won’t load into your assembly at all.


But with PTC Creo 3.0, there’s good news. Not only can you successfully load parts into your PTC Creo assembly that were not designed using the same application, you can also use PTC Creo Simulate to run the following analyses:

  • Structural analysis
  • Linear steady state thermal analysis
  • Material libraries
  • Meshing
  • Optimization
  • Post processing

Best of all, PTC Creo doesn’t create a new or intermediate file for each non-native file that you bring into your assembly. Try these examples out:

Apply a Material Definition to Non-Native Parts in an Assembly

Suppose you previously set the material definition for your model, but then added parts that were designed in another CAD system. No problem. To apply the material definition to your entire assembly, including non-native parts, follow these steps.

  1. With your assembly open, click Applications > Simulate.
  2. In the Model Tree, expand Material Assignments, right-click the existing material definition, and then click Edit Definition.
  3. Press CTRL, and then click the parts that were loaded into PTC Creo from other CAD systems.
  4. In the Material Assignments dialog box, click OK.

Image: The Model Tree specifies which parts are not native to PTC Creo. For example, HALTER CATPART was designed using CATIA.

Analyze an Assembly That Includes Non-Native Parts

Suppose your assembly has defined constraints, loads, and material properties, you can perform an analysis on the entire assembly—even if it includes non-native parts. To perform the analysis, follow these steps:

  1. With your assembly open, click Applications > Simulate.
  2. Click Home > Analyses and Studies.
  3. Review the results of the analysis. To do this, on the Analysis and Design Studies dialog, click the button to review the results of the design study or finite element analysis.
  4. Set up your analysis definition on the Result Window Definition.
  5. Click OK and Show. The analysis runs on the entire assembly, including parts that were not designed using PTC Creo.

Image: The analysis is applied to all of the assembly’s parts, including those that were designed outside of PTC Creo.

You can see a demonstration of these steps in the video below:

See more videos like the one above by visiting PTC University Learning Exchange. Note that you may need to create a PTC University Learning Exchange account if you don’t already have one. The good news is that it’s free and after creating your new login, you’ll find hundreds and hundreds more in-depth demonstrations and tutorials for PTC products.

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About the Author

Aaron Shaw

Aaron Shaw joined PTC in 2013, currently he is the Senior Manager, CAD Demand Generation. He is responsible for the CAD marketing strategy and execution worldwide. He enjoys playing golf, eating spicy foods, reading, traveling, and rooting for all Boston teams. Aaron is a graduate of Penn State, you can follow him on Twitter @AaronEShaw.