Interoperability characterizes the ability of CAD models to accurately represent objects in concurrent engineering environments. The diagnostic set of available software for interoperability testing is described. This set is utilized to develop a visual catalog of possible interoperability errors.

The value of utilizing interoperability testing software is appraised by way of a real-world case study. Numerous significant errors are identified in a suite of 140 parts. “Geometry errors” are shown to be more common than “topology errors”.

The case study suggests that sensitizing the designer to the nature of typical errors leads to improvement in initial model quality. Example errors are described to illustrate their nature and how to eliminate them. Informal guidelines to improve quality upon initial design are deduced. The development of errors due to inconsistent system accuracy settings during data exchange is explored.

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