CATIA V4: A Comprehensive Guide to File Formats and Data Conversion

CATIA V4 is a computer-aided design (CAD) system developed by Dassault Systèmes in 1993. Its main objective was to provide users with a powerful tool capable of helping them create complex 3D models for use in industries such as aerospace, automotive and manufacturing. Support for Catia V4 ended in 2011.

One of the essential characteristics of any CAD system is its ability to store and retrieve design data. CATIA V4 uses several file extensions to save different types of data. The most common are .model, .exp, .dlv3, .dlv4, and .session. The .model extension is used to store part, assembly, or drawing files, while the .exp and .dlv extensions are used for export purposes. Finally, the .session extension is used to store an assembly or overlay of different model files.

CATIA V4 supports various neutral formats that allow the software to work with other CAD systems. These formats include IGES, DXF, STEP and STL. However, transferring data between different CAD systems is not always easy, and problems can arise during the conversion process.

Dassault Systèmes provides utilities to convert CATIA V4 data files so that they can be accessed by newer versions such as CATIA V5 and V6. However, some users have reported issues with the conversion process. Differences in the geometric core between CATIA V4 and V5 or the modeling methods used by users may cause data loss during the conversion process. To minimize the loss percentage, it is essential to use proper cleanup before conversion, choose proper conversion options, and perform retouching (remastering) after conversion.

The Airbus A380 project is a famous example of how problems during the conversion process can lead to major project delays and additional costs. The migration from CATIA version 4 to version 5 caused construction issues that resulted in several million dollars in additional costs due to project delays.

In summary, Catia V4 is a CAD system developed by Dassault Systèmes on 1993. Catia V4 support has ended on 2011. Catia V4 supported native or neutral formats are IGES, DXF, STEP, STL.. Catia V4 file extensions are :
.model (Part, Assembly or Drawing)
.exp (export)
.dlv3 (export)
.dlv4 (export)
.session (assembly/overlay of different model files)

CAD Interop distributes several softwares to view, translate and validate Catia V4 files. Find below the list of our solutions compatible with Catia V4: