IGES, short for Initial Graphics Exchange Specification, is a file format specifically designed to exchange geometry between different CAD systems. The standard is developed and maintained by the IGES/PDES organization, which is accredited by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute). The first version of IGES was adopted as the ANS Y14.26M-1981 national standard in the United States. Later versions, including versions 3, 4, and the latest version 5.2, have also been approved by ANSI.
Files using the IGES format have the extension .igs. IGES supports both 2D and 3D geometry, but STEP has replaced IGES as the standard for CAD interoperability, particularly for the exchange of solid structures, PMI (product manufacturing information), and assemblies.
The IGES file format was developed in the 1970s to solve the problem of exchanging geometry between different CAD systems that used different proprietary file formats. At the time, there were many CAD systems on the market, and each had its own file format. This made it difficult to transfer files between different systems, which hindered collaboration and increased the cost of using multiple CAD systems.
IGES was developed to solve this problem by providing a neutral file format that could be used to exchange geometry between different CAD systems. This allowed designers and engineers to collaborate more easily and reduced the cost of using multiple CAD systems.
One of the main advantages of IGES is its broad support. Most CAD systems can import and export IGES files, which means that designers and engineers can use the file format to exchange geometry between different systems, even if they use different CAD software.
Another advantage of IGES is its ability to support both 2D and 3D geometry. This makes it a versatile file format that can be used for a wide range of conversion tasks.
Despite these advantages, IGES has some limitations that have led to its replacement by other interoperability formats. One of the main limitations is its inability to accurately represent solids and assemblies. This can result in data loss and inaccuracies when exchanging files between different CAD systems.
STEP, which stands for Standard for the Exchange of Product model data, is a newer file format that has replaced IGES as the standard for CAD interoperability, particularly for the exchange of complex solid structures, PMI, and assemblies. STEP is a more advanced file format that can accurately represent complex solid structures and assemblies better than IGES.
In summary, the extension for IGES files is .igs. IGES supports both 2D and 3D geometry, but STEP has replaced IGES as the standard for CAD interoperability, particularly for the exchange of solid structures, PMI, and assemblies.
CAD Interop distributes several software solutions for visualizing, converting, and comparing IGES files. Below is a list of our solutions compatible with the IGES format: