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I am a recently graduate mechanical engineer, beginning my career in the automotive industry. I am going to take a course on CAD/CAE software but I am not sure whether to learn Pro/ENGINEER or CATIA.

How do they perform in modelling, assemblies, analysis, ...?
What are the differences between them, if there are any?
Which is best suited for automotive engineering?

Thanks to all.


My condition is eaxctly same as u, i am also just graduate and join automobils industries.
Currently i got no choice but leanring catia, old version >>4.12, i am a pro-user before this, i still think proe is superb in solid modelling and best in design.

The old catia i use had shown great flexibility in surface modeling.surface modelling skill is vital in product design.I think it is not hard to master both software in the same time. al the best.

email me ccblade77@yahoo.com if u like to share experience with me.



I am a CAD/CAE expert with 15 years experience. I have seen and used many CAD products. Both packages have advantages.
I prefer Pro/E. In each respect, Pro/E is the more flexible system. I would suggest you mention the work you want to accomplish using the tool. This would make it easier to recommend a package.


Thanks for providing a concise, grammatically correct, and spelling error-free response to edelsoz's question.  Reading this thread I began to wonder what the perception is for this group from an outsider or beginner, and whether there are 'experts' posting here at all.

Honestly, I'm not trying to criticize spelling or grammar - but from a 'big picture' standpoint, this group would come across as a much more reliable source of information if some attention were paid to these things...not to mention the fact that knowledge and fact can become skewed when interpreted through grammatical mistakes.

I have about 14 years of CAD experience, ranging from CadApple in the late 80's through CadKey, MicroStation, AutoCAD, Pro/Engineer, and CATIA - not to mention messing around with Mechanical Desktop, UniGraphics, Think3, SolidWorks and other small enterprise CAD packages.  Although I am not an expert in any of these packages, I am most fluent in Pro/Engineer and CATIA and feel that I can provide a good answer to your question backed by some level of experience.

Both Pro/Engineer and CATIA are excellent mid-range CAD packages, scalable to full-blown CAD/CAM integrated environments for large companies.  Both offer reasonably-priced base packages, but will usually cost a significant amount of money to upgrade the system to 'full' functionality - which makes them very attractive to growing companies as well as consulting engineers.  On another note, while touting the functionality of their respective CAD capabilities, you have to consider the trend toward interoperability not only between differing CAD platforms, but with manufacturing software, CMM software, etc as well.  Neither Pro/Engineer nor CATIA offer much of this in their base packages.

Bottom line is that you should continue researching this subject on the 'net and other places - if I needed to choose between Pro/Engineer and CATIA...I would choose Pro/Engineer hands down.  If my decision criteria were centered around recent interoperability trends, I might choose something like SolidWorks (which has a direct information exchange with other ParaSolid CAD platforms, such as UniGraphics, without using neutral file formats to exchange information and sacrificing accuracy).  In any case, whether you get formal training in Pro/Engineer, CATIA, or any other 3D modeling software, the underlying basics of incorporating design intent, 3D spatial thought processes, and good design practices will carry over to ANY CAD software you use in your career.

A bit long-winded, but I hope it helps.




Did you think of the fact that English is not some peoples fist language??  Get off your hihg horse and just give people the facts.




Did you think of the fact that English is not some peoples fist language??  Get off your high horse and just give people the facts.



My apologies in advance if my "USA-centric" response is not relevant for Edelsoz, but as I only know the US auto industry, that is the standpoint from which I will comment.

Just as helpmewithintralink says, the answer really depends on what you're trying to get out of this.


COMPANY    CAD          CAE pre-processor
DCX       CATIA         HyperMesh
FORD      IDEAS         IDEAS /some HyperMesh
GM        Unigraphics   HyperMesh

(Note--I'm not 100% sure on Daimler-Chrysler)
The "Big Three" do not really have an integrated CAD/CAE approach.  Most of the "Tier One" suppliers do not either--they use a multitude of tools at different stages. While Pro/E is a good "swiss army knife", these guys can afford to buy the best focused individual tools for each stage.

The "fully-integrated" CAD/CAM/CAE packages in automotive are generally only utilized by small shops.  If you are trying to gain a general understanding of the process, either one of these probably works; if on the other hand you are hoping to gain software-specific skills to use in the future, maybe neither will work well.

I have no specific recommendation, just an FYI.

My background--12 years in automotive, 9 of those in CAE field. I guess that makes me an "expert" :)


I'm probably beating a dead horse here (not the high horse I seem to be on), but if some of these postings which are nearing incomprehension due to lack of knowledge of the English language are indicative of the technical writing capabilites of the person who posted them, then they are going to have a hard time getting or keeping any type of job which requires them to interact with other people.

I have worked with many other people from other countries who have brilliant, analytical minds, but have the language barrier as their primary downfall, and have seen and experienced this first-hand.

Imagine, if you will, you are a project manager for a Tier 1 automotive parts supplier, and are negotiating with Tier 2 suppliers to make parts for a 5-year, 500,000 parts/yr deal worth millions of dollars.  You request some technical information or test data from a potential Tier 2 supplier and you get some data attached to a letter from an engineer who has problems with forming proper sentences.  What do you do?  Try to learn his/her language?  Not likely, because there are deadlines.  In the meantime, a different Tier 2 supplier engineer sends a perfectly clear, concise set of data and a legible explanation of the variables and test procedures.  Guess who gets the deal?

This isn't some racially-biased viewpoint - it's reality.  If you are an aspiring engineer, and you have problems with the English language, you should put some energy into improving that very basic capability.  Otherwise, it has the potential to hurt your career.



Hi again,

Catia V5 is going to be coming out with the "production version" in September. This software, as my boss says, "sucks"(Catia). He has many,many years in catia and is now a Pro/E FAN! The whole Catia V5, we think, is being re-written to bring it up to the Pro/E level of functionality (Solids based modeller). Catia has plenty of bugs and the newest version will be rather beta. I would not trust Catia until the V5 accepts V4 data, ( oh, that is another issue altogether ).

A little story.... the CEO of Catia was escorted out of "A Big 3" office by security when V5 was found not to accept V4 data.   

I would strongly suggest learning Pro/E. It is a great tool.

Good Luck


I can sympathize...

I work for a Tier 1/Tier 2 automotive parts supplier.  We have Pro/E as our main design tool, but maintain a seat of UniGraphics, and a seat of CATIA to enable us to exchange data directly with DC and GM when necessary.

I am currently running a beta test on CATIA V5R5 on my machine to test functionality, and although the interface is a grand improvement (will run under Windows, finally), it can't even do something as simple as open V4 data reliably.  What were they thinking?  Word is that the 'Big 3' company you speak of will never switch to V5 (whether they will mandate that CATIA make a drastic change or switch to another CAD system is still sketchy)!

I do know that VW runs Pro/E (just announced official upgrade to 2000i2), and other industry companies are finding Pro/E to be a better choice as well.

It's a big technological soap opera.  CAD collaboration is in the financially feasible future for all of us, and I will personally be happy when it is - I despise IGES, STEP, CATIA facets, etc files...they clutter up hard drives and make it almost impossible to control data.



So, what are the programming interfaces for
What are the potentials for 3D parametric component data banks?


Hi Tigrek,
Pro/E: Pro/Program, Pro/Toolkit, Perl.
Catia: ???/

Pro/I ( Pro/INTRALINK ) is the PDM for Pro/E.
It seems to do a decent job.

The Delmia Product for PDM is even less robust.


To respond to V's comment about how much work there is for CATIA ("Simple fact is there is more work out there for CATIA and that is all that matters.")...

Seems a bit short-sighted.  Sure, there may be a lot of work out there for CATIA, but there is also still a lot of work out there for 2D AutoCAD, too - only because there are a bunch of companies that are too busy looking at the bottom line, trying to squeeze every little bit of return on CAD investment they possibly can, while falling behind in the industry.  I know quite a few AutoCAD drafters and those jobs are traditionally very limited in their upward mobility.  I'm not a qualified psychic, but with CATIA's current direction, I see the product being a 'white elephant' that companies keep using for years to come primarily to justify the $$ they originally paid.

Look, if you want to be involved in the industry and where it is ultimately heading, you should seriously look into the alternate direction that CATIA has chosen, and consider alternatives.



To second recnep's comments, V's statement of "simple fact there is more work . . ." may be short-sighted. In addition the statement itself isn't necessarily even accurate in general.

This website has many people from many countries, and in many industries and fields.  One should be cautious in making blanket statements, especially when recommending software. In some cases, particular software packages are incredibly dominant in some geographic or industrial areas, while being nonexistant in others. Case in point--Pro/E has been phased out of all of the US Big 3; however I wouldn't say that this is the death-knell of the code, as it is a major player in many other sectors. For somebody who is trying to land a N/A automotive job, Pro/E is not a good code to learn right now. However, it may be the best choice for other people in other situations.

I am not endorsing either code. No recommendation are coming out of this from me; just a caveat for any readers to take this into account when reading others' recommendations.



"One should be cautious in making blanket statements, especially when recommending software. In some cases, particular software packages are incredibly dominant in some geographic or industrial areas, while being nonexistant in others. Case in point--Pro/E has been phased out of all of the US Big 3".

Did you know that the BIG 3 each have a "sector" of Pro/E software. I mean, I work at a company with 5 flavours of CAD. When you are talking the big boys....they got it all.
I think these bug 3 even have some seats of ironcad


Touche!  You got me.   :)

I got caught breaking my own rule, in a sense. My apologies.

I hope it was clear that I was actually agreeing with you. Unfortunately, my only relevant example happened to (at surface value) appear to contrast with your statements.

I actually worked FOR one of the Big 3 (GM), now I routinely work WITH all of the Big 3.  Though you are likely correct in your statement of Pro/E at the Big 3 (I will concede the point), I think you would agree that if one were to desire a Big 3 job, this would not be the software of choice (as there are other, more dominant codes).

I want to be clear that I am not advocating for or against the code, I just wanted to keep people aware that a truism for one person is not necessarily the same as for another in this big world of ours.



I will prefer Pro/E over Catia, although both have pro and cons.
* Both are full of bugs.
* Both are costly.
* Both are good for complex modelling although Pro/E is much stronger.
* Pro/E is better for large assembly handling.
* Pro/E is very flexible compared to Catia in fact Best.
* Catia is faster that Pro/E.
* Feature wise Pro/E is more rich than any  CAD software.
* People say that for machining and surface modeling Catia is strong however for solid modelling and complex assemblies Pro/E has no answer.

N P Singh


I would agree with your last statement. Given the choice to embark on a project, I would choose PRO/E everytime!

I too work for the big 3 plus the small 10. We basically have a seat of all the heavy hitters ( CAD packages ).
Well, except solidworks and ironcad.

Edelsoz, do you have your answer?????

Which will you pick??????


I think I will choose Pro/E due to the following:

- I am going to do mechanical and not product design, so I prefer modelling and assembly capabilities over surface modelling. Besides, I appreciate its greater flexibility too.

- Here in Europe (Spain) Pro/E is more widely used by all kind of engineering companies.

- I made a course on basics of CAD/CAE last year using Pro/E 2000i so I am familiar with its interface.

- Finally, as Recneps said, I suppose it won't be difficult to migrate to a different system once I have a good knowledge of Pro/E.

Thanks to all for your answers,



Wow - that was quite a message thread for this group.

Keep up the posting...it's good stuff!



The right stuff at the moment and for the future is Catia.  (not only automotive,...
shipbuilding,....aerospace, ... consumer goods... even medical)
The problem with pro-e is that it's going to end very soon.  
I-DEAS ?! where are they ?   Autocad inventor : a laugh !  solidworks : who bought
solidworks (Dassault systems = Catia),  OK UG is still very strong.
But it's all a question of time.... Every year there going to be less players.
Look at all the companies who are changing from death computervision to
other cad and it's not PRO_E !
Don't stare blind at the CATIAV4_V5 problem (will be solved in no time, see BMW in
Germany !!!!!!)
A very happy Catia user in a multicad automotive enviroment !


I've used I-DEAS, Pro/E, and Mechanical Desktop.  The best I've used is I-DEAS, since it is the most straightforward and flexible (of course for some people these are mutually exclusive).  Mechanical Desktop is just a pain in the neck, and Pro/E is somewhere in between.

Ford and Nissan use I-DEAS as does Toyota (I think).
Harley-Davidson uses Pro/E (I think it's the only vehicle manufacturer that uses Pro/E).
Caterpillar used to use Pro/E until the lawsuit - I don't know what they use now.

Among high-tech companies:  Raytheon uses both Pro/E and some I-DEAS (and speaking from experience, even where they send out the final product as having been designed in Pro/E - the major part of the actual designing (as opposed to modeling) was done in I-DEAS).  Boeing uses Unigraphics and I-DEAS.  Lockheed-Martin uses I-DEAS, Catia, Unigraphics, and an internal software.  Hewlett-Packard uses their own software.  TRW uses I-DEAS and Pro/E.  Kodak uses anything you like to use (since there are translators available for just about everything).

My advice would be to learn Pro/E, I-DEAS, and Catia - you will have many options ahead of you.  (The only problem with learning I-DEAS, however, is that you will see many more flaws in all the other CAD software that might frustrate you).


In response to the above posting, IDEAS is now owned by Unigraphics and like other packages the software will be assimilated into Unigraphics or it will stagnate. IDEAS is a good package but one has to wonder about it's future. Ford will have issues with development of their base CAD software being driven by General Motors grip on Unigraphics.
Pro/E was the software of choice per the Ford benchmark but the deal fell through when PTC refused to hand over their source code. My consulting firm handles most of the major software packages in the Detroit area, we use the best tool based on the job at hand. There are good and bad points to all CAD packages some are more robust than others. To pinpoint large corperations with one software is a mistake. Ford, GM, Chrysler, all use a hodge podge of CAD software. They may have a base system but they do not exclued other software. I can't tell you how many body pannels have been designed in other softwares such as CDRS, Alias, ect..
Your choice of CAD system to align yourself with should be based on what type of work your going into and the task at hand. Learning more than one package is a great idea for employment security, since some packages have a stronger grip on certain industries.  When one market surges you can ride that wave instead of waiting for your first pick to make a comeback. Don't limit yourself, learn as many as you can and boost your salery.  A good Engineer can adapt.  


to pkbruin
Boeing is one of the biggest Catia user

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