Leading Russian CAC/AEC/PLM vendor and developer of KOMPAS-3D modeling software ASCON had joined forces with engineering software development service provider LEDAS to bring about innovative geometry search technology.
The motivation behind this technology is to create a user-friendly tool for reusing existing geometry in the design process. LEDAS was invited by ASCON to team up with it on the scheme, a move which continues the strand of technological cooperation between the two companies. LEDAS previously adapted Variational Direct Modeling technology to ASCON's KOMPAS-3D software.
Head of ASCON's AEC division Vladimir Zaharov said: "ASCON is a well-recognised name in the MCAD and AEC markets, both of which are targeted by our products. Our new geometry search technology is addressed primarily at AEC, because it is characterized by more regular geometrical forms and bigger data volumes than MCAD."
Searching for 2D and 3D Geometry
Technically, geometry search is done at several levels. At the simple level, it searches for text labels in geometry, while at the advanced level it analyses the actual elements of geometry. Text search had already been implemented by ASCON, while geometry search is now being developed in partnership with LEDAS. The geometry search project began in July and by October the first working prototype was ready.
Lead Analyst on the ASCON geometry search team Dmitry Poskrebyshev explained: "A user need draw a conceptual sketch of only a few lines of a construction joint, and system will return results that contain such types of joints. Of course, this is not the only use case to benefit from our search function."
ASCON and LEDAS consider their geometry search engine as the base for technology that could be used in a number of other contexts - just as web search is used in a variety of ways today. The companies feel that their technology has the potential to grow a completely new generation of PDM/PLM software.
Alexey Ershov, CEO of LEDAS, commented: "Geometry search is in my opinion one of the biggest challenges in engineering software today. It is one of those rare things that is so innovative that I feel amazed to be working on it. Indeed, 2D geometry search is just a first step, with 3D search the really big next thing for our industry."
Facing this tremendous technological challenge, LEDAS together with ASCON is keeping in mind that they need to shape the technology for the needs of actual product use cases.
How Geometry Search Works
Tech lead of the LEDAS team Vladimir Sidorov explained: "The technology behind geometric search is a mixture of general-purpose methods and special routines that take advantage of design standards like GOST and ISO."
The search process is separated into two parts: firstly, the skeleton of the geometry is recognised for each part and is then stored in a special internal format optimized for search. Secondly, the skeleton of a user's sketch is compared in an efficient manner with the collection of previously recognised skeletons.
The most complicated part is the first one. It is recognition technology that uses artificial intelligence. LEDAS was originally created as a spin-off of an artificial intelligence lab, and so it makes sense for the firm to be involved in this advanced project.