OnScale enables Parasolid and SOLIDWORKS import with CAD Exchanger

CAD Exchanger
3 min readDec 7, 2020


About OnScale

OnScale delivers CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering) tools in the cloud for scientists and engineers. Its proprietary Multiphysics solvers have been validated and developed specifically to make use of massive parallelism provided by cloud computing, enabling very large parametric simulation sweeps and machine learning dataset generation for all engineers.

Rich user interaction is provided through OnScale Solve, a cloud-based multiphysics simulation platform used to create digital prototypes giving a realistic and complete picture of their physical behavior.

OnScale enables the import and conversion of CAD models, creation of simulation studies, high-performance solver computation, and analysis of results. It is applied in the fields of structural mechanics, thermal and electric physics, heat transfer, and fluid flow.

Developing a CAD-to-CAE Solution

The significance of multiphysics simulation in today’s engineering cannot be overemphasized. Realistic models help to avoid expensive physical prototyping, reduce development costs and time to market, and analyze complex high-tech devices and phenomena.

To let all this magic happen, it’s necessary to import various CAD formats into the CAE environment. As cloud-based software, it is important that the OnScale Solve platform integrates seamlessly with cloud-based CAD systems like Onshape that use formats like Parasolid (.xt and .xb) to transfer CAD data. Compatibility with Parasolid as well as other CAD formats from third-party CAD tools such as SOLIDWORKS (.sldprt, .sldasm) is a key component of OnScale Solve.

Enabling Robust CAD Import

In seeking the best solution, OnScale narrowed down the shortlist to two options, with CAD Exchanger being one of them. Developers performed a comparative experiment, letting both SDKs import 100 different SOLIDWORKS and Parasolid CAD models into the OnScale software. CAD Exchanger turned out to be faster, with an average improvement of 77%. Moreover, the resulting B-Rep models were successfully tessellated with a downstream mesh generator.

As a result, today OnScale uses CAD Exchanger SDK as part of its workflow. CAD Exchanger reads Parasolid and SOLIDWORKS files that users upload and transfers them into the cloud-based simulation preprocessing engine.

After the conversion is handled by the CAD Exchanger library, complete model geometry is accessible for further operations: B-Rep simplification, FEA meshes generation, large parametric sweep simulations (mechanics, thermal, CFD), and results rendering in a web browser.

Faster, Higher, Stronger

According to Scott McClennan, Director of Solver Technology in OnScale, CAD Exchanger excels in conversion speed and reliability, keeping pace with new formats versions, and smooth interoperability.

  • Efficient and robust conversion of SOLIDWORKS and Parasolid CAD files into OnScale software
  • Regular library updates to support the latest versions of SOLIDWORKS and Parasolid formats
  • Direct interface to transfer files into the OnScale CAD kernel
  • Simple integration with the OnScale software
  • Easy addition of the new formats



CAD Exchanger

CAD Exchanger is a technology that enables data exchange in the multi-CAD world.