CADFind For AutoCAD Released

17th November 2005

AST Launch CADFind for AutoCAD and DWG Editor

The first commercial design retrieval system in the world that can find both 2D engineering drawings and 3D Models from a sketch drawn in the user’s CAD system.

It has been estimated that savings of $millions can be made from design re-use. Now, with the new 2D and 3D integrated versions of CADfind, companies can easily leverage their past investment in product development across their complete engineering database.

Versions of CADFind are now available that are tightly integrated with AutoCAD, DWGEditor and SolidWorks. This means a designer can draw or model the part they want within their own CAD system and then search for matching parts at the click of a button. This is first system in the world that search an engineering database of 2D drawings and 3D models directly from the user’s CAD system.

Current retrieval systems, like those used by Product Data Management systems, work by using text descriptions. These work well for standard parts but poorly when naming conventions are ambiguous or inadequate. A search for a ‘bracket’ may return thousands of parts. CADFind works the way designers do – graphically – the user sketches what they want and CADFind locates it. Once a part is found its 2D drawing or 3D model can be loaded back into the CAD system for viewing or modification (see picture opposite).

Parts are added to the CADFind drawing/model database using an automated Group Technology (GT) coding system. Manual based GT coding is a proven (if labour intensive) technology but AST and the Aston University research team from Birmingham, UK, are the first to produce a practical way of automating the process. Manual coding rates rarely exceeded 100 parts per day - it would take a skilled engineer well over a year to code a modest database of 30,000 parts. With CADFind one click coding, no skill is required and a part can be added to its database in a few seconds, saving time and money.

Applied Search Technology Ltd was formed in 2004 by Doug Love, Jeff Barton and Neville Holmes as a ‘start-up’ through Aston University’s Business Partnership Unit. It is currently based in Aston Science Park on the University campus in Birmingham, UK. CADFind is the result of many years of research into part retrieval and classification and the system has been tested on genuine engineering databases of over 20,000 drawings. It has also been trialled by local manufacturing firm, Frank Allart Limited.

A workable demonstration programme of CADFind can be requested by email: Email Contact

For more information and video demonstrations please visit

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