TASverter-r2013-06-30: Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't I get TASverter to run at all?

One of the folders or directories on the path to TASverter probably contains a space or other special character in its name. This is a common problem on Windows if you have installed in the "Program Files" or somewhere under the "Documents and Settings" folders.

Reinstall somewhere else, e.g. C:\TASverter and try again.

If the TASverterGUI can't find TASverter, please set the TASverterGUI Preferences to use the absolute path to TASverter.

Can I import a STEP file from my CAD system?

No, you will not be able to import a CAD STEP file into TASverter.

The word "STEP" is used informally to refer to a range of data exchange protocols that encompass a wide variety of different application domains. CAD systems typically use one of two particular application protocols, AP203 and AP214. STEP-TAS is a completely different application protocol, written specifically for Thermal Analysis for Space. STEP-TAS uses some of the same lower-level building blocks that the AP203 and AP214 protocols use, such as the Part21 text encoding. However, the actual meaning of the content within that format is determined by the protocol that was used to write the file. The STEP file produced by a CAD system is a Part21 file that can only be imported into a system that understands the AP203 or AP214 protocol. The STEP-TAS file produced by TASverter is a Part21 file that can only be imported into a system that understands the STEP-TAS protocol.

Why can't I read my old STEP-TAS file?

The simple answer is that the overall architecture of TASverter does not lend itself to supporting more than one version of the STEP-TAS protocol at a time, making it difficult to import a file using one version of the protocol and convert it to another.

This is an area that needs to be addressed, especially since the implementation of STEP-TAS v6 in ESATAN-TMS r5 and THERMICA v4 gives a clear fixed point on which to build for the future.

Can I use the STEP-TAS files to exchange models?

Yes, you can, but as there is currently no means of converting a STEP-TAS file from one version to another, the recipient must also have a tool which is able to read the same version.

For STEP-TAS v5, this means: TASverter-r2007-03-19

For STEP-TAS v6, this means: TASverter-r2013-06-30, ESATAN-TMS r5, THERMICA v4, and one or two others

Can I use the STEP-TAS files for long term archive?

This is the ultimate goal of the STEP-TAS development.

In the short term, however, and certainly until the protocol has been proved to be mature and can be frozen, users should not rely on STEP-TAS as the sole means of long term archive.

Can I convert my STEP-TAS files if the protocol changes again?

As mentioned above, STEP-TAS files written using the old prototype interfaces and early versions of the STEP-TAS protocol are no longer supported.

The TASverter development team will need to address the issue of upgrading STEP-TAS files as a matter of some urgency.

Does TASverter handle cutting operations?

The short answer? Yes.

STEP-TAS v6 can represent cutting operations, so TASverter is now able to handle cutting operations in the internal STEP-TAS data representation of an input model.

And the long answer? See the next item.

What happened to the cutting operations in my geometry?

If your input geometry contains cutting operations, TASverter is now able to represent these operations in the internal STEP-TAS representation of an input model. However, TASverter only "records" the cutting operations, it does not "evaluate" or "convert" the cutting operations. What happens when this internal representation is output depends on the target tool format.

If the target tool is able to handle cutting operations, then the internal representation will appear as cutting operations in the output.

If the target tool does not handle cutting operations TASverter outputs the cutting operation with the geometry primitive being cut as a normal primitive, but how the cutting primitive is output depends on the tool.

For example, converting an ESARAD geometry containing a cutting operation to THERMICA will produce the cutting primitive in a comment, whereas converting to a PATRAN ses file will produce a normal geometrical shape for the cutting primitive.

If you were expecting "holes" when you visualise the THERMICA SYSBAS file output by TASverter and these don't appear, then you should check for a comment containing the cutting primitive. Similarly, if the PATRAN ses file output by TASverter contains some additional shapes, you should verify whether these correspond to the cutting primitive. In both cases, TASverter has provided as much information about the cutting primitive as possible and it is now up to you to work out how to achieve the equivalent geometry without using a cutting operation.