Designing and engineering a new part is costly. Doing so impacts downstream activities such as purchasing, sourcing, and inventory management. Errors and redundant work are often due to the inability to access the latest version of a CAD model.

These CAD models are self-contained databases that need to be easily accessible. There are hundreds of attribute tags and values (metadata) such as model name, author, and title. Yet finding CAD models based on this data can be impossible.

How can an engineer find a part that has already been designed and developed? How does a shop-floor worker retrieve the latest version that specifies certain tooling? Or how can a purchasing agent understand the impact of replacing a part on other products? And even if the CAD model is found, how can it be viewed without licensed viewers or tools?

In short, finding and using CAD models based on their data has been challenging. Sure, file folder structures can help. But it’s hardly the solution.

Traditionally, product data, PLM systems, and content management systems like SharePoint, can assist. They allow users to assign high-level attributes to the models. But the reality is, employees still struggle to find information.

CAD model data is constantly buried. It’s buried in systems that were used 20 years ago, but have since been replaced. It’s buried in different formats, and across all different systems. And it exists as all dozens – or even hundreds – of different versions.

With so many versions, how can someone ever trust which is the source of truth?

What manufacturers need is a solution that allows employees to find the right CAD model. Anytime, anywhere. The main use cases for CAD model search are:


  • Reusing previous designs to support new use cases and streamline existing workflows.
  • Accessing to the latest versions that have been created over time.
  • Understanding “where-used” and “composed-of” relationships.


To address the growing complexity of CAD model data, the vdR Group (vdR) and Sinequa have joined forces. The goal? Improve decision-making for manufacturing workers. vdR’s solution, CADnection, is a plug-and-play utility that can access CAD model data from over 50 different formats. The data is extracted, enhanced, and then passed to the Sinequa.

Visual representations of the CAD model are produced to support 2D and 3D viewing. CADnection’s CAD model authentication process ensures the most current version is used. Additionally, it helps users understand the “where-used” and “composed-of” relationships. This is critical to managing change, dedicating resources, and achieving delivery commitments.

With Sinequa’s Intelligent Search Platform, employees access critical content wherever it lives. Sinequa’s powerful platform unifies structured and unstructured data from across the organization.

The result? Measurable improvements in efficiency. Employee productivity is elevated, quality improved, and duplicate work minimized.

This central access to information is critical to a manufacturer’s success.

Organizations now have an opportunity to unlock the value of CAD model data to drive measurable results. Operational efficiency. Accelerated time-to-market. Reduce the cost of quality. Improved margins.

All results which impact the financial bottom line. But don’t take our word for it. Sinequa is trusted by leading manufacturers including NASA, Alstom, and Siemens. And now the power of CADnection provides customers even more value.

Learn more about this partnership or get in touch today.