Interview with Oleg Zykov, C3D product director – ASCON and Nikolay Golovanov, head of C3D kernel development

Interview with Oleg Zykov, C3D product director – ASCON and Nikolay Golovanov, head of C3D kernel development

As a design engineer, we always have enthusiasm to know what runs behind our CAD, CAM, CAE tools. Most of us have heard the term “geometric kernel” but aren’t sure what it is or why it’s important. Most readers (CAD, CAE engineers) may be wondering what this means or how and why we would use it when modeling. Let’s find out!

Few days back I had an opportunity to explore more about the geometric kernel. It was great meeting Oleg Zykov, C3D product director ASCON and Nikolay Golovanov, head of C3D kernel development on their visit to India. Oleg & Nikolay are the right persons with the background and experience to help us with knowing more about the geometric kernel. Here is the interview.


What is a geometric kernel, and what role does it plays in a CAD system? 

In CAD software development, it has been a usual practice to use a common modulus for the geometry modeling part is called geometric kernel.  The geometric kernel is the heart of any CAD, CAM and CAE system; it provides the data structures, basic routines and high-level routines used in solid modeling. Using already developed geometric kernel is always preferred then developing a new one in-house.  Developing and maintaining a kernel is costly and time consuming work so several software developers use well developed kernel for developing various products.

The kernel is a geometry engine that takes instructions, processes them and delivers results in form of geometry, describing shapes; represent 2D, 3D models in the mathematical form. Kernels define geometry in different forms and keep track of the mathematical representations of the geometrical objects we draw or import. Some kernels understand analytic geometry, some understand polygonal representation, and some understand NURBS, and so on. Every kernel calculates geometric results differently and gives different end results so different kernels can have different representations for the same shape.

Tell us the brief history of C3D Labs and the CAD, CAE products that use C3D kernel?

The C3D kernel was developed by a team at ASCON led by Dr. Nikolay Golovanov. It was developed using C++ and written in Visual Studio. Development of the kernel started in 1995 for ASCON’s KOMPAS-3D software. Today, KOMPAS-3D have a user base of 65,000, which proves abilities of the C3D as a tool for building better products with high speed and efficiency.

Over the years, C3D is ongoing new improvements. It is being developed to make better products for direct modeling as well as history-based modeling. The C3D kernel is significant because it is the most full-featured modeler available. In addition to the 3D modeler, the engine includes 2D drawing and sketching, 3D surfaces and solid modeling, parametric constraints, and conversion to most major formats. C3D reads and writes in STEP, IGES, X_T (Parasolid), SAT (ACIS), STL, and VRML. C3D supports Windows 32-bit and 64-bit and Linux/Mac OS 64-bit.

C3D is the enabler of a new generation of design tools for smaller companies and have 15 customers in last two years. We are offering generous levels of support in addition to a free three-month evaluation period.


How C3D competes with the other geometric kernels available in the market, what makes it functionally different from the other commercial and open source kernels?

The market has very few kernels available, it is not competing that is important but serving a space between market leaders and open source kernels is our priority. There is an untapped market among those who have been using an open-source kernel (like Open CASCADE) and the other commercial kernels (Parasolid and ACIS) that are very expensive. The open source may not always answer all the requirements and comes with no support. So, C3D has emerged as the best choice for companies looking for reliable solution with simplicity of use and clarity of its algorithms. Using C3D developers can create a software product in minimum time and less cost.

C3D is around 20 years old now, and is a “mature” product. It is the only geometric kernel that incorporates all three crucial CAD modules: 3D modeling, 3D constraint solving, and 3D file conversions.

C3D Modeler - constructs geometric models, generates flat projections of models, performs triangulations, calculates the inertial characteristics of models, and determines whether collisions occur between the elements of models

C3D Solver - makes connections between the elements of geometric models, and considers the geometric constraints of models being edited

C3D Converter - reads and writes geometric models in a variety of standard exchange formats, such as STEP, IGES, ACIS, XT, STL, and VRML

Additionally, other advantages going with C3D includes; the development platform supports all OS, support C, C# programming languages. We offer excellent technical support through various channels to resolve queries of our customers.

Could you please describe the licensing policy for C3D?

We have a very flexible licensing model; it differs depending on the customer’s business model. We offer our clients various options based on license cost, the cost of technical support and royalty on sales of software developed on C3D. We treat each customer differently based on how he is utilizing C3D and what type of product is being developed by him. We look forward to work with innovative companies in CAx development space willing to develop exceptional products using our kernel. We are also offering special terms for start-ups and Universities.


Besides KOMPAS-3D, what are the CAD, CAE products that are developed using C3D?

C3D was initially developed for the internal use for ASCON’s  KOMPAS-3D software, with the success of KOMPAS-3D in Russia and the demand from international community we thought of offering C3D to software developers worldwide. We have around 15 customers for C3D and they have developed amazing products like

Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology developed ‘EasyBlister’ a Web-based CAD system for modeling blister packs in 3D used in pharmaceutical industry.

BAZIS System – software for designing the entire range of furniture.

Tehtran CAM is based on C3D.

К3-Furniture from GeoS Center

Geometry Comparison (LGC) from LEDAS

PASSAT from NTP Truboprovod

Quick CADCAM from Solar Tech, Korea

Also, after success of KOMPAS-3D in MCAD industry ASCON has developed an AEC CAD/BIM solution “Renga Architecture” based on C3D kernel.

How you see India as a market for C3D? 

India is today rated as one of the best countries for outsourcing of CAD, CAE, CAM & PLM software development not only for cost effectiveness but more importantly, for the high quality of work. Every CAD, CAE vendor worldwide have their R&D centers in India mostly in Pune. There are large numbers of highly qualified software developers working on CAD software development. Just heard that Pune city has around 5000+ developers working in CAD, CAM, CAE software development and that’s a huge number!

We see India in the long-term perspective, and we are convinced that we have very good products and systems for the Indian CAD developers. We feel that we are the perfect fit when it comes to teaming up with Indian companies. Finding users for C3D in India is also our strategy for the future. We are open to sharing our technology with customers; we feel there is a definite need for that in India. There are very good conditions for cooperation between the two countries. We see India as an important future market.

Today, we also had a meeting with Sandeep Jadhav CCTECH in Pune the company had shown interest in C3D kernel for developing web-based products. We are also keen for having partnerships with the reputed universities in India to promote C3D in academic projects.  C3D has made a long-term commitment to the Indian market.

Tell us about Skolkovo Innovation Centre Event in Delhi that C3D is participating?

There is a wide field of activities and space for joint projects where Russia and India can cooperate in the realm of innovation. Skolkovo event is a platform to have better cooperation in the sphere of innovation, communication channels, and the exchange of experience between our two countries.


15 Russian companies are here to participate in this event in New Delhi. We believe there’s huge potential for the creation of join Russian-Indian high-tech enterprises.

In June 2014, we have partnered ProtoTech Solutions, Pune, India and are happy for their cooperation for development and promotion of C3D kernel.

Which is the latest version of C3D and what are enhancements in it?

C3D Labs released latest version 16 of C3D on Jan 27, 2015. The new update of C3D Kernel offers 100+ new functions. V16 extends the capabilities of C3D for creating sophisticated geometric shapes, matures its 2D/3D design functions, and adds powerful features for constructing solids composed of sheet metal. The functionality, performance, and reliability of all three C3D modules – Modeler, Solver, and Converter – were significantly improved. It supports Mac OS X, extended support for Linux, and the addition of C# as one of the programming languages.

Dr. Nikolay Golovanov has recently written a book called“Geometric Modeling” that covers the principles of geometric modeling, such as methods for constructing curves, surfaces, and solids. It describes the algorithms and data structures needed to represent geometric objects. The book is intended for those who study, use, and develop geometric modeling tools.

The book is also available on Amazon

Thanks Nikolay for presenting me one copy of the “Geometric Modeling” book, if anyone from Pune interested in exploring this book can visit DailyCADCAM’s office.

I would like to thank Oleg Zykov and Dr. NikolayGolovanov for taking the time to answer my questions. If you have any questions for them or for DailyCADCAM, please leave a comment below or mail me on and we will be glad to answer.         


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