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Open Cascade Technology

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Open Cascade Technology
Developer(s)Open Cascade S.A.S.U.
Initial release1999; 25 years ago (1999)
Stable release
7.8.1[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 1 April 2024; 2 months ago (1 April 2024)
Written inC++
Operating systemLinux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, Windows, Android, iOS and WebAssembly
LicenseLGPL-2.1-only[2] with exception[3]

Open Cascade Technology (OCCT), formerly called CAS.CADE, is an open-source software development platform for 3D CAD, CAM, CAE, etc. that is developed and supported by Open Cascade SAS company.

OCCT is a full-scale B-Rep (Boundary representation) modeling toolkit. OCCT is available under the LGPL-2.1-only license, which permits its usage in open source and proprietary applications.


CAS.CADE (abbreviated from Computer Aided Software for Computer Aided Design and Engineering) was originally developed in the early 1990s by Matra Datavision, developer of Euclid CAD software as the underlying infrastructure for its future version Euclid Quantum. In 1998 the company abandoned software development to concentrate on services, and most of the software development facilities were sold[4] to Dassault Systèmes, developer of competing CATIA.

Product name Release date Latest Update Version Latest Update Date Highlights
Open CASCADE Technology 7.6 2021-11-03 7.6.2 2022-04-29
  • Added progress indication / abortion to Boolean operations and offset algorithm.
  • Added support of kinematics entities to STEP reader.
  • Introduced interface for partial OCAF document reading.
Open CASCADE Technology 7.5 2020-11-05 7.5.3 2021-08-06
  • Real-time Physically based rendering (PBR) renderer using Metallic-Roughness material model.
  • WebAssembly target platform support (including WebGL viewer).
  • UNICODE support in STEP reader/writer.
Open CASCADE Technology 7.4 2019-10-01
  • Improved BRepMesh performance, robustness and accuracy.
  • Improved robustness and stability of Boolean operations and Extrema.
  • Improved performance of built-in parallelization tools (OSD_Parallel).
  • Added glTF 2.0 and OBJ readers.
  • Added AIS_ViewController mapping user input to 3D viewer camera manipulations.
  • Added support of 3/4 and box clipping configurations to 3D viewer.
  • Added fast HLR-alike OpenGL rendering mode.
  • Removed legacy Local Context functionality from AIS and legacy Boolean operations.
Open CASCADE Technology 7.3 2018-05-29
  • Added algorithm constructing OBB (oriented bounding box).
  • Optimized surface intersection, shape offset and Boolean operation algorithms.
  • Added distance and size culling rendering features.
  • Added support of UNICODE filenames with MinGW-w64.
Open CASCADE Technology 7.2 2017-08-31
  • Added support of OCAF binary files larger than 2 GiB.
  • Added "Glue"[5] option to Boolean algorithms.
  • Added support of annotations, saved views and clipping planes to STEP and XDE.
  • Added Weighted OIT (Order-independent transparency) rendering feature.
  • Path Tracing engine improvements.
Open CASCADE Technology 7.1 2016-11-25
  • OCAF persistence without dynamically loaded plugins.
  • Improved STEP AP242 support, including PMI, dimensions and annotations.
  • Improved rendering performance of Wireframe AIS_Shape presentation.
  • Added AIS_Manipulator for interactive object transformations in 3D viewer.
  • TKOpenGl now uses GLSL programs by default.
Open CASCADE Technology 7.0 2016-04-05
  • WOK (Workshop Organization Kit) has been replaced by CMake building scripts.
  • CDL files have been replaced by pre-generated C++ headers.
Open CASCADE Technology 6.9 2015-05-12 6.9.1 2015-09-28
  • Introduced "Fuzzy"[6] Boolean operations with specified global tolerance.
  • Introduced built-in multi-threading parallelization tools as alternative to TBB library.
  • Improved robustness of surface-surface intersection and curve on surface projection.
  • Improved performance of p-curve reconstruction within STEP import.
  • Improved compatibility with OpenGL ES 2.0.
Open CASCADE Technology 6.8 2014-11-10
  • Added support of UNICODE (UTF-8) filenames.
  • Added STL-compatible iterators to NCollection classes.
  • "Handle" smart-pointer now uses NULL pointer instead of a special value 0xfefd0000.
  • Added Bounding volume hierarchy (BVH) algorithms and structures.
  • Introduced multi-threaded version of Boolean operation algorithm.
  • Introduced limited OpenGL ES 2.0 support in 3D viewer.
  • Added VIS / TKIVtk component[7] providing a B-Rep shape presentation builder for VTK viewer.
  • Added support of stereoscopic displays[8] within 3D viewer.
  • Added frustum culling feature improving rendering performance.
  • Ray-Tracing engine has been switched from OpenCL to GLSL implementation.
Open CASCADE Technology 6.7 2013-12-18 6.7.1 2014-04-30
  • License has been changed to LGPL-2.1-only with additional exception.[3]
  • Built-in GPU-accelerated Ray-Tracing rendering engine[9] using OpenCL.
Open CASCADE Technology 6.6 2013-04-22
Open CASCADE Technology 6.5 2011-04-04 6.5.5 2013-03-29
Open CASCADE Technology 6.4 2010-09-30
  • Added multi-threaded mode to BRepMesh algorithm (introduced optional TBB library support).
  • Improved rendering performance by using Vertex buffer object (VBO).
  • TKOpenGl implementation converted from C to C++ classes.
  • Improved text rendering with help of FTGL and FreeType libraries.
  • Improved algorithms for line-line, line-plane and plane-plane intersection.
Open CASCADE Technology 6.3 2008-09-03 6.3.1 2009-06-19
Open CASCADE Technology 6.2 ? 6.2.1 2007-12-06
Open CASCADE Technology 6.1 2006-03-24 6.1.1 2006-10-16
Open CASCADE Technology 5.2 ? 5.2.4 2005-07-29
Open CASCADE Technology 5.1 ? 5.1.3 2004-04-23 "Open CASCADE" has been renamed to "Open CASCADE Technology".
Open CASCADE 4.0 2001-12-11
Open CASCADE 3.0 2000-04-24
Open CASCADE 2.0 ?
Open CASCADE 1.0 1999

Open sourcing[edit]

In 1999 Matra Datavision decided to publish its CAS.CADE infrastructure under an open-source model under the Open CASCADE Technology Public License[10] and renamed it Open Cascade.[11]

In 2000, a separate company, Open Cascade SAS, was created to make business around Open Cascade.[12] Open Cascade SAS was sold in 2003 to Principia, a French service provider corporation, and then in 2006 it was acquired by Euriware Group, a subsidiary of Areva.

In 2004, software was renamed to Open Cascade Technology in order to distinguish it from the name of the company itself.

Open Cascade S.A.S. provides a certified version of the library, which is released sporadically, usually 1–2 releases per year.[13] Until version 6.5.0 (2011), only minor and major versions were publicly available, while intermediate (maintenance) releases were accessible only to customers of Open Cascade S.A.S. For example, version 6.3.0 was publicly released in 2008, and the next public version 6.5.0 was released in early 2011. All recent releases starting from version 6.5.0 are public.[14]

Community fork[edit]

In March 2011, Thomas Paviot initiated a fork of the then most recent publicly available version 6.5.0 of Open Cascade library. The initiative is called Open Cascade Community Edition. The project aims to establish a separate community-based release and bug-report process for the library.[15]

Collaborative development portal[edit]

In December 2011, Open Cascade installed a web portal for external contributors[16] and made its Mantis Bug Tracker[17] and further Git repository[18] publicly available (read-only GitHub mirror[19] has been established in '2020). According to the statements on the new website, external contributors from the Open Source Community are encouraged to participate in the development of Open Cascade Technology, i.e. register bugs directly in the bugtracker, make contributions to the code after signing a Contributor License Agreement,[20] etc.

License change[edit]

Since 18 December 2013 with version 6.7.0 Open Cascade Technology is available under the LGPL-2.1-only with additional exception.[3][21] Versions before that were licensed under the "Open Cascade Technology Public License" which was not compatible with the GPL[22] and was considered non-free by the Fedora project.[23]


Object libraries[edit]

OCCT's functionality is split into several large modules. Each module defines a list of toolkits (libraries). Key Modules:

  • Foundation Classes: defines basic classes, memory allocators, OS abstraction layer, collections (data maps, arrays, etc.), acceleration data structures (BVH Trees) and vector/matrix math used by other Modules.
  • Modeling Data: supplies data structures to represent 2D and 3D geometric primitives (analytical curves: Line, Circle, Ellipse, Hyperbola, Parabola, Bézier, B-spline, Offset; analytical surfaces: Plane, Cylinder, Cone, Sphere, Torus, Bézier, B-spline, Revolution, Extrusion, Offset) and their compositions into B-Rep models.
  • Modeling Algorithms: contains a vast range of geometrical and topological algorithms (intersection, Boolean operations, surface meshing, fillets, shape healing).
  • Visualization (rendering): provides interactive services for displaying geometry in 3D Viewer; implements a compact OpenGL / OpenGL ES renderer, supporting conventional Phong, real-time PBR metal-roughness shading models as well as interactive Ray-Tracing/Path-Tracing engine.
  • Data Exchange: provides possibility to import/export various CAD formats.
    STEP, IGES, glTF, OBJ, STL and VRML are supported natively.[24] Other formats can be imported by using plug-ins.[25] Extended Data Exchange (XDE) components rely on a unified XCAF document definition, which includes an assembly structure of CAD shapes, color/name/material/metadata/layer attributes as well as other supplementary information like PMI.
  • Application Framework: offers solutions[buzzword] for handling application-specific data.
  • DRAW Test Harness: implements a scripting interface to OCCT algorithms based on Tcl-interpreter for interactive usage, automating processes, prototyping applications and testing purposes.

Workshop Organization Kit[edit]

Workshop Organization Kit (WOK) is Open Cascade development environment, which has been designed to allow a large number of developers to work on a product getting advantage of common reference version shared over the local network.

Until OCCT 7.0.0 release, substantial modifications in the source code were not possible without using WOK, since it is the only tool that provides support for CDL (CAS.CADE definition language), used for declaration of most of OCCT classes and also serving to define logical structure of OCCT libraries. WOK has been included in previous OCCT distributions; since OCCT version 6.4 it is made an independent tool.

Within 7.0.0 release, all CDL files have been dropped from OCCT source code making WOK no longer necessary for OCCT development.

Working with IFC files[edit]

The Open CASCADE IFC Import SDK provides applications with the capability of reading BIM data from files in IFC format. It supports versions IFC2×3 and IFC4 that used by most modern applications.[26]

This allows visualization and manipulation of building geometries and CAD designs.

External tools are available to convert from Open CASCADE to IFC as well.[27]

CAD programs based on Open Cascade Technology[edit]

Several CAD programs rely on Open CASCADE Technology including:

  • FreeCAD an open source, 3D parametric modeler, with support for building information modeling, finite-element-method (FEM), and Python scripting.[28][29]
  • SALOME an open source platform for pre- and post-processing for numerical simulation.
  • KiCad an open source suite for electronic design automation (EDA).
  • Gmsh an open source finite-element mesh (FEM) generator. Since version 3.0, Gmsh supports full constructive solid geometry features, based on OCCT.
  • FORAN an integrated CAD/CAM/CAE system developed by SENER for the design and production of practically any naval ship and offshore unit. FORAN uses OCCT since V80R2.0 release[30] for working with analytical surfaces.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Open CASCADE Technology 7.8.1 maintenance release". Retrieved 15 April 2024.
  2. ^ "README.txt".
  3. ^ a b c "OCCT license".
  4. ^ "Dassault Systemes Signs Agreement to Acquire Matra Datavision's Subsidiary". 27 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Gluing Options in Boolean Component - Forum Open Cascade Technology". dev.opencascade.org. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Fuzzy Boolean Operations - Forum Open Cascade Technology". dev.opencascade.org. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  7. ^ "VTK integration services in OCCT - Forum Open Cascade Technology". dev.opencascade.org. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Stereoscopic rendering in Open CASCADE Technology - Forum Open Cascade Technology". dev.opencascade.org. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Ray tracing as alternative rendering method for OCCT visualization component - Forum Open Cascade Technology". dev.opencascade.org. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Open CASCADE Technology Public License".
  11. ^ "Downloading Of Source Code For Open Cascade Gains Momentum | Market Wire | Find Articles". 9 April 2012. Archived from the original on 9 April 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  12. ^ European e-Business Market Watch Case Study: Open source-based services by Open Cascade S.A. Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "OCCT Previous Releases".
  14. ^ "Becoming more and more open!".
  15. ^ "Thinkings about the 6.5.0 release, OCCT status, and the relationship with the Community". Archived from the original on 16 April 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Opening the Development of Open CASCADE Technology".
  17. ^ "Mantis Bug Tracker for OCCT project".
  18. ^ "GitWeb interface to main OCCT git repository".
  19. ^ "Passive mirror of OCCT git repository on GitHub". GitHub.
  20. ^ "Signing the Contributor License Agreement".
  21. ^ "Relicensing OCCT - Forum Open Cascade Technology". dev.opencascade.org. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  22. ^ "OCCT FAQ". dev.opencascade.org. Open Cascade. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  23. ^ Callaway, Tom. "Licensing:Main – Bad Licenses". fedoraproject.org. Red Hat, Inc. and others. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  24. ^ "Data Exchange | Open CASCADE Technology". dev.opencascade.org. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  25. ^ "Datakit - Open Cascade". opencascade.com. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  26. ^ "Open CASCADE: IFC Import Component". Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  27. ^ "CAD Exchanger: How to convert Open CASCADE to IFC?". Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  28. ^ Okoi, Martins (1 December 2017). "FreeCAD – A 3D Modeling and Design Software for Linux". FOSSMint. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  29. ^ Lee, Hawk (22 June 2018). "FreeCAD FEM Workbench (Calculix 2.14)". Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  30. ^ "SENER's latest version of FORAN V80R2.0 lets users manage series of ships". 19 July 2016. Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2020.