A CAD system’s geometry kernel is the heart, brains, and engine of the application. Kernels act as the bridge between keyboard, mouse and display, and the computer’s processor. The kernel turns complex commands such as “change the dimension of the flange” into machine-intelligible instructions and collects the result for display, through the application, back to the user.
Most computer-aided design (CAD) systems were designed with a specific kernel in mind but can, with time and care, be modified to rely on another kernel for application-to-machine instructions. Each kernel has its strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities, making a change from one kernel to another difficult on users. In a kernel swap, users must convert part libraries and test connections to third-party programs and other interfaces. Part version control is crucial to highlight that a part is converted but otherwise the same as the legacy part.
In the end, each user team must decide which is less disruptive: Converting parts to take advantage of the new kernel’s benefits or switching to a different CAD package and keeping the same kernel. Each alternative involves risk but also the potential for benefit. Moving to a new tool may change your design department’s trajectory, offering new capabilities and opportunities for growth.