March 21, 2014 -- If only there was a free 3D system that everyone could use to read, view and mark-up. Well now there is, with a new era of intelligent documentation and information exchange.
3D PDF Publisher for CATIA V5
Theorem Solutions launches its brand new 3D PDF Publisher and Publish 3D plugin for CATIA V5 users.
The first native 3D PDF Publisher for CATIA V5 has arrived enabling CATIA V5 users to quickly and easily create documentation containing interactive 3D data published directly from native V5 data. The published interactive 3D data contained within the PDF file can viewed and interrogated using freely available Adobe Acrobat Reader.
The 3D PDF plugin has a “save as” PDF feature from within the V5 user interface plus a batch output capability to speed up the publication process into PDF. Once published the viewer will be able to view the 3D model, interrogate the model tree sub-assemblies, turn components in assemblies on and off, shade and render for technical authoring, view as a solid, wireframe and even cross section components and assemblies. CAD data publishing just came of age.
3D PDF Publisher for CATIA V5 users has three levels of capability
- “Save as” functionality from within the CAD system.
- “Save as” functionality from within the CAD system plus batch processing capability.
- The top level package, aptly named Publish 3D can batch publish files and run automated processes.
Publish 3D derives many of its features from Theorem’s Process Manager Suite of data exchange automation tools. The enterprise-wide Publish 3D solution has a high level of sophistication which ensures that all CAD resources are fully utilised by scheduling publishing routines using hardware and CAD licenses as they become available or by scheduling publication routines overnight.
Currently, most employees in an organisation cannot open CAD documents. “If only there was a free 3D system that everyone could read, view and mark-up”. Well there is now!
Using 3D PDF document viewing will extend the use of 3D design data way beyond the realms of mainstream engineering. 3D PDF opens up huge opportunities for sharing information within organisations and through the supply and distribution chains.
Most engineers experience the frustration of receiving a 3D file that they cannot view because they do not have the native CAD software on their workstation, PC or tablet. From this problem the 3D publishing and viewing market evolved.
Large and small organisations go through a considered justification process when spending money on licenses and it is ultimately the power users in engineering, operations, quality control and purchasing who get priority. In this publishing and viewing arena we still have the problem of many users and limited licenses.
Now imagine a free piece of software that everyone has access to (and most of us have installed) that would allow anyone in your organisation or supply chain to interactively view, interrogate and manipulate any native CATIA V5 file. This piece of software is arguably one of the most widely used applications in the world to view 2D data, text documents, images and 2D drawings. It already exists on most business machines around the world and is from Adobe. So take the availability of Adobe Reader and now embed 3D viewing capability. You have just made 3D data exchange and 3D viewing available to anyone in the world.
It’s worth pausing and reflecting on what we have just described. Now you can share your native CATIA V5 data with anyone with a workstation, PC or tablet, anywhere in the world, without the need for additional installed applications and knowledge of how they work.
The implications for improved engineering and design collaboration between departments, organisations, suppliers and customers around the world are truly staggering. The potential for enhanced collaboration using 3D PDFs is phenomenal. Users can interrogate assembly trees, turn components in the model tree on and off, and select to view in wireframe, shaded and rendered modes. The pan zoom and rotate functionality is easy to use and PDFs are superb for adding notes, comments and recommendations.
Improved collaboration will result in improved exchanges of data and more importantly design intent from the design engineer. This data can be analysed up and down the supply chain and optimised for improvements to assembly, product cost, quality, tool making and marketing. This will undoubtedly lead to reduced lead-times, fewer mistakes and better products.
How to share PDF files containing native CATIA V5 data.
The process of publishing and sharing is simple. Theorems 3D PDF Publisher for CATIA V5 enables CATIA users to create PDF documents containing CATIA data using the ‘save as‘ function from within CATIA V5 or using batch or interactive processes with additional server based versions available for high volume use.
The 3D PDF publisher for CATIA V5 supports 3D annotations and dimensions FTA (PMI) from CATIA V5 into 3D PDF as well as supporting model based definition (MBD) processes for downstream activities in manufacturing and for use by the supply chain.
The working PDF document can be annotated, shared and additional media embedded. This could include text, PowerPoint files, spreadsheets, AVI movies and hyperlinks to additional online information.
The process can also be further automated using Theorem Solutions Publish 3D package. Publish 3D will manage batch routines and will utilise available hardware and CAD licenses to publish the 3D model as a 3D PDF and then send the files to a distribution list via email, ftp or cloud based collaboration systems.
One exceptionally smart function of Theorem’s Publish 3D is the ability to embed the 3D data into a PDF document which contains rich information in other formats; such as text, forms, tables, images and video, plus you can also package up native CAD files in the same document publishing one PDF document with every piece of collaborative information (and an historical record of all iterations) required.
Once set up, Publish 3D will pull engineering data from a variety of enterprise-wide information repositories or MRP systems.
In addition you can also embed the native CATIA V5 data into the PDF as a transportation vessel. It is like an intelligent media rich zip-file. One document with every piece of information you would need to exchange design intent. Another key benefit to this is that the 3D PDF document is extremely lightweight and therefore easily emailed without the danger of it being blocked by a firewall or inbox capacity. Intellectual Property can also be exchanged in a PDF protecting the native CATIA V5 data.
The 3D PDF becomes a media-rich vessel and can contain hundreds of pages and legacy revisions and will act as a carrier to transport native CATIA files in the information packet.
- 3D PDFs are interactive media-rich communications documents, communicating engineering and design intent.
- Anyone with Adobe Reader can interrogate this document and the embedded 3D model data.
- 3D adds value to the 2D information in the document and the 2D information adds detail and intent to the 3D data that you just do not get by sending a solitary STEP file attached to an email, or a zip file containing numerous documents.
Example 1: A data exchange notice could contain text data plus feature-rich attributes such as the 3D model (that can be viewed, rotated and interrogated by pan and zoom). All capable without having to download a 3D CAD viewer.
Example 2: Engineering change management is a complex process and is typically managed using change requests, 3D data, 2D documents/drawings, BOM changes, feasibility documentation, material costing information, labour costs and tooling information amongst many others. All documents are inter-related and there is a real danger that something gets lost in translation with the multi-document multi-departmental approach. Now imagine a system that can publish an engineering change notice that includes a fully interactive 3D model with annotations on any 3D view. The document can be designed to pull in information on costing, tooling and the other factors mentioned above and by doing so automatically, reduces the human error factor.
Mistakes are hugely expensive once a component or assembly is in production. This new publishing methodology will ensure processes are improved with an amplified clarity of design intent. This is undoubtedly beneficial to any company and the benefits are aggregated for multi-site organisations, companies employing sub-contractors or matrix organisations.
The ability to share data with non-CAD users is extremely important to reduce ambiguity and possessing the capability to publish these feature-rich documents without having to interrupt the CAD user throughout their working day is a major step forward.
Theorem Solutions has over 20 years’ experience in providing solutions for the CAD CAM market and in addition to providing the 3D PDF solution has the expertise to develop and integrate the document/form design for automation, seamlessly into any organisation.
This saves many hours of CAD time and these automatically populated documents can be customised to suit the requirements of any company or structure.
This is a new era of intelligent documentation and information exchange. Theorem’s Publish 3D can also publish a CAD model in many different flavours for different departments (all in one process), e.g. as a solid assembly (rendered) for marketing, a wireframe for technical publications, and an exploded view for customer service and as part of a bill of materials for purchasing. Publish 3D will run the process at the press of a button (or as part of an overnight batch process) and will create multiple documents for multiple users. It can even email the data exchange document, or can upload it to ftp or the cloud.
Watch this space for more features including a digital rights management version later this year.
If you would like to see and test drive a 3D PDF document visit: