Enterprise-wide 3D file-sharing just got easy with Theorem’s 3D PDF publishing solution for SiemensNX and JT.

2nd April 2014 --- Theorem Solutions launches its brand new 3D PDFPublisherand Publish 3D software for users of NX and JT applications.

The first native 3D PDF Publisher for these file formats has arrived, enablingboth NX and JT users to quickly and easily create documentation containing interactive 3D data, published directly from native  files.  The published interactive 3D data contained within the PDF file can be viewed and interrogated using the freely available Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Using 3D PDF document creation and viewing will extend the use of 3D design data way beyond the realmsof mainstream engineering. 3D PDFopens up huge opportunities for sharing information within organisations and throughout 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 and manufacturing, 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 NX or JT file.  Thispieceof 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 CADdata with anyone with a workstation, PC or tablet, anywhere in the world, withoutthe 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 toview in wireframe, shaded and rendered modes.  The pan zoom and rotate functionality iseasy to use and PDFs are superb for adding notes, comments and highlights for review.

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 NX or JT data.

The process of publishing and sharing is simple. Theorem’s 3D PDF Publisher for JT enables JT users to create PDF documents containing 3D data using batch or interactive processes with additional server based versions available for high volume use.

For the NX user the 3D PDF plugin has a “save as” PDF feature from within the NX user interface plus a batch output capability to speed up the publication process into PDF. 

3D PDF Publisher for NX 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.

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 Supports

The 3D PDF publisher supports 3D annotations and dimensions (PMI) from NX and JT 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 the 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 configured, Publish 3D will pull engineering data from a variety of enterprise-wide information repositories or ERP systems.

In addition you can also embed the native data into the PDF as a transportation device. 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 of 3D PDFs is reducedfile sizes which ensure they are 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 JT and NX 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 files in the information packet.

  • 3D PDFs are interactive multi-media documents that communicate 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/ JT 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. 

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