- Output 2: HTML/PDF for viewing and collaboration
Publishing your data as an HTML page or a PDF enables anyone downstream to view and interact with your model — with no need for a proprietary viewer or CAD system. This output can be very useful for simple collaboration and communication workflows, particularly around CAD data. If there is an individual who needs to provide some quick feedback or comments on a design, this is a quick way for them to do so, by viewing 3D models in a browser or in Adobe Reader.
- Output 3: Rich, interactive 3D PDF for generating 3D PDF “apps”
Publishing out data as an interactive 3D PDF enables you to support many different workflows, such as generating smart reports, work instructions, Technical Data Packages, and more. Creating relationships between graphical and non-graphical information can make data come alive, producing an interactive “app like” experience. Best of all, anyone can consume these critical documents with the free Adobe Reader.
Not every engineering software package has these outputs natively built in, of course. This is where software development kits (SDK) such as HOOPS Publish can come into play, enabling software development teams to easily add simple or complex document output capabilities into existing applications.
SDKs can read source 3D data from a range of industry-standard formats such as STEP, IGES, SAT, XT, and IFC and publish to standards such as STEP, JT, IGES, 3MF, STL, and VRML. It can also publish out to HTML or to a 3D PDF file in either U3D format or Adobe’s preferred Product Representation Compact (PRC) format. The advantage of PRC is that it provides a highly accurate and highly compressed format for describing 3D CAD models, including Assembly Structure, B-Rep, Geometry, and PMI (both graphical and semantic).
What all this means is that if users want to get data out of their engineering applications and use that data later in the product lifecycle, SDKs like HOOPS Publish can make it possible. For example, a CAD application can easily create a lightweight PDF of a 3D model for archiving, while a metrology application can push out an inspections report as an interactive 3D PDF, and so on. It’s all about the ability to generate an output that satisfies a specific user need as the data flows downstream.
|Interactive 3D PDF example.|
What Customers Want
It’s important to remember that the purpose of unlocking engineering data for downstream consumption is, ultimately, to make life easier for customers. The ability to freely leverage the information contained in a master model offers a lot of potential for making processes more efficient, getting products out faster, lowering costs, and increasing profit margins.
That’s what customers are looking for from today’s engineering software applications —and a big part of the value that software vendors provide is reduced if data is not able to be transmitted and