Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What are the benefits of using 3D Technical Publications?

Benefits of 3D

  • Better visualization – "Seeing is Understanding"
  • Leverage existing CAD data from engineering
  • Dynamic, Interactive Content – click through assembly steps
  • Graphical selections – select on a part to view its metadata, select on a BOM item to highlight the part
  • Less text needed – if "a picture is worth a thousand words", a picture you can move is worth many more.

Common Features of 3D Tech Pubs Software

  • Multi-CAD Import
  • Lightweight model creation
  • Rendering with texture mapping
  • Basic Kinematics
  • Annotation & Markup
  • Related BOM and Part Attributes
  • Animations
  • Output to PDF, html, xml, etc

Uses of Technical Publications

  • NC Documentation / Setup Sheets
  • Assembly Instructions
  • MRO Documentation
  • User Manuals
  • Training Materials
  • Product Data Sheets

Technical Publication Formats

  • Many options exist to output standard text and graphic formats – CGM has often been preferred for graphics since it is vector based
  • Many authoring tools can output html or other formats, but they may require proprietary viewers (usually free) for advanced 3D content
  • AVI files aren't as interactive as specialized 3D viewers and can lead to very large files
  • Many tools can now output 3D PDF data that can be viewed by anyone with the current Acrobat Reader – There are some limitation of using PDF w/ U3D
  • XML shows some promise as an intermediate format between systems, but requires adoption of standards


  • Many tools are now available to create 3D interactive technical publications and training materials
  • Most of these applications have their own viewer software
  • Using 3D PDF or html for final content makes a proprietary viewer less of an issue
  • Models for use in publications should ideally be generated as lightweight representations directly from the engineering data in the PLM system
  • There are detailed standards that may need to be adhered to – especially in Aero & Defense applications
  • The S1000D standards are not comprehensive. They still require each company to define their own business rules.




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