Product data available in visual format

Oct. 11, 2005
Visualization technologies are inexpensive, easy-to-use tools for communication.

Cimmetry Systems released AutoVue Version 19 visualization software. Among the updates for viewing 3D models is a search feature that lets users search for parts in a 3D assembly based on native file attributes.

The search feature of AutoVue Version 19 locates parts in a 3D assembly by filtering information by product manufacturing information (PMI).

To get information flowing among its departments and customers for requests for quotes (RFQs), Apex Design Technology upgraded visualization software and integrated it with the shop management software already in use. Apex Design is a manufacturer and integrator of pneumatic and electric systems, test equipment, and ground support products. It is based in Anaheim, Calif.

Visualization software applications allow users in or outside of a job shop, regardless of software skill level, to view, print, mark and collaborate on product data. These technologies integrate with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and corporate portal systems.

Apex Design upgraded the AutoVue embedded in the JobBoss shop management software system from Exact Software to the SolidModel Professional version.

According to Apex Design President Todd Gallagher, "In on-line meetings with clients on preliminary design (PDR) and critical design reviews (CDR), we both can look at the same design and redline it, then return it to the engineering department for updating. It is a very powerful tool." He says engineering drawings that took two to three days to produce now only take a couple of hours. Gallagher believes Apex Design will see more work thanks to AutoVue's capabilities.

Apex's engineering manager, Lorne Dyke, agreed with that assessment. "As engineering manager, I can review the designs in process, access the features and ask questions. It allows me to review and check designs as they are being modeled, saving time in the formal review check before the final release of drawings."

Dyke added with the upgraded AutoVue in the JobBoss software, other departments involved in the RFQ process, such as sales and marketing, can now quickly access information rather than wait for it to be forwarded from the engineering department.

He said he liked AutoVue SolidModel Professional's annotation tools for adding questions or comments without altering the models.

"It enhances communications," Dyke said, "Much like using instant messaging on the Internet, you can ask very brief questions, like a post card, without having to write very detailed questions referring to individual drawing numbers or sheets. It's a real time-saver."

AutoVue is produced by Cimmetry Systems of Montreal. Its abilities lay in the array of about 450 file formats its products can handle, including AutoCAD Viewer, Autodesk Inventor and Desktop, CADKey, Catia 4 and 5, Solid Edge, SolidWorks and STEP.

"AutoVue is a low-cost, easy-to-use tool that covers just about any CAD format," says David Edwards, Cimmetry senior project manager.

AutoVue comes in four styles, from a base application that can read more than 200 2D, CAD, Raster, Office and graphical formats to a SolidModel Professional version that permits 3D, 2D and electronic design (EDA) viewing, markup, and annotation, and allows collabators to add text and precise 3D markup measurements to specific points on a part or assembly. Cimmetry recently released AutoVue Version 19 that has added help for viewing 3D models.

AutoVue's products are set apart from other viewing applications by their ability to understand the "intelligence" of what is in a design file according to Edwards.

"AutoVue reads the entire data model while others only read the visual parts of the file," says Edwards, including properties defined by the design engineer and materials to be used in making parts.

Some AutoVue products allow users to perform part verification through multiformat digital prototyping via a digital mock-up feature (DMU).

Added features of AutoVue Version 19 include 3D assembly comparison, which allows users to view and verify changes between design versions and share the results with others, and 3D exploded view manipulation, which enables AutoVue users to "disassemble" part or assembly drawings into 3D space for detailed views. Edwards describes the function as providing users with the ability to look at the parts of a model before assembly. Users can specify the range of the part or assembly they want to look at in this view. The last added function, 3D Search, lets users search and filter for parts in a 3D assembly based on native file attributes.

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