Paperless Parts
Paperless Parts: Milling feature detection screen.

Improved, Cloud-based CAD File Viewer

Sept. 15, 2022
Paperless Parts subscribers can invite all stakeholders to view, search, and comment on both 2D files and 3D files, so collaborators need not purchase CAD software licenses or maintain format-specific viewers.

PAPERLESS PARTS, the estimating and quoting software for job shops and contract manufacturers, announced several enhancements to its 3D Part Viewer, a cloud-based, format-agnostic CAD file viewer. The 3D Part Viewer improves manufacturers’ ability to quote faster and more consistently by extracting the geometry of the parts they’re quoting, highlighting manufacturability challenges, and, through Paperless Chat, driving collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, such as machinists, tool providers, raw material suppliers and finishers.

Paperless Parts subscribers can invite all stakeholders to view, search and comment on both 2D files (PDF, DXF, emails, videos, Microsoft files, etc.) and 3D files (all forms of CAD), eliminating the need for collaborators to purchase expensive CAD software licenses or maintain a vast array of format-specific viewers.

“A lot of the inefficiency in manufacturing is caused by information asymmetry: Designers are designing in 3D, their vendors are quoting based off of 2D PDF files and notes, and third-party suppliers are offering input via email. Putting together a holistic picture of a part – from design to build – is overwhelmingly manual, time consuming, and the different stakeholders aren’t able to look at technical data in the same way, which leads to compounding errors and inefficiency,” explained foundry and CEO Jason Ray.

By sharing files via Paperless Parts, customers can collaborate within their shop and with vendors, all in a secure environment with the ability to control access when sharing is no longer needed. This functionality is critical to protecting customer data and helps shops serving the defense and aerospace industries comply with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The Paperless Parts Viewer also helps customers quickly identify manufacturability warnings such as tight corners, deep holes that require special tooling, and bend reliefs.

The new feature enhancements to the Paperless Parts Viewer include:
  PMI for MBD files. To date, accessing Product Manufacturing Information has required additional subscriptions to CAD software – effectively putting critical information behind a paywall. Now, Paperless users can extract and display PMI for Model-based Definitions – dimensions, tolerances, parallelisms, datums, text annotations – directly in their browser. Data is available from all files that can contain PMI, including STEP AP242, JT files, 3D PDFs, and native formats from platforms like Solidworks, Catia, PTC Creo, and Siemens NX.

  Individual face colors. Face colors are used by designers to annotate features or manufacturing requirements and can have a meaningful impact on the cost to produce a part. For example, individual faces can be colored to indicate surfaces that must be masked when applying a finish or powder coat, or faces that need to be cut with a specific operation, such as calling out features that require wire EDM vs a CNC mill. Viewing face colors in the Viewer allows estimators to quickly identify these nuances and price their quotes accordingly.

  Support for etching. While Paperless has identified etched surfaces in the past, new functionality collects them into a separate feature class in the geometric features panel of the Viewer. This grouping allows estimators to quickly view and interact with these etchings versus sifting through sets of features to find them.

  Faster file interrogation. Paperless Parts’ proprietary interrogation method, which identifies Design for Manufacturability Warnings and extracts critical dimensions and attributes used to drive automation in the quoting process, is now on average 25% faster. This change impacts both milling and lathe interrogation times, as well as providing users quicker time to first render of the part.

  Centralized viewing and search. One of the key challenges in manufacturing efficiency is that information is saved in multiple formats in Shared drive. Now, users of Paperless Parts can save and view all related documents directly in the Viewer, including text and image content of emails and Office file formats, including .msg, .eml, docx, pptx, and xlsx files. All of the text found in these documents is indexed and searchable as part of Paperless Parts global search functionality.

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