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PROSTEP creates 3D PDF bundle for Siemens' PLM customers

By Bernd Döbel

In cooperation with Siemens Industry Software, PROSTEP will be offering a 3D PDF solution for drawing-free communication of 3D models. Technical Data Package (TDP) for Teamcenter combines existing solution modules from PROSTEP with a template for the automatic generation of 3D PDF documents. The template is based on the German Association of the Automotive Industrie`s (VDA) guideline for drawing-free processes.

Siemens Industry Software has identified in its customer base a growing demand for the end-to-end utilization of digital product models in processes such as the creation of offers, purchasing or manufacturing and assembly. With this approach, Siemens PLM customers want to structure their business processes more efficiently. But this presupposes that the product developers are able to make their 3D models available to other departments or external suppliers together with PLM metadata and manufacturing information in a structured manner and preferably in a single document. This means that drawings could be dispensed with altogether. End-to-end utilization of the digital product data is generally seen as the foundation for the Industrial Internet, called Industrie 4.0 in Germany.

PROSTEP has developed a preconfigured software package that can be easily integrated in the Siemens PLM environment for this group of customers. This software package automatically embeds CAD models in NX or JT format, including PMI (product manufacturing information) and the metadata from Teamcenter, in 3D PDF documents. It is also possible to incorporate supplementary 2D documents and/or attachments in the documents in their native formats. TDP for Teamcenter addresses the requirements of Siemens customers who wish to eliminate media discontinuities from their process chain and systematically digitize their business processes with as little outlay as possible.

At the heart of TDP for Teamcenter is PROSTEP'S server solution PDF Generator 3D, which is based on Adobe's original technology. This uses intelligent templates to allow automatic generation of 3D PDF documents. The package also includes the tried-and-tested converters for NX and JT and the Teamcenter integration facility, which provides the foundation for enhancing 3D PDF documents to include metadata and for managing, versioning and distributing them with the help of PLM. To enable the Siemens PLM customers to use the bundle out of the box, PROSTEP developed a special template. This is used to automatically structure the models and views in the 3D PDF documents based on the stipulations in VDA Guideline 4953-2 for drawing-free processes. The guideline stipulates, for example, how models and views are arranged in the 3D PDFs and how they are represented when printed.

Appropriately preconfigured settings mean that TDT for Teamcenter is very fast and easy to implement. And yet the bundle allows for flexible extension if, for example, customers want to integrate 3D models from other CAD systems in the drawing-free processes or also want to make the 3D PDF documents available in their ERP environment. Compared with 3D communication using other neutral formats, the key advantage of PROSTEP's 3D solution is the ability to collate all the descriptive product data in a single document and to view the 3D PDF documents with the standard Adobe Reader. This also makes TDT for Teamcenter an interesting proposition for users who are already using JT as a neutral format for communicating 3D information. The PROSTEP converter allows the JT data to be automatically converted to 3D PDF documents. The use of Adobe Reader means that the demands made on both the infrastructure and the users' existing knowledge are very modest, thus making 3D PDF the ideal format for widespread use. Alternatively, users can work with JT2GO if native JT models are incorporated in the 3D PDF documents. 

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