The latest company to introduce CAD collaboration software is Adobe, with its Acrobat® 3D Version 8 software. This software lets you rapidly convert almost any CAD file into highly compressed, secure Adobe PDF files. Co-workers, customers, and suppliers can review and mark up 3D designs using the free Adobe Reader® software. To begin a collaboration session, simply click on the ‘Start Meeting’ button, and discuss a design in real-time over the Web with Adobe® Acrobat® Connect™ software.
The PDF files can be compressed so that they are up to 100 times smaller than the native CAD files. OpenGL-based applications on Microsoft Windows and UNIX systems capture CAD data into the PDF format.
Version 8 can also be used for downstream CAD, CAM or CAE based processes where you can export a converted PDF file to STEP or IGES without dedicated CAD translators. The file can include Product Manufacturing information (PMI) in the distributed 3D data, reducing the need for 2D drawings. This feature lets manufacturing and supply chain teams directly access the PMI data on the geometry and from the assembly tree in the PDF. The PDF document can also include data from multiple source files, including spreadsheets, Microsoft Office documents, e-mails, 2D CAD drawings, and 3D designs.
Communicating design intent is easy through this collaboration product with its annotated dynamic cross-section views. You can call attention to parts or subassemblies, hide or show parts, and use highlighting and markup tools to clarify or focus on specific details. These interactive features help the extended team identify and communicate design flaws earlier in the process, reducing late design changes and production delays.
This software also lets technical writers, web designers, and other creative professionals leverage 3D CAD files in their instructions and teaching aids. Complex ideas are communicated more effectively through visually rich and interactive content in the documentation. Professionals can easily clean up models and create 2D vector art or raster illustrations and animations to produce rich technical and marketing materials. Such documents can help overcome language barriers through animations of assembly and disassembly instructions to clarify how a product works. All the information can be accessible by users of the Adobe Reader.
The Acrobat 3D Toolkit quickly cleans up the design in CAD files; adds and modifies lighting, materials, textures, or colors; helps create exploded views and animations; and then saves the images as 3D objects or 2D raster/vector images. In addition, you can use Acrobat 3D OCX to insert 3D CAD designs into existing and new Microsoft Office documents, including Word and PowerPoint files, and convert them to PDF for easy distribution.
You maintain control of your native CAD files in several ways. Through a PDF, there’s no need to share native CAD files with the extended team. This feature eliminates the possibility of reviewers changing the native CAD design inadvertently.
Passwords restrict access to the PDF documents using 128-bit encryption. You can set document permissions to restrict who can print, save, copy, or modify a document. You can also maintain individual digital signatures and security settings in different PDF files and forms when combining them into a single PDF package.
Acrobat 3D Version 8 converts 3D designs from CATIA V4 and V5, UGS NX, I-DEAS, SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER, Autodesk Inventor, and others.
Adobe Systems Inc.
Filed Under: 3D CAD, Factory automation