Leverage 3D Visualization to Improve Your Manufacturing Processes

Wed Oct 10, 2018

3D visualization -- interchangeably used with 3D modeling, 3D graphics, 3D rendering and computer-generated imaging (CGI) -- is basically the use of 3D images to analyze designs.

3D visualization can be used in practically any industry and use-case, though it’s common in engineering, architecture, manufacturing and other complex domains.

In the manufacturing industry, 3D visualization is a critical element and, generally, is delivered through computer-aided design (CAD) software, such as Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks.

Thanks to CAD, engineering teams have been able to digitally design parts meant for physical production. In tandem, 3D visualization has enabled design and manufacturing teams alike to identify and correct design flaws, test changes and more before pouring money into production.

In this piece we look at how you can leverage 3D visualization to reduce costs, quality control issues and interoperability problems in your manufacturing efforts.

Why 3D Visualization?

2D models -- e.g. flat drawings -- do not offer insights comparable to 3D models.

For example, 2D models will not show how individual parts in a design will work with one another. Likewise, 3D printers cannot visually examine lattices in 2D models.

In fact, with notably complex designs, it would be imprudent to even consider extrapolating or analyzing using 2D flat drawings. You are simply missing too many of the crucial details.

With 3D visualization, you can vastly improve your wireframes with polygonal-based rendering, ray tracing, radiosity, and other details. You can offer the viewer a full-fidelity view of the design and, as a result, best equip design teams to identify and address potential problems.

This makes the prototyping phase quicker and more cost-effective, especially as you can reduce the number of physical iterations before freezing a perfect a design.

It’s important to not understate the benefits of engineering-grade visualization. The ability to identify and resolve design flaws well ahead of the product being manufactured and shipped is an advantage, one that translates into significant savings in cost (and reputation).

Overall, 3D visualization makes development a quicker, easier and cost-effective process.


Give Your Manufacturing Customers
The Ability to View High Quality 3D Graphics

Learn More


Equip Manufacturers to Prepare Facilities for Production

For manufacturers, the receipt of accurate 3D CAD data is critical. Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI) enables manufacturers to prepare their machining, tooling, and jigs (and with additive manufacturers, 3D printers) for producing the design.

However, inaccurate PMI could result in the manufacturer incorrectly configuring their machines. Not only does this raise the risk of quality control issues in the manufactured product, but it also puts the manufacturer’s tools, jigs and/or 3D printers at risk of damage.

3D visualization equips the manufacturer to augment graphical PMI data with a detailed image of the part’s actual design. The manufacturer can use that imaging to identify potential risks (e.g. the risk of damage to its machining hardware).

The manufacturer could also contribute to the design process by identifying potential flaws that could affect quality control, raw material usage and/or cost. Certain insights, such as the effect of a design choice on physical product quality, may only be known to the manufacturer because it’s uniquely equipped and experienced enough to understand those issues.

This is especially true when the design and manufacturing sides are separate companies. Thus, 3D visualization becomes an asset that enables the design firm’s manufacturing partner to serve as a supportive party, one that helps with lowering cost, time-to-market and quality issues.  

See How CAD Data Errors Cause Problems for Manufacturers:

Interoperability is Key

Certainly, there are key advantages to using 3D visualization.

However, it’s also common for engineering and manufacturing teams (especially where different companies are involved) to have different workflows.

These workflow differences can manifest in the use of different CAD suites. Thus, these teams are likely to exchange CAD files in formats that are not native to their own CAD software.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks commands a lead in the global CAD market (with 32% market share in 2016), following by Creo, AutoCAD, CATIA and NX. So a diverse CAD user base is to be expected, especially when industry-specific factors and cost constraints are considered.

In effect, your target market not only has the need for 3D visualization, but interoperability with non-native CAD formats. In other words, your market needs 3D visualization apps that can use common, industry-standard 3D modeling libraries for CAD as well as 3D graphics APIs.

With the right development tools, you can address CAD file interoperability and 3D visualization through one application. This will reduce your development costs and time-to-market.

Next Steps

HOOPS Visualize from Dassault Systèmes Spatial provides developers such as you with a tested and fully-functional tool to offer high-quality 3D visualization capabilities in your applications.

HOOPS Visualize leverages industry-proven APIs such as OpenGL and DirectX. In addition to enabling hardware-level capabilities (e.g. GPU) to create 3D visuals, HOOPS Visualize from Spatial is also integrated with CAD 3D modelers, such as 3D ACIS Modeler, CGM Core Modeler and others.

Using HOOPS Visualize to develop applications for manufacturing end-users is a prudent step. Contact Spatial today to discuss how you can leverage HOOPS Visualize to build software that your end users need.

Subscribe to the D2D Blog

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think