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Our expert Debra Garls is happy to answer your questions about conversion and publishing solutions.
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Making CAD models accessible to everyone
CAD systems save data in system-specific formats. These are frequently open format, they frequently change, and you always need the CAD system or special viewer in order to be able to view them or print them. Formats of this kind are not suitable for long-term archiving.
Anyone who wishes to archive their documents for the long term therefore requires document formats which are non-changeable and which can also be interpreted with certainty after several years. Or put in more specific terms: They require neutral long-term formats such as PDF, PDF/A and TIFF/G4. These formats are open, standardised by industry or standardisation committees and are non-changeable. At the practical level, people also use the term digital paper.
Many users from the fields of purchasing, manufacturing, assembly and maintenance frequently have to be provided with 2D views and printouts of the CAD models. However, these users cannot and do not have to learn how to use the expensive CAD systems that have a multitude of functions simply to receive a drawing occasionally. At the same time, the question is, whether you want to leave it to chance or to the actual decision of the user, as to whether they actually want to use the correct view or the actually approved version of the CAD model.
CAD conversion simplifies these processes in your company. In the scope of the conversion, informed approval processes are defined in order to create the digital paper at the requested point in time. This means that digital paper isn’t only a good idea for the long-term archiving, but also whenever a company requires a secured, non-changeable status of documents.
Moreover, you needn’t be afraid of doubled data storage. The neutral long-term formats stated are very small in comparison with a CAD model. Therefore, “doubled” is not the right term here.
Buyers who have to decide which part is to be ordered. Manufacturers who want to take a measure of the model. Or quality assurance, who want to make comments on the configuration of a part directly in the file and at the right location. All of these users require 3D files so that they are able to work efficiently. For this purpose, several neutral 3D formats are available, such as 3D PDF, Step, JT, Iges, 3D XML… These formats can also be created from the CAD system. A solution without CAD is also available, however. Whatever format you decide on depends on what is to be done with the format. It is also a very good idea to manage several formats at the same time – we will be pleased to assist you!
We process the models from the leading M-CAD systems (Catia | NX | Creo | SOLIDWORKS | SOLIDEDGE | AutoCAD | Inventor | Microstation):
From the drawings from the aforementioned CAD systems, we can create 2D neutral files, such as PDF/A, JPEG, TIFF or DXF. Do you need more? No problem! Then simply get in touch with us. From the 3D models we also create Step, JT, Stl, Iges and 3D PDF. The documents of several CAD systems can also be converted into special formats such as iDrawing and iParts.
It goes without saying that we are able to convert the files in question immediately prior to printing. This excludes additional queries during the conversion, however, including macros in the CAD model. It is therefore always a better idea to prepare the neutral formats in advance as a digital copy template. The creation of neutral formats does not then have to occur upon approval, but can be carried out simultaneously to every restoration of the model in the PLM system.
The identification can be added so that it is visible in the form of stamps and water-marks . It is also possible to identify files internally and invisibly using metadata. All of the information which is known upon approval – document designations, approving person, status – can be stamped on. It can be added anywhere also including directly in the title block. Information about the use of the document – use in an assembly, a customer order or a parts list – is only known later in the process, and is therefore added in the print output. The same applies to information on the output itself – the user, date, size, scaling.
In particular, information which is stamped on the long-term file upon approval should also be visible in the CAD model. It isn’t necessary to hire an expensive CAD designer to enter a few texts in the CAD model just before it is forwarded for approval, however. This task is completed by our Property Update which can be activated during the conversion.
The application converters from SEAL Systems arespecially designed for the conversion of application data into digital paper. These are batch-capable products which can be incorporated into random conversion workflows.
Yes, the CAD is automated in order to provide the CAD model in the required format or an intermediate format. Replacement applications such as CAD Viewer are not usually suitable for this task because they do not always guarantee a 100% identity to CAD.
CAD systems are subject to further development. It is frequently necessary to extend the proprietary saving format of the CAD. Among others, this can also result in incompatible changes. Users notice when models are not presented in the usual way. The likelihood of something of this sort happening increases with the number of CAD updates. The process known as refiling provides assistance. With this, existing files are converted into the format of the new CAD version. This process has to be planned and monitored on an exacting basis, however, and planned for in advance when changing to a different version of CAD. Alternatively, the quality of every CAD model can be left to individual management via the user’s “Save as” button.
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Remote updates were also possible outside “normal” working hours without any problems. It was never a problem to have direct e-mail contact with SEAL Systems. They helped with any kind of issue – it was great!