Offline vs Online CAD Visualization

created by Kelly Baumann |

Debate over? as online visualization brings overwhelming advantages

Many processes within the manufacturing industry require high-volume file exchange, whether that be native CAD data or neutralized to STEP, JT or 3D-PDF. One advantage is to have data available locally and offline while under control of the recipient. However, many disadvantages come with this approach:

Mechanical data tends to grow, making it difficult or impossible to email. In addition to very long download times, some free viewers might be unable to load larger designs. A bigger concern with sending data in this way is the loss of control over it once the recipient downloads it; consequently, outdated versions are often used in further processing. And when embedding parts of your business logic into a 3D-PDF for example, the effort for debugging is doubled.

All these issues can be avoided by moving from offline to online visualization via 3DViewStation WebViewer.

Listening carefully to its clients’ concerns, KISTERS ensures that the advantages of online visualization outnumber the objections. “Switching between variants and configurations, or working with the digital twin requires high flexibility to change structures over a lifetime,” said Jim Eardly, KISTERS North America Sales Manager.

He explained the near impossibility of getting a similar level of efficiency when working with file-based visualization. After people have downloaded files which may not reflect the latest design changes, they will continue to work with inaccurate information unless they are personally contacted. Communication and design quality control obstacles become lesser issues when working online – with continuously updated designs.

Eardly commented that the greatest convenience may be the ultra-low IT requirements, “There’s no need for software installation of one or more local viewers, and no worry about having enough RAM or graphics power. 3DViewStation WebViewer renders all documents and geometries on the server.” The KISTERS server typically runs with a single local cache for all users, allowing very fast load times, full control over file management, and traceability of data activities.

Key to protecting intellectual property is the inability to download any geometries to the client device. Other IP protection tools such as removing invisible parts or alienating geometries can be configured.

comparative table between offline and online CAD visualization benefits

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Ultra large designs benefit the most from online visualization. How else can you visualize such massive designs on a mobile device? Complete ships or plants with millions of parts are rendered on a smartphone in seconds via a simple 3DViewStation WebViewer link. No attachment, no download needed,” continued the data visualization industry veteran.

For some customers, the choice to embed WebViewer into the UI of enterprise applications is easily accomplished with high level APIs that integrate the software with leading applications in PLM and BIM. The company uses the APIs to connect the software with VisShare, further simplifying the distribution of complex CAD data and documents.

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