July 22, 2020
Engineering software development specialist Tech Soft 3D has announced that the HOOPS Platform is being used to integrate 3D models into Proplanner's Assembly Planner product to “complete the triangle of data relationships that are critical to get right for complex engineering workflows,” the company says.
“Linking the process model to the 3D model was the goal,” said David Sly, president of Proplanner. “We get a 3D model from one source, we get an eBOM from another source, which is the basis of our mBOM, and we generate a BOP routing which consumes parts from that mBOM while visually manipulating the 3D model. Those three elements of the triangle (mBOM, BOP routing, and 3D model) have to relate – and getting them to relate is really, really difficult when all three may be authored concurrently and independently for many variants, which is why most attempts in the past haven't been successful.”
Proplanner provides PLM-MDM (Manufacturing Data Management for the Product Lifecycle) solutions. Proplanner's Assembly Planner product is designed for companies producing complex assemblies that are often highly configured into customer orders. Assembly Planner encompasses a database where users can author and manage their manufacturing bill of materials (mBOM) and Bill of Process (BOP) routings in a collaborative secure location. Using that data, Assembly Planner helps customers perform time studies, balance their assembly lines, auto-generate work instructions, manage their internal logistics information, and more, the company says.
Proplanner is utilizing a number of Tech Soft 3D tools, including HOOPS Exchange (a CAD data translation toolkit), HOOPS Visualize, and HOOPS Communicator.
HOOPS Exchange converts the source CAD file into PRC or HSF format, and it extracts detailed metadata. According to the company, customers don't need a complex integration with the PDM or PLM systems in order to bring in their CAD models and begin process planning. For the visualization component, Proplanner used HOOPS Visualize for the Windows version of their product. HOOPS Communicator is used for the web version of the product – the HSF streaming format provides a fast, lightweight way of viewing models.
“3D is critical,” said Sly. “3D is what allows us to visually validate the process and generate shop floor instructions, but the knowledge that HOOPS Exchange is helping us extract from the CAD model is just as crucial. It helps us map the 3D model to the process, to convert the engineering change orders (ECOs) and engineering bill of materials (eBOMs) into manufacturing bill of materials (mBOMs), and associated process routings.”
HOOPS Exchange allows development teams to easily build robust CAD data translation capabilities into their application, while HOOPS Visualize and HOOPS Communicator allow those 3D models to be visualized, on desktop and the web.
“Some customers have tried to get this information to match up for decades and failed,” said Sly. “The problem was that there was no way to easily reconcile the variances between a CAD model that might have thousands of parts with the other documents and data sources. Thanks to Tech Soft 3D, we're at a point technologically now where customers can extract the data from many different CAD formats, and reconcile it against eBOMs and mBOMs and other data sources. The underlying technology from Tech Soft 3D is enabling all this information to finally come together.”