Setting up a large-scale Enterprise Virtual Mockup for your designs is easy with 3dtagz Author.  Think of this as an infrastructure for 3d communication of your products, at every stage of their lifecycle, throughout your company, design partners, supply chain and customers.  You control the sharing, so you control your intellectual property.  But, once authorized, individuals throughout the world with password access can easily review, in 3d, the material you select regarding your products and processes.

Demonstrating an Enterprise Virtual Mockup

Even during the evaluation phase, you can demonstrate an Enterprise Virtual Mockup infrastructure.  Generally, you can demonstrate it for management approval with your single trial copy of 3dtagz Author.  However, you may also request additional trial versions as indicated in Tutorial #2, if you feel it will help in your evaluation and/or to gain management approval.

The best way to demonstrate how a Virtual Mockup can communicate horizontally throughout your complete enterprise, is to setup each model banner in the 3dtagz Open page as a separate released configuration of your product.  For example, if you build boats and each one is a custom build, add a model banner for each.  If you build construction equipment, and you have a series of serial numbers that are identical until you make a product revision to the next set of serial numbers, make each set of serial numbers your model banner.  In the example here, we have 2 versions of the product and 3 different colors, so we made 6 model banners.

We’ll go through our example here; you should pick a 5-10 model banner example to demonstrate the use in your company.

Creating the Model Banners

Here is how the model banners appear in our example:

These are created by setting up each configuration in the 3d CAD system, and then translating that configuration to 3dtagz.  Finally, use Rename and Info to make the banner text appear in the best way to communicate the choice to all in your enterprise.

Product Lifecycle Communication

Even with just this, without any sequences built, you have a powerful Enterprise Virtual Mockup System.  This can solve significant problems.  Depending on the state of the product configuration when it is shared, and who you share it to, it can be used for:

  • Design reviews of product revisions – “as-designed”,
  • Job status on the factory floor – “as-assembled”,
  • Final inspection at the delivery center – “as-built”,
  • Customer checkout – “as-delivered” and
  • Servicing at the dealer – “as-maintained”.

Every other person throughout the enterprise that you provide access to, will obtain these key functions automatically:

  • The ability to pick parts in the virtual scene and find out their part number,
  • The ability to search by part number and find where the parts are in the product and what they look like and
  • The ability to “peel apart” the virtual product and determine how to gain access to virtual parts.

To a CAD designer completely  familiar with the product, this functionality may at first seem rather trivial, but on the factory floor and in the field, it can be invaluable.  Providing this state of the product in an easy to use manner will pay for itself many times over. For demonstration purposes during this evaluation phase, it is probably best to confine yourself to an “as-built” demonstration which is the easiest to implement.  This requires the final released product design for every configuration to be posted in a model banner, like our RC Truck example.

Implementation and Maintenance

When you implement your Enterprise Virtual Mockup in production, you will need additional qualifiers in your model banners to designate the product lifecycle state.  You may have several lifecycle states at one time, each communicated to a different set of people.

“as-designed” – For every formal design review, you can translate the revision of the product that is the subject of the review.  You can leave in the system previous versions, if required for reference, or gradually delete them over time.  Each designer or design lead responsible for their portion of the overall product can use 3dtagz Author to submit revisions.  A design review “operator” can submit combinations for their review session.  Standard tele-conference software can be used for the formal review session with 3dtagz users following along for better performance. Distribute these configurations to those involved in the design process.

“as-assembled” – To use your Virtual Mockup System on the factory floor, typically as an assembly or inspection job aid, the easiest distribution is to simply make each Sequence a separate job station, with two steps to each sequence – the state of the geometry that arrives at the station and the state of the geometry as it leaves the station.

Alternately, you can add complete assembly sequences and inspection procedures at each job station.

“as-built” – Once you have completed the assembly of your product, the final configuration can be used for a final inspection before shipping.  This configuration can be distributed to a wider set of users that do not need the individual job station information.

“as-delivered” – Once your product has reached the customer, whether at their local site or in your company’s delivery center, the delivered configuration can be shared to the proper customer and dealer entities. If the customer finds any issues, this configuration can be used for issue management by recording and assigning those issues.

If you deliver to the customer in a partially assembled state, this configuration can contain those final assembly instructions.

“as-maintained” – This configuration can contain the specific corresponding maintenance manuals and repair guides.  You can use Export/Import sequence to create them from templates.  These can be delivered to your dealers, repair shops or individually to your customers.