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Zwei Personen betrachten ein CAD Objekt mit Hilfe von VR.

Bringing Data to Life – with Virtual Reality and CAD

Since ancient times, man has recorded his experiences, visions, and ideas in the form
of pictures. First with drawings on cave walls, later with ink on parchment, and in
times of digitalization, with computer, mouse, and keyboard. So the need to capture
fleeting thoughts and make them available to posterity has never changed. The
possibilities, on the other hand, have changed.

From the idea to “computer-aided design” (CAD)

Great ideas start small. Maybe with a quick sketch on a simple whiteboard in an
inconspicuous meeting room. What we are not even aware of is that even this disdainful
whiteboard was once thought up by someone, recorded with the help of pen and paper,
further developed, and from a certain degree of maturity, transferred into CAD software.
Whether it's buildings, furniture, appliances, or machines, almost everything that surrounds
us in everyday life is modeled today with CAD software before it sees the light of day.
Without CAD systems, nothing runs in product development anymore. The foundations for
CAD technology were laid in the mid-1960s with the IBM Drafting System. (1) The
technology has evolved rapidly since then. There are more and more design possibilities that
go far beyond what was understood a few years ago as a "CAD drawing." The advent of
3D printing is once again giving wings to progress and further expanding the market for
CAD applications.

Visualize 3D CAD models with Virtual Reality

CAD files are usually processed on the monitor, even if it is a 3D object. Of course, this
representation is never realistic, if only because of the distortion of the proportions on a
screen. In order to examine the object thoroughly, a prototype is required. And this is
precisely where the problem lies: making a physical prototype is a time-consuming and
costly process that limits the speed of product development processes. Even 3D printing can
only cushion these disadvantages to a small extent.

This is where virtual reality comes into play: A virtual reality application allows 3D CAD
models to be depicted as realistically as if they were really standing in front of you. Using
VR prototyping, a three-dimensional CAD object can be examined in detail. Possible sources
of error can be identified at an early stage, and a physical prototype is not necessary at first.
Physical prototypes are not produced until all details have been agreed. The car
manufacturer SEAT, for example, saves every second prototype by using Virtual Reality. (2)

Realizing the Full Potential – VR Collaboration of
Decentralized Teams

In globally operating companies, communication with other people plays a decisive role.
Decentralized teams that work across several locations and the involvement of internal and
external stakeholders are part of everyday life here. In order to avoid misunderstandings, all
those involved should have a common understanding of a concept – especially in product
development.
The virtual conference room of WeAre offers the possibility to import different CAD formats.
The team members can view 3D objects from all sides, discuss details, and record
information. Examples:

  • The size of the model is infinitely scalable.
  • It is possible to measure the original dimensions and display
    them.
  • The exploded view makes all individual parts visible.
  • Individual components can be marked, hidden, and removed.
  • The X-ray view makes layers and cross-sections visible.
  • Notes and memos can be easily attached to the model to
    capture the discussed content.

The recorded changes are then incorporated as usual with the existing CAD software. In this
way, the given possibilities interlock and create a sound basis for a fruitful and efficient
cooperation.

Sources:

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_design

(2) https://www.seat.de/ueber-seat/news-events/unternehmen/seat-virtual-reality.html

 

 

Icon WeAre Redakteure
written by
Bernhard Schaefermeyer & David FrĂĽhauf
Bernhard was responsible for the research, the editorial work, and the rough draft. David transferred the text into the final version. (Translation: TextMaster)

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