A new breakthrough in 3D solutions makes it possible for companies to connect distributed teams, reduce travel costs, and allow instant collaboration—with a single click. The Immersive Collaboration Experience (ICE), part of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, allows multiple individuals working in CATIA to seamlessly move from the CAD program to “touring” the 3D design in virtual reality (VR).
What sets CATIA’s ICE functionality apart from other solutions used in the industry is its complete integration into the 3D platform. An individual can work in CATIA, message a collaborator through the 3DEXPERIENCE system, and send a co-review invitation. Both collaborators put on headsets, pick up wands, and simply click to launch the collaborative VR experience. Unlike other arrangements where moving from a 3D design to a VR solution can require multiple pieces of software and a file conversion process, ICE requires only one click to move from a CATIA 3D design to VR and back again. In addition, ICE works for all data brought into the CATIA platform—whether original designs, imported CAD files, scanned data, and simulation results.
Even better, design changes made in CATIA appear in the VR environment in real-time, meaning one collaborator can exit VR and make a quick change, which the other collaborator can see and comment immediately. The system is optimized for two collaborators—both will have avatars in the VR scene, and ICE can run on either cloud or on-premise sessions—but as many as four individuals can participate in the VR session, and each will have his or her own user ID.
When participants are in the VR session, they have a full range of movement in the virtual 3D space—allowing for enhanced communication with natural gestures. “Goto” commands allow users to teleport to any location in the scene, including another collaborator’s view. When that happens, or any time one participant’s view gets close to that of another participant, avatars are “ghosted” or made invisible, so they don’t block the view of the model.
Watch Immersive Collaboration Experience Video
The VR solution also works smoothly with other components of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, such as the visual experience content collection (VCC), which has recently been enhanced to offer more out-of-the-box options. With VCC, designers have a wide range of materials available to apply to their designs. Mathematical algorithms form the basis of materials including leathers, fabrics, car paint, metals, plastics, carbon fiber, glasses, woods, nature, and stones. VCC also offers a variety of 3D environments that designs can be placed in for the VR session, from interiors such as warehouses to exteriors such as parks and street scenes. Designers can also import their own photos and/or environments to customize the 3D design, with no loss of performance in the VR environment.
ICE is a welcome addition to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s complete and streamlined solution for 3D design. With collaboration and a VR session—complete with realistic materials, textures, and environments—available at any time throughout the design solution via a single click, ICE enables multiple users to experience the same immersive design review in a shared world. The solution brings an enhanced spatial understanding of the product design to extended teams, no matter where they’re located, for faster, more accurate team decisions.
Emerging consumer trends like Smart Technology, Resimercial, and Product Customization are transforming the ways consumer products are being bought, sold and used. Today’s consumers want trendy, high-quality products and they want them fast. They share their likes and dislikes, and purchase products from multiple channels including brick-and-mortar retail locations, mobile apps, social media, and eCommerce websites.
These emerging trends are causing consumer goods manufacturers to re-evaluate the way they do business. In order to compete, they will need a product development process that can manage the full product lifecycle from gathering customer requirements, through product design, simulation, and manufacturing. Many consumer goods companies operate on a global scale, where they may design in one company, manufacture in several locations, and distribute products globally. Using PLM software to manage the collaboration between the remote functions is no longer an option, but a necessity if these companies want to compete in the digital economy.
Giving Consumers What They Want
The customer is always right─a commandment for consumer goods manufacturing companies where customer desires drive the designs and features of the next bicycle, office chair, or powered lawn mower. Today, more than ever, consumer wants and needs are driving the global consumer goods markets. Consumers are more demanding and particular than ever. They want high-quality products that are environmentally friendly, customizable and affordable. If they like what they buy, they’ll share their accolades with their friends and family via social media. If they’re unhappy, they’ll share it with the world.
While there are many factors consumers consider when purchasing new products for their home or office, a few emerging trends appear to be having a greater impact on product development and manufacturing requirements.
Smart or Connected Technology
Consumers want products that are connected via technology. Smart devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Home are everywhere. Not only do they allow ‘hands-free’ operation of smartphones and computers, they connect multiple devices throughout the home including lights, thermostats, security systems, and entertainment systems.
Another evolving industry is the mobile healthcare product used by healthcare providers to monitor and diagnose patients from remote distances. These smart technology products integrate enterprise applications, mobile apps and devices, and high-speed internet communications. Product design engineers have to consider how these new software-driven technologies influence the product development process.
New Workspace Trends Lead Towards Fully Customized Furniture
The mass adoption of mobile computing and wireless networking products have spawned a movement in the workplace. No longer do companies need to invest in ‘cubicle farms’ to house their employees to their hard-wired personal computers. Companies are tearing down the cubes and cork boards and creating collaborative workspaces with shared tables, comfortable work areas, and customized conference and meeting areas. Interior designers are also looking for more options in terms of materials, fabrics, and finishes. Living environments are also becoming popular with live plants interspersed into the workspace.
Furniture manufacturers are looking for ways to develop agile manufacturing methods in order to keep up with these ever-changing consumer demands.
A recent article posted on Huffpost.com discusses how resimercial─the trend of adding residential looks to commercial spaces is driving the demand for customization. Designers are looking for those ‘homey’ items that can make the workplace feel more personal. Anne Gibson, IIDA, LEED AP, Principal and Design Director for Gensler in Chicago, shed insight into how the term customization has evolved. “Ten years ago, ‘custom’ meant altering a standard product – asking for a new finish, modifying dimensions, or specifying a COM,” explains Gibson. “This kind of ‘custom’ was a small percentage of my work. Today, that level of alteration is the norm for every standard product and I am routinely using an obscure upholstery on a lounge chair with custom-trimmed throw pillows. And, now, a sizable percentage of the pieces I specify are entirely unique.” (source: Rising Demand for Custom Furniture).
So how do leaders of consumer goods manufacturers keep up with these growing trends?
While many organizations continue to use traditional product lifecycle management (PLM) software, innovative companies are embracing new technologies to streamline their product development processes. Cloud-based solutions can improve collaboration and data sharing among remote locations. Social media tools allow product managers to communicate and collaborate with their customers. Product designers can share realistic 3D prototypes using virtual reality (VR) tools and systems. Product engineers can use advanced simulation and testing tools to streamline their product development operations and increase their speed-to-market. These companies focus on breaking down departmental silos and look for better ways to leverage digital assets across the global enterprise.
Office Furniture Leader Improves Speed-to-Market
One company who found themselves dealing with this customization trend is Nowy Styl, a European leader in comprehensive furniture solutions and the third largest manufacturer of office furniture in Europe. With six brands and offices in 17 countries, Nowy Styl found themselves looking for their own solution to this demanding problem.
“Each of our customers have specific needs requiring individual analysis, space planning, and customized production and we pride ourselves on concepts that balance design and engineering,” said Tomasz Pardzik, CTO, Nowy Styl Group who implemented the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. “Dassault Systèmes’ industry solution experience helps our technical departments, personnel, partners and suppliers better communicate and monitor and detect issues early in the development process to optimize product quality.”
One of the key features of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is the ability to share ideas directly with the clients. “We are often using the virtual space to predefine and design the answers for our clients,” Pardzik said. “With the 3DS we can share our experience and knowledge directly with the clients.”
Putting Simulation to the Test
The sporting goods industry is always looking to improve performance. Bicycle manufacturers face the same pressures as the office furniture manufacturers, except in their case, customers want even more. “Lighter, stiffer, faster, and better ride quality are common goals,” says Jay Maas, analysis engineer with Trek Bicycles. “We couldn’t have stayed ahead of our competition without pushing our analyses to the next level.” With over 1,600 employees and 1.6 million bicycles sold each year, Trek is North America’s largest manufacturer of carbon bikes.
To improve their product’s performance they have turned to 3D simulation as part of their PLM solution to reduce the number of design iterations. Using the Abaqus finite element analysis (FEA) application from SIMULIA to test and predict stiffness values in the virtual world. According to Maas “Using simulation to predict that weight and stiffness ahead of time reduced the number of make-and-break cycles necessary to get where we needed to be.”
The My Product Portfolio Industry Solution from Dassault Systèmes
Integrating product marketing with design and manufacturing in a global consumer goods company can certainly be challenging without an integrated PLM solution. The My Product Portfolio solution from Dassault Systèmes allows consumer goods manufacturers to collaborate on a global basis to shorten product time-to-market and improve communications between product managers, design engineers, and manufacturing engineers to develop and build products with complex product configurations and change orders. It also helps engineers simulate and test products without the need for destructive testing and streamlines the manufacturing and machining processes.
How Product Designers Can Implement Concurrent Engineering with Traditional CADx Tools
UPDATE: Power’By is now called PLM Collaboration Services.
A new tech brief written by Jon Gable, Sales Director for Adaptive Corporation explains how the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE R2018x release allows organizations to implement concurrent engineering processes, that is, simultaneously working with other engineering and manufacturing functions.
… for most of the past 30 years, true concurrency was always limited to a certain extent due to how disparate file formats were used to capture and store data from the various engineering disciplines. Each of these different file formats necessitated some sort of translation to be effectively used by the various engineering functions, which hinders efficiency and timeliness…
Until recently, the 3DEXPERIENCE vision for concurrent engineering was only possible if a lengthy migration of the CAD tool to CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE was pursued. However, starting with the 3DEXPERIENCE R2018x release series, this will no longer be the case.
This tech brief will explain how 3DEXPERIENCE POWER’BY is changing the CADx paradigm and offering a new way to work concurrently with engineering tools such as CATIA V5, SOLIDWORKS, Creo, Ansys, Part Planner, Mastercam, etc.
UPDATE: Power’By is now PLM Collaboration Services?
In this blog post by Jonathan Scott of Razorleaf, he shares how the Dassault Systèmes POWER’BY capability on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can help with Digital Twin initiatives. He states that POWER’BY represents a “useful evolution in CAD authoring tools… and helps overcome the deficiencies in current CAD tools today”.
Other POWER’BY highlights he mentioned include:
Makes it easier for non-CAD users to quickly imagine new mechanical designs simply by mashing-up parts of BOMs of existing products
Takes advantage of high-end downstream capabilities, like DELMIA manufacturing planning and SIMULIA simulation without first having to rip-and-replace, or translate data from, their existing mid-range CAD tools
Enables users of any 3D CAD tool to leverage their data into instance-specific, digital twin models