Creo from PTC is the only CAD package that packages IoT -- or, at least will be when it gets the Product Insight module later this summer. I spoke with PTC's vp of product manager Paul Sager to understand how it will work, as well as learn more about the AR module being added this week. He has overall responsible for all CAD products at PTC.
Design for Connectivity
Once a product is out in the field, we don't know any more what is happening to it. But when we put sensors on it, and have the same sensors on the Creo model, then we have a "digital twin," as PTC calls it. The sensors send back data in real-time, which is the Internet of Things.
It's like an automobile, in which sensors report CO2 levels, fuel flow, tire rotation to the car's computer. It adjusts the settings to minimize pollution, maximize fuel economy, and boost traction. This particular optimization is, however, local to the vehicle. With IoT, data is transmitted back to head office. A simple example is the smart electric meter, which hourly transmits our usage to the electrical distribution company, and then using a Web browser we see how much electricity we used yesterday -- and compare us with our neighbors. (See figure 1.)
Figure 1 Comparing electrical consumption with neighbors, as collected by smart meters
IoT is useful for continuous testing, such as with race cars. The driver may report, "It didn't feel so great going through Hammerhead [corner]," and so the data collected at that time is replayed in the CAD system to figure out what happened -- and make adjustments to the vehicle.
IoT is used to learn why products failed. We can replay recorded sensor readings in Creo to see what happened when the part failed. Both of these are examples of one-to-one, where one product relates to one drawing set.
Now, when we design products, we end up making assumptions. Should the maximum weight a bucket holds on a front-end loader be two tons? Five tons? Mr Sager sees IoT capturing data from many loaders in the field to fine-tune our assumptions. It might be, he speculates, that front-end loaders in Texas mostly handle 2-ton loads typically, while those in Alaska 5 tons. The design change leads to a change in business, so that the manufacturer offers different models in different markets.
Mr Sager admits that too much data coming back from the field can become a problem. The danger then is that it gets ignored. So, it's important to capture the right information, and then Creo's digital model can give data feedback on data that is useful. (See figure 2.)
Figure 2 Data from sensors being reported in Creo (image source PTC)
Coming mid-year is Creo Product Insight, which captures real-time readings in the field, which are then replayed in the Creo CAD system. PTC is the only CAD vendor offering IoT design and analysis inside the CAD program.
VR is for games, but AR is for engineers. Augmented reality displays CAD models in situ, typically using a tablet and its camera to do the combining, as tablets can be moved easily around in 3D space.
Mr Sager says AR gives better insight to designers of how their products will work the field. "In CAD, I don't have a feel for the size, but AR lets me see it, like a motorcycle, on the floor next to me." (See figure 3.)
Figure 3 Motorcycle model displayed by Creo (left) and as an AR model by a tablet (image source PTC)
He then showed me how AR works:
In Creo, add a Thingmark. This is a PTC-designed bar code that's unique to the model. In the figure above, the Thingmark is inside the green hexagon.
Publish the model to PTC's server, and then share it, such as by sending out an email.
People who want to view the model print out the Thingmark on paper.
Scan the Thingmark code with the Thingview app on an Android or iOS tablet. This accesses the 3D rendered model from the server.
Move the tablet around to look at the part: "Can my hand fit inside?"
AR is being made possible in Creo through Vuforia integration. Vuforia is AR software that PTC acquired in 2015. The Thingview app can be downloaded free from the Apple and Google app stores.
The AR capability is due to be added to Creo through the M10 update at end of March, and available to all users. The free version lets us publish up to five models at a time; the sixth one would replace the oldest one. PTC will add more AR functions in the future.
C3D Labs is holding a free conference on the first day of COFES Keynote speaker is ASCON Group CEO Max Bogdanov
C3D Labs develops the C3D Toolkit, with modules for 3D geometry, 3D constraints, rendering, and import/export. It has been used for 20 years by the KOMPASS-3D MCAD program, and is now licensed by more than 20 other CAD/CAM/CAE vendors and is available through the Open Design Alliance.
Siemens providing Connecticut State colleges and universities with an in-kind grant of NX worth $315 million.
PTV Group's traffic simulation software now works with IPG Automotive's virtual test driving of automobile designs. The idea behind PTV/IPG is that you not only test drive automobiles virtually, but see how the car interacts with traffic. http://www.ptvgroup.com
A nystery company later this week announcing "first integration of AutoCAD into a business intelligence platform." According to the PR firm for the mystery company, "Integrating BI and AutoCAD can have immeasurable influence on the future of warehousing, material handling, logistics and the science of arranging space."
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