Elysium can offer high-quality 3D CAD translation. When there is a need to move 3D CAD data from system A to system B and to repair and optimize 3D data, Elysium can help. CADdoctor for NX is a plug-in tool for NX that checks and repairs PDQ errors to verify data that passes pre-defined PDQ criteria. 3D Visualization World Magazine interviewed Mr. Alexander Christ, Technical Expert at Elysium Europe S.A.R.L. to learn more about the company and products.
3DVW: Please share with us how you became involved in 3D and visualization related activities. What sparked your interest?
AC: From a young age, it was clear to me that engineering was my calling. Throughout my schooling, I applied to various internships to gain hands on experience on turning, milling, welding, casting, and so forth. Each internship gave me valuable insight on design process itself, how parts are manufactured and how to ensure product quality. As it still is in many industries today, the technical drawing was the master in manufacturing.
Nevertheless, I quickly recognized the potential of 3D models and their utilization in different downstream processes. In my first semester at the University of Applied Sciences in Friedberg, I started 3D CAD modeling with NX I-deas. In the following semesters, I learned to use various 3D CAD and CAE systems, and ever since, 3D engineering is part of my day-to-day work. My diploma thesis was about the optimization of weld spot distribution in BIW (Body in White) in 3D vehicle simulation at a German automotive OEM. In my time as a Ph.D. student at TU Darmstadt, I supervised lectures and tutorials in CAD and CAE, and was representative of TU Darmstadt in the JT Open community for five years. My research on JT emphasized my huge interest in visualization technology and the efficient reuse of 3D product data in product lifecycle.
3DVW: Could you please explain a bit of the history of Elysium Co. Ltd. and more specifically the main activities and markets that the company is focused upon?
AC: Elysium develops and markets interoperability solutions for the global PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) market with thousands of customers worldwide and millions of files translated. Founded in 1984, Elysium is headquartered in Hamamatsu, Japan, and has additional offices in France, Germany, and the U.S. With about 100 employees world-wide and a network of partners and distributors, Elysium has become the favored solution of many world-class companies for translating, repairing, and ensuring the product data quality (PDQ) of 3D CAD, CAM and CAE models. Major markets for Elysium are automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and many others. When an engineer and/or a company want to move their 3D CAD data from system A to system B, plus repair and optimize the 3D data; Elysium has the solution.
3DVW: How important is 3D and visualization in the products that the company produces?
AC: Elysium is a software company. 3D product data is the essence of all our interoperability solutions. It is more than just geometry and topology that represent your 3D product data. You also need to consider assembly structures and constraints, user defined and system attributes, and Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI). Due to different kernels and methods in CAD systems, the exchange and translation of 3D product data is still a challenge. With 99.99 percent B-rep accuracy, Elysium can offer high-quality 3D CAD translation. The technology behind it is the core of most our product lines including CADdoctor, ASFALIS and DirectTranslator. Besides translation, we offer technologies to check PDQ, validate geometry, assembly structures, PMI as well as attributes, and simplify geometry—e.g., enveloping for IP protection in collaboration scenarios, or feature removal for preprocessing of CAE models.
3DVW: Recently we received your press information about the updated CADdoctor for NX product. Please describe what that product does and why users find it useful.
AC: CADdoctor for NX is a plug-in tool for NX that checks and repairs PDQ errors to verify that your data passes pre-defined PDQ criteria. CADdoctor for NX has primarily been developed for a Japanese automotive OEM and is utilized as an official quality check tool of 3D CAD data with its powerful healing capability. By utilizing our software, they were able to streamline their data distribution process inside and outside of them. It is a great tool for any NX user as high PDQ is guaranteed as they design. With the latest version of CADdoctor for NX Ver3.0, we have added a functionality to repair only the error elements, while the rest of the model and the feature history remain as is.
3DVW: Elysium Co. Ltd. is also involved in other aspects of 3D related design including BIM (building information modeling), point cloud analysis and data format activity. Can you tell us about the work involved in these areas and your products in these areas?
AC: As mentioned above, Elysium develops geometry handling and interoperability solutions for digital design and PLM markets. We have been working closely with CAD vendors under official partnerships, as well as world-leading companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, Renault Sport F1 Team, and Northrop Grumman Corporation. With millions of files translated and thousands of customers worldwide, Elysium’s technology has been proved one and only. With our powerful background accumulated throughout our 30-year history, we have stepped into a new industry—the utilization of 3D scanned point cloud data.
InfiPoints—a one stop solution for point cloud utilization—offers capabilities for import of multiple scan data formats including native scanner data, and viewing of large scale point clouds. In preprocessing, InfiPoints is capable of automatic registration with automatic noise reduction, target recognition and coordinate transformation. It also helps you to analyze your point cloud data with functionality for precise and safe measurement using extracted planes and cylinders, real-time interference checks for installation simulations, and comparison between CAD and point cloud data via overlay.
My favorite capability in InfiPoints is the automatic pipe extraction. This can save Building Information Modeling (BIM) engineers weeks of time compared to modeling everything manually from scratch without references of existing facilities, equipment, etc. We also offer functions for modeling of equipment and steel structures as well as mesh creation. This allows BIM engineers to start their actual modeling process directly in InfiPoints based on the scanned data. InfiPoints can then create several collaborative outputs, like IFC with pipes or steel attributes, orthogonal images, fly-through videos, standalone viewer files with external links. Like I said before, InfiPoints is your powerful one stop solution for handling of point cloud data. Compared to conventional workflows, it can save you up to 50 percent of your time.
3DVW: We often hear about users having loads of design and geometry data, but they are unable to integrate it in a focused way, and or the quality of the data is variable. How can your company help these people?
AC: Your statement is 100 percent correct. We are facing similar challenges. The IT environment and related engineering systems, such as PLM and CAD, typically grow organically and independently from one another. There is a common issue that companies face when juggling the coexistence of multiple systems and applications; in other words, seamless utilization of 3D data is a key factor for a successful enterprise.
If you look into engineering, you will already find a lot of different systems like CAD, CAM, CAE, PLM, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), etc. Additionally, you have tools for collaboration and data exchange with customers, suppliers or partners. In a nutshell, there is a strong need for interoperability solutions in the industry, and we are not even talking about the quality of the data. In past decades, we have seen different approaches to integrate in a focused way. Basically, you can divide these approaches into two groups: integration and distribution.
Approaches for integration try to define a common definition and representation of geometry and design data. Following this approach, neutral formats like STEP or JT have been developed. These neutral formats serve as central interface between all systems. This means each system is expected not only to create, but also to import and export neutral file formats. In the distribution approach, all systems remain the same using their native format, but you have to add interfaces that allow the data exchange between all systems.
If a new system is added, all existing systems need a new interface to support the new system. Of course, you can argue if the distribution will lead to an integration in the end. Nevertheless, we support both approaches with our interoperability solutions. We provide capabilities for the native-to-native CAD translation as well as the translation to/from neutral formats. With our cutting-edge technology and over 30 years of experience, we are proud to offer best-in-industry solutions for translation and healing of input data with poor quality.
3DVW: Focusing again on data quality, can you describe a few cases where your products have improved data quality for users? Please describe their workflow and the problem that you helped solve.
AC: The healing of 3D data is a very important and exciting topic. That is why one of our main products is called CADdoctor. As described above, we have to support dozens of different CAD systems and formats for both input and output. When engineers use different CAD systems (also different versions of the same CAD system) and different CAD formats in multi-CAD environments, they cannot guarantee that the input quality will always remain the same. Of course, the quality of the input data will vary. With that being said, most of our solutions implement an automatic data healing function. Users can define the level of healing they want to apply from minimum to maximum.
One big success story is from a Japanese automotive company. They have been using CADdoctor for NX to check and heal all existing CAD files, which dramatically decreased potential errors which would have been caused due to poor data quality.
Besides healing, the validation of 3D CAD data has to be considered when discussing data quality. With our validation technology, we offer an automated solution that detects quality deviations in 3D geometry, structures, attributes and semantic PMI. Our automatic validation has been well received in automotive and aerospace industries as it saves engineers’ months of work compared to manual validation, as well as for its contribution to eliminate potential risk of misdetection.
3DVW: We understand that your company has been involved more recently in work that includes augmented reality, particularly Oculus Rift. What is that all about?
AC: As mentioned above, InfiPoints allows users to process point cloud data—precise measuring, collision detection, CAD model generation, and more—in front of computers. InfiPoints for Oculus is designed to provide InfiPoints users with capabilities to view processed point cloud data in virtual reality—even sharing the same view among multiple clients—using the Head Mounted Display (HMD) Oculus Rift and the Oculus Touch controller.
They can also work within the replicated real world—embed notes, hand-measure, etc. Deploying HMD is expected to benefit all project members including designing engineers, onsite engineers, sales persons, and clients. Each project member is able to gain a good picture of the data, and discover many details through VR immersion. This will also ease succeeding the know-how to next generations, and proposals to clients. The Oculus Rift integration now enables users to be virtually on site with a much deeper experience of the point cloud data.
3DVW: We see the continuing trend toward shortening the time between data capture / creation and the design output process that is leading to shortening of the design cycle. What steps can be taken to ensure data quality is maintained as speed in the design process increases?
AC: You must take a look at the whole design process, starting with the definition of requirements up to the documentation of the product that will serve as input for production planning and manufacturing itself. The first step to maintain data quality is to set the right requirements and tolerances. These properties must be well documented before you start with the actual modeling of your product. Once the 3D model is created you can check the PDQ using our software solutions. We also enable PDQ checks based on industry guidelines coming from the automotive industry (VDA, SASIG, JAMA, etc.).
The second step is the deployment of the right translation tools. In the design process, various systems with different product data models are used internally in a company and externally in collaboration with partners and suppliers. Our translation solutions utilize the APIs of CAD systems to achieve the highest quality and accuracy of 3D models. The third step is to use sophisticated validation technology. To be efficient, you will have to validate 3D geometry, assembly structures, attributes and semantic PMI automatically.
3DVW: Could you explain how your products are being used in terms of Asset Management processes?
AC: We see ourselves as interoperability solutions provider. Elysium offers software that helps you to handle your 3D data from creation in design down to manufacturing. With our CADfeature platform, for example, we have the best-in-class solution for CAD migration. CADfeature allows you to use feature-based migration from one CAD system to another while preserving the design intent and the logic of your models. Nowadays most of the companies are already using 3D CAD systems in design and development of their products, so this is more of a displacement market. Still, the switch to a new CAD system is a critical decision for a company that consumes a lot of money and effort. It is a key enabler for CAD migration to maintain the data quality, and the design and manufacturing knowledge which is implicitly stored in the 3D models.
Beyond securing company know-how, all our products contribute to the concept of Total Asset Management (TAM). We offer solutions for single engineers performing their daily work manually up to global operating companies with highly automated processes and a throughput of thousands of datasets per day. Hence, we tackle issues from individual persons up to whole organizations and help them protect their assets. Our interoperability solutions are widely used in all lifecycle processes and are well established at world-class companies and their related supply chains.
Mr. Alexander Christ, Technical Expert at Elysium Europe S.A.R.L. Alexander Christ has been working as research assistant at the Department of Computer Integrated Design (DiK) at TU Darmstadt until 2016. His research activities have focused the development of methods and tools for CAD, CAE and PLM. In 2017, Alexander Christ joined Elysium Europe. He is representing the interests of Elysium in Germany and supervises business activities in the German-speaking area.
For more information: Elysium