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I know that I need a CAD viewer. Or: Can I solve this problem for my company by using visualization?

There are many problems and tasks in the manufacturing industry that can be solved with the help of a suitable CAD viewer or high-end visualization tool. Below, we have provided some answers to our most frequently asked questions, tasks and scenarios.

Might also be helpful: 3DViewStation HelpCenter

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Questions, tasks and scenarios

1. We are a small to medium-sized company. Is such a powerful tool as 3DViewStation even something we need?

More than 3,000 companies use the 3DViewStation - from one-man companies to large corporations, partly as a 3D CAD viewer on individual workstations, partly as a company-wide visualization solution for 3D CAD, 2D CAD, Office and images. Of these companies, 70% use the desktop version, most often stand-alone, i.e. without integration, as fixed or floating (network) licenses. These two forms of licensing are very beneficial to small and medium-sized enterprises. The other 30%, including smaller companies, use the 3DViewStation WebViewer version as a web-based solution or for mobile users.

2. We are a supplier to the automotive industry and receive data from Catia, NX, Creo, STEP, JT and so on, which we first have to analyze for the quotation calculation. What is the right product for me here?

Here the 3DViewStation Desktop version plus the option: "with all 3D importers" is the right choice. This allows you to quickly read all native and standard 3D CAD data, take measurements, calculate volumes and surfaces and save your work in views. If you receive the order, it is easy to compare the newly received data with the data from the time the quotation was prepared, so that any deviations can be detected early on.

3. We only need a 3D CAD viewer for single workstations, for use on normal Windows PCs. What options do you offer us here?

The 3DViewStation Desktop version can be operated with Windows on desktops, notebooks and tablet PCs. The Kisters 3DViewStation also runs on Linux (using Wine) and Mac-OS (using Parallels). For individual seats we offer fixed seat licenses which are bound to the respective machine. Users from the areas of sales & marketing, design review, change management, work preparation, production, documentation, spare parts management, etc. can thus map their 3D CAD visualization processes reliably, efficiently and cost-effectively. For this purpose, the Kisters 3DViewStation is a high-performance 3D viewer, i.e. a 3D CAD viewer for native formats such as Catia V5, Catia V4, NX, Creo, Pro-Engineer, SolidWorks, Inventor, SolidEdge, Parasolid and neutral formats such as STEP, 3D-PDF, JT, with loading times of 1 second for a 5 GB assembly (in 3DVS format). The Kisters 3DViewStation offers, among others, the important analysis functions measuring, dimensioning, cutting, a 3D comparison function and real MultiCAD-DMU, i.e. data from different CAD systems can be loaded together and examined without conversion. Assemblies can be organized in views and prepared for meetings: e.g. parts can be shown and hidden, colors can be changed, transparencies defined, annotations and markups can be applied. In complex assemblies, you can search, filter objects by type, metadata or even colors.

4. Our project managers often travel to our automotive OEMs and have to load and examine their latest data, usually Catia, NX or JT, ad hoc together with our molds and tools. What's the best way to do that?

Again, the 3DViewStation Desktop version as an upgrade "with all 3D importers" is the best option. Simply load your data and use drag & drop to load additional data, regardless of the data format, into the existing model. You do not need any pre-conversion, no preparation time. You can work on the PC or notebook with a fixed license, or borrow a license from the pool of floating licenses for the duration of the visit.

5. We have more and more mobile users and therefore the demand for solutions for mobile devices and browsers is growing. Which concept makes sense for 2D and 3D CAD data?

We noticed that there is an ever changing and increasing amount of choices for mobile devices. We all use notebooks, smartphones and tablet PCs every day. They have proven their worth for applications such as email, messengers, browsers, games and specialized services such as maps and hotels. But what about 2D and 3D CAD viewing? Does it make sense to use them on smartphones? Is it even possible?

The smallest devices are smartphones. When we travel, we usually have a rather limited bandwidth and a rather small display compared to WLAN. Would we want to travel with native CAD data on the phone? We tend to believe that any responsible person in your company would be less than thrilled to see that. We think we have a good solution that will allow you to get access to your data in the shortest possible time, with a mobile device. It is located somewhere in the cloud, maybe in your private cloud or in the repository of your PLM system. To make life as comfortable as possible for the user, we convert the data into a lightweight view format in advance. Give the user a client that plays back a 2D drawing or 3D model that is rendered on a server in real time. Let the user select parts with his fingers, rotate, push and zoom the model and let a server execute these commands. Do not make your users wait until the 3D data has been transferred to the device. Give these users access now with the 3DViewStation WebViewer version!

On the larger 8 or 10 inch tablets you have the choice between different operating systems, native apps and browser-based clients. The browser-based clients work on all operating systems, including Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, MAC-OS. But let’s not forget about the Tablet PCs with Windows. They are spreading more and more and they have an advantage: you can run native RT Apps or classic Windows applications. This allows us to use a 2D and 3D CAD viewer, the 3DViewStation desktop version with native CAD importers and full feature set, e.g. analysis, markup and text annotation functions. This eliminates the reduction in functionality that is typical with apps.

With our 3DViewStation product family, we at Kisters address many scenarios of mobile use: our Kisters 3DViewStation WebViewer Clients run on all devices and operating systems. Take advantage of server-side rendering for mobile users, with limited bandwidth and for HTML5-based installation-free clients. At the same time, your data is protected because at no time will 3D data, 2D drawings or office documents be on the end device - and the functionality is exactly the same as on our desktop version. Use our Kisters 3DViewStation Desktop or ActiveX products on Windows Tablet PCs and work with lightweight or native 3D CAD data. The performance is impressive:  on an i5 notebook, we load a 5GB Catia V5 module as a 3DVS file in just 1 second, on a small 8 inch Dell with an Atom processor it takes only 3 seconds. Try it out for yourself!


6. We are a plastic injection molding company and need to check 3D CAD data from various sources for undercuts. Can the 3DViewStation do this?

Yes, if you use the 3D Advanced Analysis option with 3DViewStation Desktop, you will have a draft angle analysis and a split function available. The experienced user can already detect undercuts with the draft angle analysis. With the split function, which takes undercuts into account, you’re able to not only determine all necessary directions of demolding, but also split the model to make it suitable for production.

7. We are looking for a good comparison function for 3D CAD models and technical 2D drawings, so that we can more easily check which changes have been made between 2 versions. What possibilities does the 3DViewStation offer us in this respect?

With 3DViewStation you can easily compare 3D CAD data and 2D drawings: open the first file, add the second file to the same model e.g. by drag & drop or by "import" and then start the comparison. Now the differences are displayed using false colors (red-green comparison), whereby the colors can be freely selected. Unchanged geometries receive a third color, usually gray. On the one hand, there is a quick comparison function, which works very well with large assemblies, and on the other hand, there is the so-called exact comparison function, which requires BREP data (exact CAD data) as a basis, but works with transparencies in the display to detect hidden differences. It should be noted that while the comparison is active, you can simultaneously cut and/or measure the 3D model. It is also possible to save each state as a view.

8. As a manufacturing company, we are looking for a solution that allows us to display, on screen, as many files as possible that we receive or have in-house, whether 3D CAD or Office. What does Kisters have to offer here?

The Kisters 3DViewStation is a true universal viewer, suitable for company-wide viewing. It supports about 60 data formats from all areas, such as 3D CAD, native and standard, 2D CAD drawings, images and office documents. Among them are Catia, NX, Creo, JT, STEP, Inventor, Solidworks, AutoCAD DWG and DXF, but also Revit, GLTF, e57 Laser Scans, 3D PDF, 2D PDF, SVG, CGM, TIFF, DOCX, XLSX and many more. In some of the data formats can also be exported. For all data formats there are navigation and analysis functions, such as measure, dimension, cut, compare and also redline & markup. This allows the 3DViewStation to be used as a universal 3D CAD viewer for sales & marketing, design review, change management, work preparation, manufacturing, technical documentation and spare parts management, among others.

9. We would like to equip our power users with a powerful 3D CAD viewer as a desktop version, but also give our occasional users an equivalent solution without administration and installation efforts. What does Kisters offer here?

Kisters offers a 3DViewStation desktop version and a WebViewer version with the same functionality to achieve this goal. This is unique worldwide. Power users use the 3DViewStation daily, often on their notebook, on the road and on site with customers or in review meetings at home. The 3DViewStation WebViewer Server is set up on-premises in your own network and then it allows any user who has access to a browser to access 3D and 2D CAD data. Once the WebViewer has been installed, it is quickly used by mobile users as well, since they no longer need to take the data with them but can access it online.

10. We are a foundry and we are looking for a software to examine the incoming 3D CAD geometries, mostly STEP, JT, NX or Creo. We would like to do this without a CAD system, because the cost and training effort is too high for us. What do you recommend?

Part of the 3D Advanced Analysis option for the 3DViewStation Desktop version is a wall thickness analysis often used by foundries to identify critical areas within a 3D CAD model. There are two methods available: the Ray and Rolling Ball methods. On one hand, this allows the wall thickness to be measured selectively, on the other hand, the wall thickness of the entire component can be analyzed (gradual color palette). The draft angle analysis and the split function are also important tools for foundries.

11. We only get neutral formats like STEP and have to use them for calculation and production. Unfortunately, the functionalities of the free JT- and STEP-Viewer are not sufficient for us to do our job. What can the Kisters 3DViewStation offer here?

The 3DViewStation reads many data formats, such as JT (BREP and tessellated, also PMIs) and STEP (all derivatives, also with 3D annotations / PMIs, also STEP tesselated) and offers a total of over 180 interactive functionalities, with the help of which every employee in all sub-processes of a manufacturing company can do his work quickly and efficiently. The 3DViewStation has been developed in close cooperation with various customers and has been continuously adapted to current market requirements. The 3DViewStation is fast, supports many native data formats, offers rich functionality for any application and is easy to use. Of course 3DvuewStation is not free, but over 3,000 companies using 3DViewStation today find our prices justified.

12. We need an analysis tool, advanced viewing and digital mockup (DMU) tool for various 3D CAD data, such as Catia, NX, Inventor and JT. Is the 3DViewStation suitable here?

The analysis of 2D & 3D CAD data is one of the central tasks of an advanced 2D & 3D CAD viewer. The Kisters 3DViewStation provides extensive functions intuitively and with high performance. Analyses of 3D CAD data and 2D drawings are necessary in many stages of the product life cycle. Of course, these analyses can be performed with the CAD systems or other tools of the respective CAD providers. However, with the Kisters 3DViewStation we offer you an inexpensive solution that works equally well for all CAD systems, with high performance and intuitively. The Kisters 3DViewStation processes data from Catia V5, Catia V6, NX, Creo /Pro-Engineer, SolidWorks, Inventor, SolidEdge, Parasolid, ACIS and neutral formats such as STEP, 3D-PDF, JT but also DWG, DXF, 2D-PDF as well as various image formats. This makes the Kisters 3DViewStation a full-fledged tool that allows you to perform your analyses independent of the data format. This allows you to use not only native CAD formats, but also popular formats such as 2D & 3D PDF or JT as standard formats for all visualizations and analyses – after the free viewers reached their limits.

The Kisters 3DViewStation offers, among other things, the important analysis functions: measuring, dimensioning, cutting, volume, surface and cut contour calculations, a deformation bevel and wall thickness analysis, 3D comparison functions, clash and clearance analysis, distance band calculation and real MultiCAD-DMU (Digital Mockup). In addition, data from different CAD systems can be loaded together, positioned and examined ad hoc without prior conversion. For 2D drawings there are 2D measurement, 2D dimensioning and a 2D comparison function, all analogous to the 3D counterparts. This enables users from the fields of engineering, design review, change management, manufacturing, etc. to map their 2D and 3D CAD visualization processes reliably, efficiently and cost-effectively.

The 3DViewStation Desktop version can be operated on Windows on desktops, notebooks and tablet PCs. The client of the 3DViewStation WebViewer version runs on all platforms and offers the same functionalities as the desktop version.

13. As a manufacturing company, we need a tool for preparing various 3D CAD data for our subsequent processes. What can we expect from the 3DViewStation?

All possible users in sales & marketing, design review, change management, work preparation, manufacturing, documentation, spare parts management, etc. need access to the 3D CAD data generated by designers. In each sub-process, different demands are placed on a visualization solution, but there are also similarities: short waiting times, simple operation and low price.

With the 3DViewStation, Kisters offers an all-in-one tool that reads data from Catia V5, Catia V6, NX, Creo / Pro-Engineer,SolidWorks, Inventor, Revit, SolidEdge, Parasolid and neutral formats such as STEP, IFC, 3D-PDF and JT, with extremely low loading times of e.g. 1 second for a 5 GB assembly (in 3DVS format). Due to the office-like interface, the operation is intuitive and easy to learn. Nevertheless, the functionality is so rich that the sales department can quickly obtain all the necessary information about the native CAD data for its quotation, marketing can easily extract high-resolution images of an assembly, and project engineers can also prepare for their meetings well, thanks to the view concept, and submit change requests via e-mail using markups, annotations and the copy-to-clipboard function. For communication purposes, 3D PDF or JT files can be quickly extracted. The technical documentation department is happy about the possibility to explode assemblies, to add extension lines and annotations and to export illustrations. You also have the choice whether you want to work in the respective process, e.g. at the customer's site, independently from a PLM system stand-alone with the 3DViewStation Desktop Version, integrated in a PLM system with the Desktop Version, or possibly also on your mobile device with the WebViewer Version.

14. For us, JT is the standard file format for all processes. Is the 3DViewStation a useful tool for analysis, advanced viewing and digital mockup (DMU) of JT data?

The Kisters 3DViewStation is a powerful and user-friendly tool to process, prepare and convert JT data in your process chain including DMU.
JT is an important industry standard that has been established primarily by the automotive industry. JT has already replaced native 3D CAD data in many processes. JT is only the data format, Kisters 3DViewStation is a full tool for Digital Mockups, for analysis, preparation and conversion of your JT data.
Since JT can include both BREP and tessellation, it is mainly used in engineering processes. If you try to use the free JT2Go Viewer in these processes, you will quickly reach the limits of acceptance due to the operating concept and functionality. This is where the Kisters 3DViewStation offers an alternative: in addition to view and navigation functions including PMIs (GD&T, MDB), it provides full digital mockup (DMU) and analysis functions for engineering users, such as the creation of mockups, measurement, dimensioning, cutting, volume, surface and cut contour calculations, wall thickness and deformation angle analysis, distance band clculation, clash & clearance analysis, calculation of the neutral fiber of pipes, feature recognition and a 3D comparison function. For design reviews, however, JT assemblies can also be organized in views and prepared for meetings, such as showing and hiding parts, changing colors, defining transparency, and applying annotations and markups. In complex assemblies you can search, filter objects by type, metadata or even by color. Your colleagues in the work preparation department can use the Kisters 3DViewStation as an authoring system to derive manufacturing and assembly steps from the 3D model and make them available as JT.
If your CAD data is still available in the native format, Kisters 3DViewStation as a multi-CAD viewer, allows you to convert them into the JT format. If you need a batch conversion from and to JT, the Kisters Automation Server (KAS) is available.
Especially external (but also internal) colleagues who have rather lower demands on 3D viewing are typical JT2Go users who use the JT data prepared with the Kisters 3DViewStation in their processes.

15. We use Solidworks and typically eDrawings for internal viewing. However, this is functionally too limited and often too slow for us. Do you have a recommendation for us?

If you only use Solidworks, then the 3DViewStation "Single CAD Importer" version would be suitable for you. Even without an additional option, it offers much more functionality than eDrawings. The Kisters 3DViewStation reads native Solidworks data extremely fast. Even faster loading is possible in 3DViewStation's own 3DVS format. The functionalities available for native CAD data and 3DVS format are identical - only you will not see loading times of more than one second.

16. We use Solidworks and usually eDrawings to send to external business partners. We don't feel very comfortable with this, because we don't like to hand over geometries unless it is absolutely necessary. What alternatives does Kisters offer here?

Simply use our collaboration and CAD sharing solution Kisters VisShare instead of eDrawings. You can run VisShare on your own infrastructure. Simply drag and drop a file into a project and send a link (temporarily, if necessary) by e-mail. Done. The 3DViewStation WebViewer version is used for display, which does not load any 3D data onto the end device - your data is safe, you do not give it away. If you are working with an OEM for a longer period of time, for example, you can set up a new project with just a few clicks, assign the required users the appropriate access rights and upload the CAD data.

17. Why should we use 3DViewStation for visualizing 3D PDF data and not the free Adobe Reader or Acrobat?

The Kisters 3DViewStation helps you to use 3D PDF as a universal, lightweight and widely accepted data format in all your processes. PDF is a very universal container for texts, graphics and much more up to 3D-CAD data. We all use PDF and have therefore all installed Adobe Reader and are familiar with its operation. But is PDF also a data format that can stand comparison with other formats such as JT?
Since 3D PDF can include both BREP and tessellation, all the requirements for a process format that also includes engineering processes are met. However, if you only want to use Adobe Reader or Acrobat in these processes, you will soon come up against limits regarding the functionality of these products. Here, the Kisters 3DViewStation closes a gap: in addition to view and navigation functions including PMIs (GD&T, MDB), it provides full-fledged Digital Mockup (DMU) and analysis functions for engineering users such as generation of mockups, measurement, dimensioning, cutting, volume, surface and section contour calculations, a deformation angle or wall thickness analysis and a 3D comparison function. For design reviews, 3D PDF assemblies can also be organized into views and prepared for upcoming meetings: e.g. parts can be faded in and out, colors can be changed and transparencies defined, and annotations & markups can be applied. In complex assemblies, you can search, filter objects by type, metadata or even colors. The colleagues in the work preparation department can use the Kisters 3DViewStation as an authoring system to derive manufacturing and assembly steps from the 3D model and make them available as 3D PDF, e.g. inserted into a prepared template.

18. We are looking for a 3D CAD viewer that runs on smartphones. Is the 3DViewStation suitable for this?

Yes, it is. Here, we would recommend the 3DViewStation WebViewer version. Spontaneously one would think of an app that can open the CAD data. But a closer look reveals many disadvantages of such a solution: the usually sensitive 3D CAD data would have to be transferred to the smartphone. This is risky because the intellectual property cannot be protected in this way. Moreover, this is very slow, as CAD data can be quite complex today and therefore a download process can take a long time - especially when using a mobile data service.  Do you think that such an app provides the expected functionality? All these problems do not exist if you use the 3DViewStation WebViewer version. The server is installed in your company network, access is secured by authentication, the smartphone only uses a browser to visualize the CAD data online, but at no time are 3D geometries ever transferred to it. Mobile access is extremely fast and at the same time the user has all the navigation and analysis functions that they are already familiar with from the desktop version.

19. We want to convert our production to paperless. This means that from now on we are dealing with 3D annotated CAD data (PMIs, GD&T, FT&A). Does the Kisters 3DViewStation support MBD (Model Based Definition) procedures?

Yes, in Germany, instead of MBD or MBE (Model based Enterprise) one rather speaks of the "3D Master Concept". The 3DViewStation not only reads the PMIs of Catia, NX, Creo, Solidworks, JT, STEP... among others, but also recognizes predefined views, it receives the associativity of PMI and associated feature. According to customer requests we also allow the user to apply application settings of the 3DViewStation when importing PMI data, so that e.g. the display of the sections can be influenced. 3D annotated models are often used in TDPs (Technical Data Package).

20. We are a corporate group, using Siemens NX with Teamcenter as PLM system and Teamcenter Visualization (TCVis). Why should we use the Kisters 3DViewStation?

With the above combination you seem to be basically well positioned. However, TCVis users tell us that they have experienced Teamcenter Visualization as not very user-friendly. We have customers who, after several days of training with TCVis and then only a 2-hour demo of the 3DViewStation, have clearly decided in favor of the Kisters 3DViewStation: the functionality is absolutely comparable and ranges from simple 3D & 2D CAD viewing to DMU (Digital Mockup). Work is made easier because both NX and JT data can be processed directly, i.e. without conversion. Operation is very easy thanks to the intuitive office-like user interface. In addition, there is an equivalent, almost identical web version to the familiar desktop version, which is very convenient for mobile users.  Finally, Kisters is the only manufacturer worldwide to offer an additional VR edition that uses the same graphics core of the 3DViewStation desktop and WebViewer versions, thus providing the same functionality, performance (even with 10 million components) and APIs for integration. Moreover, the system requirements of 3DViewStation are significantly lower than those of TC Visualization.

21. We are a plant / mechanical engineering / aerospace / shipbuilding / shipyard company and have really complex assemblies with millions of components. Does the use of a CAD viewer like the 3DViewStation make sense here?

Absolutely. We are very proud that we are always finding ways and means to make 3DViewStation faster. Ultimately it is you - our customers - who drive us. We have automobile manufacturers such as truck, car or sports car manufacturers whose assembly sizes are only 80,000 to 130,000 components. That is easy for the 3DViewStation, no matter if the user works on desktop, WebViewer or VR version. We have aircraft and helicopter manufacturers with complexities ranging from 700,000 to 3 million parts - here, on desktops or online with the 3DViewStation WebViewer, they like to use our fast navigation and filtering capabilities to quickly isolate and then analyze specific areas. For passenger ships, we are already at about 10 million components - no problem for the 3DViewStation Desktop or WebViewer versions, but even our 3DViewStation VR edition loads such an assembly completely in just 15 seconds. This is world class, since most VR solutions are based on gaming engines that either give up at 20,000 parts or, with luck, at 150,000 parts. However, our top performers are machine and plant manufacturers. There our customers work with 3D CAD Catia models of about 200 million components. Try out your most complex assemblies with the 3DViewStation.

22. For us, variant management within the PLM system is a current topic, also with regard to our product configurator. How does the 3DViewStation support us here?

Thanks to its powerful APIs (programming interface), 3DViewStation is able to load assemblies not only monolithically but also dynamically. For this purpose, components or subassemblies are placed in the correct position with correct orientation (rotation) via transformation matrix at runtime. In the case of non-monolithic assemblies, we are also talking here about virtual product structures or a "fully shattered" approach. Today, the information about the transformation matrices is available as metadata in many PLM systems, such as 3DExperience, Teamcenter Engineering, Activeworkspace, Windchill or SAP. They are a basic prerequisite for the illustration of a Digital Twin, which is then used from the product configurator to the production and after sales (MRO) solution.

23. For the work preparation, we are looking for a tool with which we can prepare 3D CAD data according to the work steps for assembly. What can you provide?

The 3DViewStation Desktop version is most suitable for determining the work steps. Simply load the 3D CAD data, e.g. disassemble the assembly step-by-step, provide textual instructions if necessary, save as views, invert the sequence - done.
The colleagues at the respective workstation can either work with a desktop version as well, possibly on a large touch display, or use our 3DViewStation WebViewer version - therefore no local installation is required and it also works on tablet PCs and touch displays.

24. I work in technical documentation and am looking for an authoring system that allows me to use 3D CAD data as a starting point for extracting images and vector drawings with as little effort as possible. What can the Kisters 3DViewStation do for me?

The 3DviewStation already offers standard functions for loading and preparing 3D assemblies. They can be rendered differently: both shaded and as line graphics, so that they look like a technical illustration - even though everything is still 3D. The work results can now be exported and used either as images (bitmaps) or as vector drawings. With the "Tech-Doc" option we simplify the creation of exploded views with position number graphics considerably. Unique numbers can be assigned at the push of a button and these can be applied automatically with pull-out lines in different layouts. It is also possible to have the automatic arrangement of the position number graphics reapplied each time the assembly is rotated.

25. For the technical documentation, we are looking for an authoring system with which we can prepare 3D CAD data with as little effort as possible and then make it available online in 3D. How does it work with the Kisters 3DViewStation?

The procedure is the same as for creating images and illustrations, see above.  Except that you can save yourself the effort of the 2D export. Instead, the 3DViewStation WebViewer version is used for viewing, typically as part of an online solution. If the 3DViewStation WebViewer is available anyway, it can also be used as an authoring system for generating content instead of the 3DViewStation Desktop version - after all, it has the same functions.

26. We want to use 3D data for spare parts management. How can the Kisters 3DViewStation be of use to us here?

As an authoring system, the 3DViewStation, in this instance mostly as a desktop version, can be used to implement all manual preparatory work, such as exploding assemblies, providing them with position number graphics and saving them as views. For display in the spare parts application you can use exported images or vector drawings or you can leave the data in 3D and use the 3DViewStation WebViewer for display in the spare parts catalog. The WebViewer is usually completely integrated into the user interface of the spare parts application. If you click on a part, it will be highlighted in the parts list for ordering. If you click on a part in the parts list, the part will be highlighted in the context of the assembly in the 3D scene.

27. We need to share our 3D CAD data with our business partners, but we want to protect our intellectual property as much as possible. What can you offer us?

With the 3DViewStation you can have all objects that are not visible from the outside (internal parts) removed automatically. On the other hand, you can also alienate construction data (BREP), so that the objects still look very good, but the radii, wall thicknesses etc. are no longer correct and the data is therefore no longer suitable for the production of fake spare parts, plagiarism. The removal of invisible objects and the alienation can also be fully automated with our batch tool: KAS.

28. We are looking for a way to reduce native and neutral 3D CAD data so that we can load them in a CAD or VR session or even 3D printing. Can you help us here?

The idea here is to automatically reduce the amount of data, resulting in simplified & reduced files, although the reduction strategy may vary depending on the application. With the 3DViewStation product family we have several options at our disposal:

  1. CAD System, Design-in-Context
    Component suppliers often provide their assemblies as STEP files because they can be read easily by all CAD systems. But, unfortunately STEP is a rather slow data format, so import processes can take several hours or even days. Here it is possible to completely remove invisible parts with the 3DViewStation and to export the result as STEP, for example. Customers report a reduction in import times from 1 day to 40 minutes.
  2. 3D PRINTING  
    Here too, optimization can be achieved by removing invisible objects completely. Since 3D printers usually use tessellated (triangulated) data, you can also reduce complexity by reducing the number of triangles. The preparation and printing time can be reduced considerably, and the reductions may make printing possible in the first place.
  3. VR / AR applications
    Using complex CAD data in VR/AR today can require preparation times of days to weeks. Again, the complexity must be reduced considerably, because a) VR glasses like the HTC Vive require frame rates of 2x 90 fps, which is a challenge, and b) AR glasses are often very low performance. If you don't want to or cannot work with the Kisters 3DViewStation VR-Edition, there is a limited solution based on Unity's game engine, however, you are forced to reduce your data, sometimes drastically. Again, the 3DViewStation and also KAS, our batch tool with automation for removing objects and reducing tessellation, help here.
29. I am a developer and I am looking for an easy to integrate graphics engine for 3D CAD data for our application. Is there an SDK of the 3DViewStation?

No, there is no SDK. But, all members of the 3DViewStation product family have high-level APIs (programming interfaces). Thus, powerful integrations can be implemented with just a few lines of code, see also Integrations. The 3DViewStation is often controlled from PLM systems, it is the 3D graphic for product configurators, in after-sales applications and also runs on machines or in their service apps. Although 3DViewStation is an application, it can be integrated into the interface of a leading application in such a way that you cannot see anything of our own interface. This comes closest to using an SDK. However, it is also possible to use it with its own integrated user interface or as a completely independent application that only communicates with the leader.

30. As a developer I am looking for an overview of the programming interfaces offered by 3DViewStation. Which ones are there?

The 3DViewStation is the powerful 3D CAD viewer for all users of PLM, PDM, ERP or other systems who require neutral or native 3D CAD viewing, high performance, rich functionality with excellent integration capabilities. The clients run on different platforms, including Windows, Linux, MAC-OS, iOS, Android.

All information for developers can be found here
We offer these APIs:

  1. 3DViewStation Desktop Version: Command line, C API, ActiveX API and XML API.
  2. 3DViewStation VR Edition: ActiveX API and XML API.
  3. 3DViewStation WebViewer version: JavaScript & XML API.

All product variants offer APIs to load assemblies completely or virtual structures with individual parts dynamically with transformation matrices. In addition, we offer, among other things, the important analysis functions measuring, dimensioning, cutting, a 3D comparison function and real multi-CAD DMU. Parts can be shown and hidden - also via API -, colors can be changed, transparencies can be defined and annotations & markups can be applied. Especially with integrations it is possible to provide parts with hotspots (hyperlinks) in order to realize cross references to further information or documents.

31. We are mechanical engineers and ideally we are looking for a web-based graphics system that allows us to bring 3D CAD data into the human-machine interface (HMI) of our machines. What do you recommend?

There are various situations in which 3D graphics offer a clear, added value compared to a purely textual representation. The Kisters 3DViewStation WebViewer version can be easily integrated into the user interface of other web-based applications, including HMIs. If a traditional fat client is running on the machine, the ActiveX interface of the desktop version can also be used. 3D CAD data can also be reused on the machine, e.g. to indicate where a problem exists or to explain, based on geometries, how to carry out certain maintenance, servicing or commissioning procedures.

32. For example, how can we link sensor data of a machine within our IoT (Industry 4.0, Internet of Things) application with 3D CAD data?

If the 3D CAD geometries of a machine are available and a sensor can be recognized by name or attributes, 3D CAD data can be reused on the machine, e.g. to show where exactly a problem exists. From the leading application, the focus is set on the sensor via API, all other objects are displayed transparently for better visibility. Conversely, by clicking on a sensor, current or historical data can be retrieved by sending an event to the leading application and retrieving and displaying the data there. Both can be realized easily by integrating the 3DViewStation Desktop or the WebViewer version.

33. How can we, as machine builders, show our mobile service team where exactly in the machine a problem has occurred when an alarm is triggered on their smartphone?

This is a typical usage scenario for the Kisters 3DViewStation WebViewer version. Today, the service app of the technician often only provides information about the customer's address, possibly about the machine on site and maybe even about the error message. With just a few lines of code, the 3DViewStation WebViewer can be integrated into the app and immediately show the exact location of the problem within the 3D model of the machine. It can be estimated at an early stage which spare parts might be needed and how expensive the repair could be. It is also not necessary to have the CAD data of all machines with you - it is sufficient if they are available at a central location, namely within reach of the WebViewer server. Clicking on it could also call up linked technical documentation.

34. We need a 3D CAD viewer for Linux and MAC. But, the 3DViewStation seems to be made for Windows only. Is that true?

No, that's not true. Although the Kisters 3DViewStation Desktop version was developed for Windows, it also runs on Linux (uses Wine) and Mac-OS (uses Parallels). The clients of the 3DViewStation WebViewer version run on all platforms, including Linux, MacOs, iOs, Android, Windows and offer similar functionality as the desktop version.

35. What can we use the 3D viewers from Kisters for?

From product development to manufacturing and sales, the 3DViewStation is the ideal 3D viewer, ensures simple and efficient visualization of all 3D CAD models, drawings, documents or scans.
The Kisters 3D viewers can be used in many different ways: All objects and products from the design, documentation, planning, manufacturing or production departments can be interactively displayed and edited directly in your browser with a 3D viewer such as the 3DViewStation WebViewer version.

3D viewers foster communication and cooperation among the resources of your company: Collaboration between individual departments is ensured by way of fast and easy information exchange for relevant further processing and optimization. The 3D viewer easily transforms complex geometrical data into visual information, which can be used across all departments without any need for CAD expertise. These visualizations are of vital importance for the entire production cycle. Sometimes a PC with a desktop version is sufficient, sometimes a browser with the 3DViewStation WebViewer.

3D viewers are very often used as STEP / STP / .STP / STPX / STPZ viewers, but often also as native or standard CAD viewers such as Catia Viewer, CatPart Viewer, CatProduct Viewer, 3D XML Viewer,NX Viewer, ProE and Creo Viewer, PRT Viewer, JT Viewer, 3D PDF Viewer or STL and VRML Viewer.
For the communication of 3D CAD files, we like to convert to 3D-PDF, e.g. with a STEP viewer, because then it is possible to work with a 3D-PDF viewer like the 3DViewStation as well as the Adobe Reader or Acrobat 3D.

The right 3D viewer ensures that every file format you use is readable and can be edited accordingly, so conversion problems are a thing of the past forever - a home game for 3DViewStation.
Kisters provides you with the right solution for 3D visualization and 3D viewing, also adapted to your individual needs. We support and advise you in the selection of the configuration of the 3DViewStation, your future 3D viewer that is exactly tailored to your needs.

36. Where can we use the 2D viewers from Kisters?

The 3DViewStation 2D-Basic version is a pure 2D viewer. 2D Viewers have become important business tools in virtually all industries. A 2D viewer that matches your business requirements will combine performance and user friendliness, allowing you to work with and edit any kind of raster graphics and document quickly and efficiently.

2D Viewers are designed to meet all of your business needs when it comes to document visualization. They serve as the interface for visualization in all enterprise applications and can even meet basic calculation requirements of individual desktops. In this way you can ensure the success of your projects and thus your company. No matter, whether you are dealing with a simple PDF file or a complex CAD drawing, the need for information exchange has become an important factor in all industry sectors, and specifically in product and resource-intensive areas.

2D viewers are often used as PDF viewers or TIFF viewers, but also as native or standard viewers such as Office viewers, i.e. Word, DOC or DOCX Viewer, Excel, XLS or XLSX Viewer, Powerpoint, PPT or PPTX Viewer but also as AutoCAD Viewer, DWG, DXF and DWF Viewer. For the communication of 2D files, it is often converted into PDF format with an Office or TIFF viewer, for example, because then it is possible to work with a PDF viewer, such as the 3DViewStation 2D-Basic version, as well as Adobe Acrobat or Reader.
A suitable 2D Viewer will simplify project initiation, integration and implementation for you and your employees, and allows the inclusion of other departments to ensure information exchange, i.e. files can be viewed and processed universally.

File viewers are often used as desktop apps, but are also commonly integrated as SDK or ActiveX components. For this case we offer the 3DViewStation Desktop version including various APIs. Other variants are HTML-based viewers. Here we follow the HTML5 way, which we cover with the 3DViewStation WebViewer version. This allows even extensive documents to be viewed and researched quickly without having to download them completely to the end device.

Kisters supports you in both installing and setting up the 3DViewStation 2D-Basic version as your 2D viewer to make your workflows simple and uncomplicated and thus ensure the success of your company in the future.

37. Can 3DViewStation replace my AutoVue, Spinfire, TC Visualization, Creo View or 3D Tool?

Yes, Kisters 3DViewStation is the right tool to replace many legacy visualization systems, commercial and free viewers.

Many legacy viewers are slow, they might not support the latest version of the file formats required , they might have a way too outdated UI (user interface) or API (or even none) or use technology which today you would prefer to avoid, like JAVA: JAVA requires an installation process, is a commercial product today (fees to be payed), is not available on mobile devices, requires a 3D add on, plus a download of the applet before you can start viewing your first file / 3D model. Free viewers are very often too limited for professional usage. Also integration concepts have changed in the past towards mainly XML-based approaches.

3DViewStation's wide file format support allows to virtually work with any 3D CAD data. It's user friendly and intuitive UI provides rich functionality to solve almost any task you come across when re-using CAD data: from simple measurements, sections, comparisons, redline & markup to complex clash & clearance or wall thickness analysis. We do offer state of the art IP (intellectual property) protection functions and comprehensive APIs for all integration and automation tasks.