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Uniting real-time 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) for the first time

July 16, 2019 in Engine & platform | 5 min. read

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In partnership with Atos and PiXYZ, Unity is unveiling a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system integration with Teamcenter from Siemens PLM Software, the world’s most widely used enterprise PLM solution. Read on to learn how this will enhance customer workflows in a wide range of industries and see an example project built with Interact from Light & Shadows.

Within the manufacturing industry, and especially in the automotive segment, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is a critical foundation for customer workflows. In most medium to large companies, all product data is managed in some kind of PLM system, and any practical use of real-time 3D uses PLM systems as a source of geometry and metadata.

Until now, PLM and real-time 3D have occupied separate worlds, but we are breaking new ground and bringing them together. At the Daimler EDM CAE Forum 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany, where Daimler AG invites leading technology firms and solution integrators to showcase their latest innovations, we unveiled the first integration between a real-time 3D platform and a PLM system: Teamcenter from Siemens PLM Software.

How it works: Connecting Unity with Teamcenter

Connecting Teamcenter to Unity enables a very powerful and efficient workflow

To show the power of this integration in action, we teamed up with Atos Information Technology and PiXYZ to deliver a tour de force demonstration of how a Teamcenter connection delivers real-time 3D efficiency by creating a lightweight CAD viewer. In addition, we used Light & Shadows’ Interact product to create a VR assembly training guide. 

Each company brings leading capabilities to the table:

  • Atos has long experience with PLM systems and a deep understanding of the Teamcenter platform.
  • PiXYZ provides the world’s best tools for bringing CAD data into real-time 3D.
  • Unity is the world’s most widely used real-time 3D development platform.
  • Light & Shadows publishes Interact, a Unity plugin that supports drag-and-drop creation of interactive 3D experiences.

The demo shows a configurable extraction tool embedded in Teamcenter, allowing users to easily and quickly extract 3D geometry and metadata to create real-time experiences using Unity. This data can then be exported as optimized 3D files in FBX, USD, or GLB format; Unity native assets such as prefabs or asset bundles; and Unity runtime apps targeting any supported platform. On the surface, these workflows aren’t very different from those used by many creators in the industry. Look beneath the surface, however, and the importance of the demo becomes much clearer.

Lightweight CAD viewer showing hierarchy and metadata from the original JT data

The engine design starts as JT data inside Teamcenter. Using the Teamcenter connector developed by Atos, Unity triggers Teamcenter’s dispatcher service to deliver the data to Unity. The JT assembly data from Teamcenter is then processed through PiXYZ Studio.Batch into Unity, where it is immediately available for use. Once the data is in Unity, a lightweight CAD viewer is automatically created for Windows, Android and the Looking Glass device. Taking this to the next level, Light & Shadows’ Interact is used to create a VR training experience that walks through the steps required to assemble a radial aircraft engine. As an alternative to triggering this workflow from within Unity, a customer can send data to Unity from within Teamcenter Active Workspace or the Rich Client.

You can pull data from Teamcenter from within the Unity Editor
You can also trigger actions in Teamcenter Active Workspace (left) or Rich Client (right)

The truly amazing part of this demo is the efficiency of the process. The time required to create the lightweight CAD viewer is less than two minutes, while creating the VR training experience using Interact takes less than 15 minutes – starting from the point where the Teamcenter extract is triggered in Unity.

An interactive VR training application, built in 15 minutes using Interact

Once the project is created, updates are even easier. Thanks to PiXYZ’s live-link capabilities, changes in the original design can be updated directly in the Unity project and immediately built into an updated runtime experience. Changes can, therefore, be published even faster than the time needed to create the original experience. Depending upon the extent of the change, some manual updating may be needed. Finally, you can combine the multi-platform capabilities of Unity to seamlessly deploy to over 25 platforms, including iOS and Android, PC and Mac, AR and VR wearables, and more.

A new bridge between real-time 3D and PLM

The potential of this integration is hard to overstate. Connecting Unity and Teamcenter, with PiXYZ integrated for CAD data import and optimization, unleashes powerful and efficient new workflows that will deliver even more value for a wider range of applications.

Drop by our booth at EDM CAE Forum

At the EDM CAE Forum, we will be demonstrating the training experience with a VR headset. At the Atos booth, attendees can see a demo of an automated workflow beginning with JT data in Teamcenter, and ending with a Unity experience using different platforms and devices, one of them a 3D holographic display using a Looking Glass device.  At the Unity booth, visitors can learn from a Light & Shadows representative how the training experience was built in 15 minutes using Interact and Unity. PiXYZ will also be present at both the Atos and Unity booths. Reach out to us if you’ll be attending the show.

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July 16, 2019 in Engine & platform | 5 min. read

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