The biggest issue facing manufacturers is how to efficiently share large volume of digital product content created throughout the product development process. CAD tools are typically used to create the design data but this data needs to be accessed by numerous stakeholders in the downstream organizations to visualize, measure, analyze, approve, manufacture, inspect and service the design.
There are a couple ways your designs can be visualized by users across the enterprise, and importantly, outside of engineering. You can either use the native CAD tool – such as Creo — which means every user will need some amount of training. Or you can use a light-weight visualization tool such as Creo View to quickly load and interrogate the design.
Not all downstream users need fully detailed CAD models to carry out their activities. That means a light-weight representation can be used to communicate and collaborate on designs. This article talks about the process of creating and publishing light-weight Creo View files from native data.
What is publishing?
Publishing is the mechanism by which a viewable file is created from a dataset that is housed inside (or outside) a Windchill server. Once a design is published, the result is typically viewed using Creo View or with Windchill visualization tab. For example, the design below was created in Creo Parametric but is now visualized in Creo View using the light-weight version stored as either a .PVS or .PVZ formatted file. A key benefit of publishing is the generation of a light-weight visualization file that helps people collaborate on the design. The image below shows published data:
There are a few different ways to generate viewable files. Options 1-3 below are used for CAD data residing on the Windchill server while Options 4 and 5 are for data housed outside of Windchill server control.
Option 1 – Automated publishing from Windchill
Option 2 – Scheduled publishing from Windchill
Option 3 – Interactive publishing from Windchill)
Option 4 – Interactive viewable generation from CAD tool
Option 5 – Command Line (Batch mode) publishing
Option 1- Automated publishing from Windchill
Windchill server is configured by the administrator such that publishing takes place automatically when the CAD documents are checked in. The image below shows CAD worker setup in Windchill:
This image shows automated publishing on Windchill:
Option 2- Scheduled publishing
Viewable files can be generated on the Windchill server at specific times as scheduled by the administrator. Scheduled jobs can be run at preset times and frequencies. The images below show a job scheduled by the administrator:
Option 3. Interactive Publishing from Windchill
With this method, viewable files are generated on demand. For example, when a user selects a component to be viewed, the publishing job is submitted. The output of a publishing job is a representation in Windchill as shown in the below image. For more information about representations, please refer to this blog.
Option 4. Interactive viewable generation from Creo Parametric
With this method, viewable files are generated on demand. For example, when inside PTC Creo Parametric, a viewable file can be generated by using File -> Save As Creo View. The generated PVS, OL files are written to local disk and not stored in Windchill. This method is not recommended as the generated output is dependent on the version of the underlying Adapter. Hence, the generated output may differ from those generated using the options 1-3 discussed in the previous section.
Option 5. Command Line publishing (batch) In this case, the viewable files are generated on demand by executing the command as shown in the image below. This approach is generally used to test and debug publishing configurations. The output of a publishing job is the generation of PVS & OL files that are stored on the local disk. These viewable files are not written to Windchill.
Publishing: There’s more to it
It’s one thing to publish and store viewable files in Windchill. But what good is that? A key aspect of Windchill Publishing is that the viewable information is seamlessly tied to the rest of your organization’s Windchill objects and workflows. Not only is the viewable information pervasive within Windchill, it can be automatically updated when the design iterates, or whenever it’s most cost effective. Perhaps most importantly, you now have a flexible way to generate on demand derivative versions of master CAD data for downstream consumers. This is all taken care of by Windchill Visualization Services, a core part of the Windchill architecture.