4 Reasons 3D Enterprise Visualization is Necessary in the Product Development Process

Written By: Kevin Wrenn
  • 12/12/2018
Car Shown in Augmented Reality

Do you run in the dark?  Of course not!  Then why are you doing it at work?  

Dynamic 3D Visualization is a big deal.  Every stakeholder – from product design to service - needs to be able to see product data in a 3D format that is consistent, lightweight, and available to all.  The success of a ‘digital thread’ strategy depends on how well companies do this.

Remember the bad old days?  Stressful, tedious hours spent taking screenshots and running lengthy textual reports to learn about product changes only to run into version control problems.

As the old song says: “I can see clearly now”.  We have powerful visual representations of products embedded in all aspects of the business: from early phase engineering concepts and configuration validation, to manufacturing operation planning and rich technical illustrations for service departments. A successful business transformation is dependent on a single unbroken digital thread. This allows for collaboration inside of a modern, scalable product lifecycle management (PLM) solution. Here are the top four reasons why enterprise visualization should be at the top of your list for maximizing the benefit of the digital thread strategy:

1. Better and faster decision making. As stated in a recent Harvard Business Review article, “We access information through each of our five senses—but at different rates. Vision provides us with the most information by far: An estimated 80% to 90% of the information humans get is accessed through vision.” Visualizing product data makes it easier to consume that data, which in turn, enables organizations to make the right decision faster by: 

  • Marking up and providing feedback directly to product data during design reviews
  • Color coding product data to identify areas of high cost or weight in a design
  • Performing searches with pre-configured queries to identify key control characteristics

2. Reduced cost by democratizing access to 3D data outside of engineering. Utilizing a single lightweight format allows content to flow seamlessly downstream which: 

  • Gives functions outside of engineering easy access to data.
  • Replaces the need for a heavy CAD license with a powerful FREE alternative that provides all stakeholders with the same level of visibility into product changes 
  • Allows you to embed data into other applications, like Microsoft PowerPoint, to get data into the hands of other stakeholders quickly and in a format that is most understandable 

3. Reduced time to market and cost of manufacturing by utilizing powerful digital mockups to validate virtual product configurations. Being able to automatically build and analyze configured products with a digital mockup, where you can assemble data that has never been validated in CAD, can assure everything fits together before building the prototype. Waiting until a product is built to figure out that components interfere with each other is a sure way to increase time to market and generate significant amounts of scrap and rework.  It can also help reduce cycle time for validation when customers request configuration of products which have never been requested previously.

4. Reduced engineering review cycle time through automated design comparison tools. Hundreds of product changes happen throughout the lifecycle of a product. If stakeholders in engineering, manufacturing, and other downstream teams had to keep up with every change that was being made in the product to make sure it’s accounted for, they would be spending a lot less time doing their own job and it would be quite a while before the product would be ready for market. Providing the tools to automatically identify changes in designs can help reduce the cycle time of engineering changes and help downstream users understand the impact to manufacturing and service quickly and with higher accuracy.

How KOEL Uses 3D Visualization to Get to Market Faster

Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited (KOEL) is a leading manufacturer of air-cooled and liquid-cooled diesel engines, power generating units, and agriculture pump sets. First incorporated in 1946, KOEL is the largest producer of nonautomotive diesel-powered engines in India. The company is headquartered in Pune, India and has over 2,400 employees across the country.

KOEL uses Windchill, PTC’s PLM solution, which enables stakeholders to access product designs and data through embedded visualization tools. This enables downstream teams like manufacturing and quality to more effectively review and consume process sheets and documentation. Service, meanwhile, is able to use this same data to create and publish 3D spare parts catalogues to a web portal where dealers and service technicians can access and order spare parts.

This has resulted in a more collaborative work culture throughout the product development process. Interdependency across teams has substantially reduced, leading to fewer meetings and less time spent manually updating teams and systems.

Enterprise visualization allows everyone in your organization to see the entire lifecycle process.  PTC’s solutions provide a single continuous format along the digital thread that ties together the visual nature of product data from end to end.

With Windchill and Creo View, you can view an integrated set of bill of material (BOM) information including 2D, 3D, electrical, documentation, and images across the product lifecycle. Windchill offers better structure visualization, graphical status updates, and configuration validation through interference checking. Organizations can access full traceability of all product changes and seamlessly integrate updates throughout the value stream into manufacturing and service. With the advent of Augmented Reality (AR), visualization gets even more engaging. Keep your eyes out for our upcoming blog on AR’s role in visualization. 

You must now be asking yourself: is your PLM system and visualization toolset capable of providing both basic viewing capabilities as well as all the tools you need to maximize the power of the digital thread? Click here to learn more about Windchill’s enterprise visualization capabilities. 


  • Connected Devices
  • Industry 4
  • Electronics and High-Tech
  • Augmented Reality
  • PLM

About the Author

Kevin Wrenn

Kevin Wrenn is the divisional general manager of PTC's PLM segment. He is responsible for driving the business strategy, executing go-to-market and product lifecycle activities, and delivering customer success. Kevin redefined PTC's PLM strategy, implemented a new operational framework with the worldwide sales force tor targeting and managing pipeline-building activities, delivered key new capabilities such as PLM in the PTC Cloud and ThingWorx Navigate, and has managed relationships with key customers including John Deere, and VW. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Boston University.