3D parts go on stream

SolidWorks Corporation has unvieled its 3D PartStream.NET service, the latest addition to the company’s suite of 3D Internet solutions. Based on the Microsoft .NET framework, 3D PartStream.NET contributes to Microsoft’s next generation vision for the Internet by providing a unique service that enables manufacturers to integrate exciting, live, 3D models into web-based product catalogues and e-commerce systems.

Unlike online catalogues that typically feature lifeless text and static 2D images, 3D PartStream.NET allows suppliers to demonstrate what their products look like in ‘real-life’ by enabling potential buyers to: view 3D product models and drawings from all angles, configure product models based on specific customer requirements, and download these models and drawings into their own product designs in a wide variety of file formats.

Most companies produce and refer to large, hard copy catalogue listings when selling or purchasing specific parts for manufactured products. 3D PartStream.NET eliminates the need for searching through hundreds of catalogues, creating the parts from scratch, and guessing what parts will look like once they are placed in a completed product model. With the 3D PartStream.NET service, suppliers can now publish 3D models in web-based product catalogues so that manufacturers can easily zoom, rotate, and download these 3D models to use in their own product designs. 3D PartStream.NET makes finding the appropriate parts easy, realistic, and inexpensive.

The 3D PartStream.NET service provides two key tools:

First, the 3D Content Publisher enables buyers to configure, translate, view, and download 3D models within online catalogues. The 3D Content Publisher automatically downloads the correct viewer, so no CAD software is needed to view the models. Buyers can then download these models in a variety of 2D and 3D CAD file formats, including eDrawings (animated 2D drawings optimised for the Internet).

Second, the 3D Model Manager allows the manufacturing supplier to add, change, and delete models from the online product catalogue, and easily administer the system via user access controls. With the 3D Model Manager, suppliers can ensure the security of their products by choosing to publish either a fully featured model, or the de-featured geometry of a model. Suppliers can also password-protect their models so that customers must register before gaining access to proprietary information.

‘Utilising the 3D PartStream.NET service from SolidWorks, manufacturing companies will truly revolutionise the way they sell to and service their customers,’ said Jon K. Hirschtick, CEO of SolidWorks Corporation. ‘Every day new catalogues are published online, yet few of them display products in 3D. Therefore, companies using 3D PartStream.NET today have the potential to become industry leaders by getting ahead of their competition. Suppliers can now reach new markets and reduce a buyer’s vendor search, evaluation, and selection time. And, buyers can now evaluate products faster and easier than ever before. This translates into reduced design time and cost, and increased customer satisfaction.’

Hirschtick continued, ‘We estimate that there are roughly 50,000 manufacturers who can benefit from the 3D PartStream.NET service in the United States alone. Based on this statistic and the tremendous expansion of the Internet, we predict that in the future, all online product catalogues and e-commerce systems will provide access to 3D data.’

‘SolidWorks’ 3D PartStream.NET is a great example of the Microsoft .NET vision for manufacturing because it makes it easier for manufacturers and suppliers to work together to produce great products,’ stated Chris Ray, industry manager for Engineering at Microsoft. ‘By using key Microsoft .NET components such as XML and SQL Server 2000, the 3D PartStream.NET service will allow catalogue and e-commerce solution creators to provide a richer, more complete user experience while giving customers the data they need to make quicker, better informed decisions.’

SolidWorks is currently working with its 3D Publishing Partners to provide this new service. These partners have developed best-in-class applications for online product catalogues, e-commerce systems, and web-based trading exchanges. Current 3D Publishing Partners include: VerticalNet, Technicon, I-Mark, AGS and Spry Technology.

The 3D PartStream.NET service will be available in the fourth quarter of 2000. To order 3D PartStream.NET, or for more information about becoming a 3D Publishing Partner, contact SolidWorks’ Inside Sales Department at +1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America +1-978-371-5000) or go to www.partstream.net.

Information on 3D PartStream.NET is also available on the SolidWorks web site at www.solidworks.com.