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In many cases, a decision about a new product is made in a very early stage of the product development process without having any physical prototypes. In some cases, there are already some CAD-drawings. This is a typical situation where virtual reality can help make decisions.

The goal of this project is to investigate how CAD-data can be used to create virtual elements which can be visualized to support decisions . In this special case, the modularity of a new product and a new product line has to be demonstrated. Furthermore, the adaptation to the old product line has to be visualized. Finally the data has to examined how it can be used for other applications like assembly instructions, exhibitions etc.

First evaluations

In a first step, it was evaluated how data from the existing CAD-system "CAADS" can be exported to VR-programs. The result was that there is no suitable exchange format to export from CAD to a software for modeling virtual environments. The only exchange format is the DXF-format, and that is only suitable for two-dimensional geometries.
This way of data exchange is at the lowest possible level because nearly the entire geometry has to be modeled again for the virtual environment . This is only reasonable if the objects can also be used for other purposes. This could be:

If various of the above purposes are relevant, the additional work of modeling virtual objects becomes reasonable.
The other way of creating objects is to optimize the export facilities of the CAD-program. Depending on the software manufacturers, this may not be very successful.


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