PMI Standards and 3D PDF Reporting

PMI Standards and 3D PDF Reporting


Product Manufacturing Information or PMI as it’s more commonly known is a Digital Design & Manufacturing term for material information associated with a 3D design. Having PMI associations visible as an integral part of 3D PDF documents extends the reach in PLM reporting workflows. PMI, sometimes referred to as Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) includes material data, model views, dimensions, surface roughness, text and metadata of manufacturing specifications for others to be able to assess or replicate build.

From 2D Paper to 3D Digital

It was some time ago that designers moved away from 2D paper drawings to fully annotated 3D digital modeling using a variety of specifically developed CAD systems. Generating non-proprietary viewing facilities with PMI has been a very recent advance. Carrying along annotations, notes, markups and other non-geometric information is the key issue addressed by modern PMI implementations in interactive 3D PDF conversion systems. By presenting 3D parts and assemblies with associative interactive PMI visualization, significant time and cost savings throughout the design, planning and production processes of the supply chain can be achieved.

PMI Standardization

ASME-Y14.5-2009-TTF-thumbFor the widespread practices of 3D digital modeling, the visual PMI representations are supported by industry standards such as ASME Y14.5-2009 symbology, with widely shared True Type Font (TTF) symbol sets. This ensures all who create and share PMI information use the same universal symbols and styles in their presentations, regardless of the original system. Without this standardization, significant costs and errors can occur through misinterpretation of data. In 3D PDF context, PMI text and symbols may be rasterized bitmap or fully
vectorized graphical representations.

The precise visual representation of 3D Font Metrics for text and manufacturing notations build on digital typography traditions, 3D interactive graphics and the latest Product Representation Compact (PRC) referenced in ISO-14739 and the full PDF file format specification ISO-32000.TheOffSpring-PMI-Enhanced-Font-Metrics-thumb

The advantage of following standards is wide-spread free viewing platforms most notably the Adobe Reader viewing a standardized PMI representation.

Implementing Semantic PMI

Dramatically improvement of practical value is added by embedding metadata as text strings as well as visual PMI Dimension Annotationpresentations in 3D PDF. This enables re-use, search and a higher level of interaction. PMI maybe grouped and navigated according to view orientations, part hierarchy, layers or attribute. Fully associative interactive visual PMI may include highlight and hyperlink – where selected parts with annotations are switched to alternative highlight color or outline, and dynamic visibility of associated PMI is switched on. Part selection itself can be used to hyperlink to further documentation via bookmarks or even external URLs. The PDF3D-SDK exposes API methods for semantic PMI implementations for rich 3D PDF reporting features.

The pathways available in PDF3D software systems to create PMI in 3D PDF documents include:

  • Developer APIs in C++, C#, Java, Python with PMI creation methods, semantic PMI events
  • XML annotation tags to specify dimensions, labels, detail part views and orientations
  • Automatic PMI dimension, labels and part-level views by analysis of any incoming assembly

PMI Annotations carried through to 3D PDF Reports

The good news is that as 3D PDF becomes the preferred choice for engineers, designers and manAxis-ScaleBar-Sample-thumbufacturers to communicate their assemblies and product designs to a wider audience, there are now ways to present those models with the standardized PMI annotations.

With PDF3D’s latest suite developers can now create applications to embed 3D models into reports that conform to ASME Y14.5-2009 symbology. To find out more about 3D PDF Reporting for Manufacturers and Engineers, please take a look at the PDF3D-SDK development toolkit. Examples of 3D PDF files with PMI Annotation encoding are available on the sample Gallery page.


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