File Sharing/Publishing

Lattice Pushes XVL for Design Validation and CAD Data Distribution

7 Sep, 2008 By: Kenneth Wong

Company advocates the use of its lightweight format for process simulation.

Lattice Technology's lightweight format XVL is known as a viable option for 3D publishing (see "From Any Angle — Publish and Share Your 3D Designs," November 2007), but the company now wants to push the format further. Recently, it posted a number of video clips designed to showcase XVL as a format robust enough for design validation and process simulation. In doing so, Lattice edges into the market currently served by the likes of DELMIA, the digital manufacturing suite from CATIA's creator Dassault Systemes.

According to Shuji Mochida, Lattice's technical director, XVL is ideal for "large-scale design review sessions involving multiple CAD files," in part because of its effective compression algorithm. "We can reduce a 300 MB SolidWorks file to a 3.5 MB file viewable in the freely distributed XVL player," he said.

Since using detailed CAD files for simple geometry check (for example, collision detection) is a heavy-handed approach, CAD programs typically convert the model into a lightweight representation — often into JT, an open format developed by Siemens PLM — to perform these tasks. Lattice hopes developers and users will consider XVL as another viable option. One of the advantages, Mochida pointed out, is that Lattice's XVL can be deployed by people who do not have CAD systems installed on their desktops.

Lattice's XVL Studio lets users validate and check designs without CAD systems. Here, using models in the lightweight XVL format (in this case, converted from SolidWorks), the user is able to visualize a geometric collision, along with the location of the clash in 2D diagram view.

Just as Adobe has been adding robust functionalities to its freely distributed Acrobat Reader, Lattice has been doing the same with its XVL Player. In XVL Player 9 (released in May), Lattice added the cross-sectioning and advanced viewing features previously available only in the Pro version. These and others, such as animation control, "are expected to greatly expand the usage of XVL Player," according to Lattice's announcement. The company hopes the free player will become the go-to tool for "a wider variety of postdesign processing tasks," including "the testing of an assembly's feasibility in a manufacturing technology division, or the confirmation of part dimensions for a customer quote in a procurement division."

Lattice offers XVL Studio (priced beginning $2,000, available in Basic, Standard, and Pro editions) as its "core family of applications for digital manufacturing functions." The Pro version features advanced functions, such as "automated interference and clearance checking of complex assemblies and display of results in a spreadsheet format."

With Lattice's XVL Studio Pro, the results of an interference check can be exported to an Excel sheet, along with embedded 3D models highlighting the problem.

In August, Lattice announced support for 64-bit CAD platform in its products. According to Mochida, Lattice will add support for Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended in its products by mid-September. It also has plans to support direct reading and writing of JT format soon. The introduction of human motion simulation capabilities is scheduled for next year. (To learn how Ford uses human motion simulation at its factories, read "The Jack and Jill of Ergonomics," May 2008.)

Lattice's latest YouTube video can be viewed here.