Graphics Cards

Upgraded GPU Gives Airline Designers a Comprehensive View of the Cabin

11 Mar, 2014 By: Adam Scraba

Switching to an NVIDIA Quadro K6000 graphics processing unit (GPU) improves model viewing and rendering at Zodiac Seats.

Access to Increased Processing Power

Zodiac Seats recently evaluated new Dell Precision workstations, each equipped with an NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GPU that featured 12 GB of memory and NVIDIA’s most powerful Kepler GPU architecture. The new hardware immediately improved designers’ workflows, providing the power and capacity needed to perform data-heavy renders on the workstation itself, and the speed required to easily make changes.

Felix Lorsignol, an industrial designer at Zodiac Seats, observed, “With the Quadro K6000, we can render larger files without having to simplify our designs; everything is more detailed and furthermore, everything is rendered more quickly. Ultimately the real advantage for us is being able to look at the entire cabin with no compromises, seeing how everything fits together and testing different lighting and color scenarios in real time.

Zodiac designers can now view the entire cabin, instead of just one portion of their design. Click image to enlarge.

“Before, we’d have to work with models in a wireframe and wait at least twenty minutes before we could get a glimpse of the final design [instead of seeing the design in real time] — and we could never even look at more than five or six rows of seats at a time. There was also a lot of trial and error before getting it right, due to the low level of detail our systems were limited to supporting, which reduced productivity. Now we can do much more complicated assemblies, and with more realism and accuracy than ever, in less time.

“Another example,” Lorsignol continued, “is I remember one assignment for a corporate brochure where we had to create a rendering of a cross section of the entire aircraft, including seating, the cockpit, lavatories, cargo storage, etc. This scene contained well over forty million polygons. With our older workstation setup, it was literally impossible to render. We simply couldn’t handle that project until we got the Quadro K6000.”

This cross section enables viewers to see how seating areas are arranged in relation to other sections of the aircraft. Click image to enlarge.

Expanded Workflow Options

Today, NVIDIA’s Quadro K6000 is helping Zodiac Seats’ designers work with more flexibility and efficiency. With the ability to work with more complex models and render anything directly on their workstations, designers now have fully fleshed-out designs in front of them and can simply take a screen shot and e-mail it off for approval, further speeding up the design process.

“The next step for us is to connect Zodiac teams across the country and the world to work in a truly collaborative way,” said Lorsignol. “Right now the designers have to create presentations and then hand something off for approval or edits, but we want to try having all the players around a desk or in a video conference, rendering and tweaking and making decisions all together in real time. The Quadro K6000 makes this possible.”

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About the Author: Adam Scraba

Adam Scraba

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