The ultra-lightweight 3D format is popular with some of the world’s largest manufacturers. Files are uploaded to iPad via iTunes. We speculate on where 3D model viewing on iPad is headed.
Lattice Technology has released iXVL View, an iPad app for viewing engineering models. It is available free of charge from the Apple App Store.
The ultra-lightweight 3D XVL format is widely used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, defense, heavy machinery, and medical devices where products can have a large number of parts and complex structures. The XVL format can reduce model size by up to 99% for viewing and markup purposes. Lattice is a key technology supplier to Dassault Systemes; many Lattice customers are also users of Catia.
The iXVL View player will read previously captured/converted XVL files, displaying 3D models that can be rotated, panned and zoomed using the intuitive finger tip controls common in iPad applications. XVL compression allows models originally more than 1GB to be viewed. All major 3D CAD formats can be converted to the ultra lightweight XVL format. This is a viewing tool for now; there are no editing or markup tools.
Lattice has also released new versions of its existing XVL Player and XVL BOM Assembler products. Both are available free to Lattice customers on maintenance.
Models on-board or on-cloud
There are enough iPad viewers for 3D models now to begin to see a trend emerging. Some vendors (like Lattice) are converting 3D data so it can be loaded onto the iPad. Others (like CadFaster) are using cloud technology to host the models; the iPad then becomes a display extension of the cloud host. In the short run, both approaches will find a following. But as iPad use permeates the 3D user world, the less-tethered approach of not having to load and store a model on the iPad will win out. Users will prefer the freedom to access a model on the fly, instead of having to plan ahead to have access to a model in the field.