You are Home   »   News   »   View Article

3D PDF Technology for the supply chain

Friday, July 6, 2012

3D CAD models of spare parts, embedded into PDFs, can be used to improve purchasing and maintenance, says EOS Solutions

EOS Solutions of Rochester, Michigan, is helping oil and gas companies create significant improvements in the supply chain of replacement parts through the use of 3D PDF technology. The dynamic new 3D visualization and collaboration tool allows users to embed 3D CAD models, from virtually any format, directly into a PDF document that is universally accessible throughout the supply chain. As such, oil and gas operations are using it to help maintenance teams more accurately identify the correct parts that need to be ordered.

In tests, companies using it 'saw significant results in improved accuracy in ordering from their offshore units,' said Steve Prast, managing director of EOS Solutions, speaking at the Feb 28 Digital Energy Journal Stavanger conference 'optimising supply chains'.

It is possible to embed animated 3D models in PDFs and view them in free Adobe Reader software, so anyone in the company can view an item in 3D without having to buy expensive design software.

The system can work on its own or be embedded within a maintenance or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

EOS developed the technology to use 3D PDFs for supply chains in a research project with funding from the US Army, which wanted to find ways to re-use its 3D data to improve the supply chain.

Being able to view 3D models 'doesn't have a direct impact on the supply chain but it had an ancillary impact by improving communication across disciplines,' commented Mr Prast.

According to Mr Prast, generating 3D PDFs of items can be done affordably enough for companies to choose to install it on every piece of critical equipment.

The 3D data can be generated directly from 3D CAD data, laser scans of the actual equipment, such as offshore oil rigs, or even from 2D drawings.

Drawing accuracy is not so critical. 'We don't actually have to have engineering precision in the models, it has to be visually correct, it has to fit up correctly, but you don't need the same accuracy you would have if you were going to manufacture this thing,' said Mr Prast.

EOS Solutions is based in Rochester, near Detroit, Michigan, and works together with a Norwegian partner called Norisol to offer 3D PDF as part of its Model Based Enterprise solutions in Europe. Additionally, EOS Solutions specializes in 4D Simulation, which can provide a variety of benefits for clients operating complex systems with large capital investments. Most notably, 4D Simulation gives clients the ability to improve risk mitigation strategies, planning optimization and create an accurate total cost analysis.

EOS Solutions works in the aerospace and defence industry, and has been working in the oil and gas industry since 2007. Its clients include: Aera Energy, a joint venture between Shell and Exxon Mobil, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE Energy, General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems and the U.S. Army and Navy.

Plan maintenance tasks

3D PDF technology can be used to plan and record results of maintenance tasks.

You can animate complex 3D CAD models within a PDF, which can include an audio voiceover, to explain how the repair should be done. Because the 3D PDF technology exponentially reduces the size of the original design file, the 3D PDF document can be easily distributed throughout the supply chain via e-mail or download.

Once a 3D PDF is opened using FREE Adobe Reader, which is installed on 98% of the world's computers, you can collaborate by making comments, design mark-ups and even draw measurements. For example, maintenance teams could make the following comments, 'in this particular attempt we found this part does not fit this configuration.' The lesson will be stored in the PDF for and eliminate further inefficiencies in the maintenance process.

Construction Modeling

You can use EOS' 4D Simulation to assess the viability of operational plans prior to making major capital investments. EOS 4D simulations can help you understand any number of issues that may affect the profitability of a construction project during its life cycle, including: new technology, staffing levels, weather, equipment failure and delivery schedules.

In one example, a project involved digging and filling trenches. The operator wanted to work out if it would be better to have two vehicles working simultaneously, one filling a trench while the other was digging the next trench. The 4D Simulation showed that the additional truck traffic would actually slow everything down.

The technology can be extended internationally, to model and visualise your supply chain around the world. Using a secure web-based user interface that allows key decision makers to access the data gleaned from the simulation and change certain variable that test 'what-if' scenarios.

EOS 4D Simulation begins by building a mathematical model of all the components that comprise a complex system and the variables that can affect them. Once this is completed, the 4D Simulation is run using advanced discrete event simulation software, which allows decision makers to see how different components will interact - for example, what happens after there is bad weather, or truck congestion, or equipment breakdown.
According to Mr Prast, the technology has been used to make a model of an entire reservoir and topsides, he said.

'We can go all the way though and look at the condition of specific wells, we can pull in live data and see exactly what the state is at any given time, said Mr Prast.

You can view the video of Mr Prast's speech, and download his presentation as a pdf including 3D PDF animations, at

Associated Companies
» EOS Solutions

comments powered by Disqus


To attend our free events, receive our newsletter, and receive the free colour Digital Energy Journal.


Latest Edition Jul-Aug 2022
Aug 2022

Download latest and back issues


Learn more about supporting Digital Energy Journal