3D Software

ZVerse automates 2D-3D file conversion for 3D printing with new MRO platform

Engineering software developer ZVerse has launched its new ‘2D to 3D’ CAD file conversion platform.

Primarily aimed at manufacturers in the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) sector, the automated software works to convert legacy 2D part drawings into usable 3D files for use in digital production processes like 3D printing. Eliminating the need for lengthy, manual data transfer, the new 2D to 3D platform is ultimately designed to streamline manufacturing projects with speed, scale, and cost benefits.

“ZVerse has been doing this work for years, converting 2D files to 3D through our on-demand design services. We know the areas where you can drive automation and drive the biggest impact in workflow,” said David Craig, President of ZVerse. “We have also learned that the greatest time spent in the conversion process can be automated and we now have automated those steps. We are committed to driving even more types of automation in, and around, this critical business need.”

Accelerating on-demand MRO 3D printing with ZVerse. Photo via ZVerse.
Accelerating on-demand MRO 3D printing with ZVerse. Photo via ZVerse.

The hurdle of 3D file generation

According to the company, the generation of mistake-free 3D files is one of the greatest challenges in on-demand MRO. Getting a CAD technician to build 3D models out of legacy 2D part drawings can be an extremely tedious process prone to human error. It is known as a form of technical debt, a concept that describes effort and costs that must be paid back at a later date due to a lack of scalability in the early stages of a project.

The 2D-3D conversion process isn’t the only form of technical debt that may be living in design and manufacturing assets, either. Stephen Berg, Customer Service Support Manager at ZVerse, explains, “For example, assets that do not contain full definitions for a product, post-processing requirements that are not called out, and a lack of interoperability requirement callouts are all forms of technical debt that may accrue in your assets and result in manual work that will be repeated time and again.”

Streamlining 2D to 3D conversion with ZVerse

ZVerse looks to bridge the 2D-3D gap with what it describes as a CAD as a Service (CADaaS) platform. For field service teams employing 3D printing technology, ZVerse’s new AI-enabled software aims to increase deployed fleet equipment uptime by accelerating spare part production. As well as generating an accurate 3D part file, the 2D to 3D platform is also capable of providing a project quote estimation and acting as a digital inventory to eliminate physical part storage.

Furthermore, the platform comes complete with secure networking functionality, enabling repair technicians across an organization to request and access part files from remote locations. By automating key aspects of MRO workers’ workflows, ZVerse claims its new platform can reduce project times by an average of 35% – 50%, all while cutting time-dependent costs and ensuring reliable geometric precision.

ZVerse writes, “The platform integrates with manufacturers to expand pipelines, expedite and streamline the file creation process, and provide exceptional customer experiences for manufacturing leads.”

The ZVerse 2D to 3D automation-assisted conversion workflow. Image via ZVerse.
The ZVerse 2D to 3D automation-assisted conversion workflow. Image via ZVerse.

3D printing for MRO applications

Industrial MRO is one of many use cases of metal 3D printing, and comes complete with a whole host of supplementary tools like ZVerse’s software to make workflows easier. Just last year, metal 3D printer OEM Optomec launched a Return On Investment (ROI) assessment tool specifically for MRO 3D printing projects. Built on Optomec’s own remanufacturing experience, the cost calculator is able to assess the profitability of automated laser cladding equipment for gas turbine servicing.

Elsewhere, energy technology company Siemens Energy recently developed a novel digital repair chain to 3D print new features onto conventionally manufactured gas turbine blades. The new approach to MRO makes use of a specially-developed laser powder bed fusion process – HybridTech – rather than the more commonly used DED-based 3D printing technique.

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Featured image shows 2D to 3D automation-assisted file conversion with ZVerse. Photo via ZVerse.