How-To Create Your First Spare Parts Catalog | AFTR

Updated: Mar 11

First off, let's stop talking about catalogs. It's 2022. Let's talk about 3D digital twins for service.

Disclaimer: This post might not be for you if one of your requirements is to take months to produce 2D exploded views with callouts and then print a paper catalog or burn a CD.

This post is absolutely for you if:

  • You want to publish 3D digital twins for service.

  • Save yourself and your users so much time that it will seem too good to be true.

  • Your company has a complete (or almost) 3D model of the equipment to document.

  • You wish that your job and company weren't stuck in the 90s.

Be Part of the Solution - Meet the Project AFTR Team

Are you looking to make a real difference in your organization? Let's connect! Schedule a 30 to 60-minute meeting to share your goals and help shape the future of the product to solve your problems. In turn, it also makes sure we can express the vision, wireframes, roadmap, and benefits in terms that make sense to you.

Step 1: Create an AFTR Account

Full disclosure: this and the following steps are currently in development. The screenshots are from wireframes and represent the design and workflow intentions of the final product.

The first step is to create an account for your organization. AFTR is a cloud-based web application. It's always up to date, accessible from anywhere, on any computer, at any time.

Step 2: Install & Sync the Desktop Client

After signing up, you'll get prompted to download and install AFTR for your desktop.

We'll need to get your 3D files ready for web visualization. The desktop client removes sensitive product manufacturing information like supplier names, tolerances, or other metadata you don't want to include in a digital twin for after-sales service.

We also need to optimize the files; nobody likes waiting minutes for a full 3D model to load.

A 1GB 3D file with thousands of parts will typically reduce to under 20 MB which will load in under 5 seconds.

We perform this optimization locally on your computer(s) or server(s), ensuring that your sensitive data never leaves your premises.

The files that get uploaded and synchronized with your cloud account are visualization files, or in other words, visual representations of your 3D drawings.

NOTE: During development and until the web application passes cybersecurity quality assurance, we'll be working 100% offline making this ideal for a pilot project in regulated industries like aerospace and defense.

Step 3: Create a Project

Now that your 3D models are securely on the web, it's time to create your first project.

You'll create a project in Parts Hub and select one of the 3D models you've synced from the desktop client. Parts Hub lets you make modifications to the project, such as:

  • Changing part numbers

  • Creating kits

  • Adding non-3D products like oil

  • Creating selection sets

  • Adding descriptions

A robust database behind the scenes stores information on each part and property you update. The more projects you create, the faster you'll be able to publish them. You only edit a property once.

Unlike every other web-based 3D platform, we store each part of a 3D model separately. Suppose engineering issues a change notification and the part changes visual appearance; you'll be able to update all your published projects instantly.

Step 4: Publish your Project

🚀This is the best part!

The project is already on the web, so all you need to do is click publish and select your audience. If you're familiar with how Google Drive works, you'll appreciate this simplicity.

  • Draft projects are private to the person or team who created it

  • Schedule a publish date and time for your project to go live

  • Publish immediately

Once the project is published or scheduled to be published, pick the audience:

  • Restricted, only accessible to the selected authenticated audience(s)

  • Public, accessible to anyone with the link

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