What is an Illustrated Parts Catalog?

The IPC illustrates the replaceable or serviceable parts and assemblies in their correct position on equipment. Its purpose is to enable users to identify and locate parts by part number and description.


One of the significant shortcomings of the illustrated parts catalog is the 2D exploded view. They take a lot of time to create and update.


2D Exploded view of an engineering system. Image Copyright: BRP

A content creator needs to generate the 2D exploded view using 3D software. They start by building a list called a service bill of materials (sBOM) of all the serviceable parts. Then, they assign item numbers to this list. Finally, they add callouts, those little numbers attached to the parts in the illustration, to associate a part in the illustration to its row in the sBOM.

This is a relatively well-oiled process since it's been the same way for about 30 years.

In summary, an entire industry is built on having high-paid people spend a lot of time creating 2D illustrations from 3D models that already have all the part numbers in them and then adding all that information back in.


At AFTR, we're designing the most efficient process from engineering's 3D model to a lightweight, visualization-only, digital twin where users can look up their spare part information.


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