The benefits of interactive 3D models integrated in technical and other documents go far beyond eye candy. They can save your company large sums of money when incorporated into manufacturing and servicing, catalogs and process control. Over and above making merely your PDFs easier to use, 3D models of hardware, parts and processes enhance comprehension, provide instant part identification, reduce errors and contribute to higher productivity. The saving in resources can be immense, from marketing (visualizing products and processes) through training and service (error reduction such as minimizing the shipping of incorrect parts) to reduced localization costs (as processes are visualized).
But how to go about it? Many companies will not even pay for a static exploded diagram, let alone a 3D model. And how labor-intensive is creating a 3D PDF? Then what happens when you need to update your PDFs?
Well, first of all, hardware-related companies invariably use 3D models for design and production purposes, so the models are already available at no or little extra cost.
And you don't have to manually place the 3D models in the PDF file using Acrobat every time the document is updated. With TimeSavers + 3D Assistant, 3D models can be added to your FrameMaker source files, together with a wide variety of model-related interactivity features. All these will automatically be produced in the PDF document whenever you distill. The 3D model can be displayed in the designated location on the page, or in a floating window (Acrobat/Reader 9 or higher).
End users do not need any special 3D display software. When viewing the PDFs using the free Adobe Reader (7.0.7 or later), all they need to do is click on the 3D model and manipulate it interactively -- zoom in/out, switch between different views, rotate the model, view cross-sections and individual parts/names, see animations (such as assembly/disassembly sequences).