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CAD White Paper
IFR Solves "Real World" Problems
Let's Take a Look
Raster to Vector Conversion
Through IFR Technology . . . The Real World is the Data
IFR Benefits for CAD
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IFR Solves "Real World" Problems Back to Table of Contents
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As computers across the globe are connected through wide area networks (WANs) and the Internet, CAD (Computer Aided Design) programs face the challenge of how to integrate the vast amounts of technical data onto the user's screen. 3-D animation and simulation can provide many details concerning form, function, and fit; however, it is often economically infeasible to load the 3-D animation database with enough parameters to allow animation and simulation across an entire assembly. 

For example, it might be known that a 1-inch plastic pipe is 12 feet long, but it is hard to get enough data to know everything about the pipe. Does 1 inch represent the outside diameter, inside diameter, or nominal diameter? Is the pipe threaded on the end? If so, how far is it threaded and what kind of threads are used (pitch, depth, orientation)? Are the threads on the inside wall or outside? What color is the pipe? Is the inside diameter maintained across the length of the pipe? What is the outside diameter? What kind of plastic is it made of? What are the restrictions on the plastic? How long will it last if exposed to sunlight? What kind of chemicals will attack it? We could go on and on, but the point is that more data is better. You can't go wrong by having too much, and it is hard to get enough. Worrying whether all of this will come together becomes a literal nightmare for an engineer. 

With the advent of the Internet, CAD packages have an opportunity to provide active real-time information that might come from anywhere on the Internet, but this foreign Internet information needs to be downloaded into the native 3-D animation database.

Unfortunately, even when the Internet information is in vector (math), it will often be incompatible with the native vector used by the CAD program. Each vector program uses a unique set of math to represent an image. One CAD program might represent an oval as a series of circles, but in another it might be represented as one or more ellipses. History has proven that getting from one set of math to another is usually fraught with unpleasant surprises. Although this might seem like a hopeless sequence of events, there is a new technology (Indirect Formularizing Resolution, or IFR) that will not only make it possible, but practical as well for the following reasons:

  • IFR can load either analog or digital photographs into a 3-D database automatically. Therefore, thousands of measured points can be loaded into the database in real time at a minimal cost.
  • IFR can convert any vector image into its own vector image by simply converting to raster first. Therefore, all foreign information (whether it is raster or some proprietary vector) can be immediately available to the CAD package through IFR and the 3-D animation database. 
Suddenly, the whole world of usable information becomes the fuel that can power your CAD engine! How much is all of this information worth? 
Let's Take a Look: Back to Table of Contents
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If you are engineering a line of fired heaters for the petroleum refining industry, you will want to collect the Internet information for the parts that make up a centrifugal fan within the heater. A portion of your parts may come from a local job shop, some from a foreign vendor, and others might be produced in-house. These diverse sources of information introduce two obstacles:
  • How can you extract enough exact information to determine if there is a functional fit? For example, does a nut manufactured in Europe fit the rod threaded in the U.S.?
  • Even when you receive both computer files in vector formats, they are frequently incompatible. Since there are many vector variations, it is often impossible for different vector files to communicate with one another. 
IFR is the single solution that tackles both of these problems simultaneously. Furthermore, the accumulated information is often the first step toward enterprise and resource planning (ERP).
Raster to Vector Conversion Back to Table of Contents
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Now, let's say you are planing to modify an area within an oil refinery facility. From specific points of perspective, photographs or videos can be taken of the area where the work will be completed. IFR technology will allow the photographs or video frames to be automatically converted to the CAD vector format and will offer 100x lossless compression. The images can be stitched together seamlessly to provide more resolution, which will result in more accurate measurements. By taking pictures from different perspectives, an exact 3-D model can be created. With IFR, the CAD images can also be modified.

IFR's raster to vector conversion is automatic, eliminating labor-intensive procedures and the margin of error involved with hand drawings. Furthermore, the CAD images are as accurate as the resolution of the original pictures because the raster to vector conversion is lossless (no coarse pixels in the original picture are violated). In fact, the CAD image can be converted back to the original raster picture. As a sanity check, a pixel by pixel comparison will show that the pictures are identical. The program can handle pictures of any color or shape complexity. IFR takes all possible combinations into account, eliminating surprises in the conversion process.

For example, 3-D models can be used for piping drawings that are easy to understand and contain all piping components, both horizontal and vertical. IFR will enable CAD programs to zoom into areas of concern and allow for exact measurements of clearance, modification, and other details. The drawings can be viewed from different perspectives and can be loaded into an animation database for a computer walk-through of the facility.

Resolution issues are virtually eliminated through IFR technology. Analog or digital pictures can be converted through IFR to present clear, exact computer images. You could use an 8mm video camera to tape the refinery area to be modified and then output the image at 16mm, 32mm, or any desired resolution. When the image is zoomed, the magnification yields smooth lines that are similar to a re-scalable font and the algorithm does not violate the coarse pixels of the original picture. 

IFR technology allows all graphics and text files to be stored, sorted and retrieved using the same file format. Since IFR converts all raster data to one universal vector format, all files (i.e., job cost tracking information, etc.) can be stored and accessed through the CAD program. A specific electronic drawing can contain a wealth of information and links. The information might be gathered from the corporate database (such as costs and availability), vendor catalogs, digital photographs (such as examples of previous problems), competitive quotes, and many others.

Through IFR technology . . .
. . .The real world is the data
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IFR's raster to vector conversion technology allows all formats (raster or vector) to be converted to one, universal vector format. By using the local scripting languages to connect your CAD package to the Internet, IFR allows you to download and place any Internet information directly into your 3-D animation database. The information will be converted and displayed in real time with exact dimensions. You will be able to superimpose the parts to determine exact fit and compatibility. 

From modifying an entire manufacturing facility, to the demolition of an oil refinery, IFR offers the ability to convert analog or digital photographs, or existing archived drawings, directly into a CAD drawing program. The need for creating new, tedious hand drawings (or digitizing old ones) is no longer necessary. Furthermore, the drawings can be complete 3-D models that contain the thousands of measurements and other data that you need to get those critical, high visibility projects done right the first time.

IFR Benefits for CAD: Back to Table of Contents
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  • IFR enables enterprise computing in the CAD space.
  • IFR offers 100x compression and speed.
  • IFR eliminates resolution issues. For the first time, resolution is divorced from bandwidth and is limited only by the output device used.
  • IFR will enable complicated color images to be converted directly into CAD drawing programs. The converted image is lossless and will be displayed in real time.
  • CAD drawings can be made directly from an actual photograph or existing drawing, and tedious manual tracing or cleanup is eliminated.
  • By marking a point of perspective while shooting a photograph or video, IFR will enable CAD drawings to include complete and accurate dimensions. Thousands of dimensions can be measured with almost no effort or cost.
  • Through CAD files, images can now be animated and viewed in 3-D.
  • Since IFR converts all raster data to a universal vector format, CAD files can be supplied in any format.
  • IFR will enable CAD programs to automatically stitch adjacent pictures together. Therefore, very large scenes that are accurately dimensioned can be made CAD-ready in just a few seconds.
  • IFR will save 60% or more on drawing costs. The savings to animate an image are even greater.
  • IFR will increase time to market by 60% or more by eliminating tedious hand drawing, tracing, and/or clean-up hours.
  • IFR uses a color generalization algorithm which allows full, 24-bit color images.
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