Monday, October 3, 2016

Digitalization of product development

180 experts for IT in the product development process met on September 22, 2016 in the Continental Arena in Regensburg, Germany.

The ProSTEP-iViP association had invited to the 2nd JT Day. With the slogan „Engineering Digitalization with JT“, it used a hype topic which André Radon, Director IT Productprocess for the VW Group, took up: “I started as a software developer for CAD and have been working on the digitalization of the product development ever since. So what is new about digitalization?” His answer: connecting data islands and the integration of processes. VW uses the lightweight JT format e.g. for plant simulations with more than 100 complete cars in the process and does virtual assembly simulations with current product data.

Digital Transformation Enabler

JT is not a file format, but a “Digital Transformation Enabler” said Dr. Siegmar Haasis, CIO Research & Development at Mercedes-Benz Cars. He speaks from experience, as Daimler started very early with generating JT data from 3D CAD models and now manages about 17 million JT files in its PDM system. This was the basis to save on physical prototypes – cost of up to 1 million EURO per piece in the early development phase – using digital mockups. It also allowed several downstream processes to be based on the neutral, open 3D format JT instead of on proprietary CAD formats. Among the presented use cases was the communication between different CAD systems / versions (CATIA and NX) in the joint venture with Renault-Nissan and some virtual reality applications. Complex wire harness models can be more effectively worked on using 1:1 scale models with VR glasses.


At the end of 2012, the JT specification was published as ISO 14306. With the broad adoption by German automotive OEM’s and suppliers, it also became the de-facto standard for the digitalization of product development. The VDA (association of the German automotive industry) recently published the recommendation VDA 5601 for the JT Industrial Application Package V2 (JTIAP). This addressed some innovations over the ISO standard while protecting investments. It remains open whether the desire for support of JT in the gaming engine Unity will be heard. But Microsoft and Siemens practiced the handshake for 3D printing: Siemens will implement conversion from JT to 3MF, the Microsoft format for 3D printing. Thus the digitalization circle is closed – the digital product data can become concrete products.

Note: cross-post from the NTT DATA blog at