NASA Relies on Watermarks from Creo View MCAD

One of NASA’s most exciting projects is the journey to Mars. Beginning in 2018, NASA’s powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will enable “proving ground” missions to test necessary launch capabilities. Astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft will start deep space exploration in the 2020s. And human missions to Mars in the 2030s will rely on Orion and an evolved version of the SLS. Development is quickly advancing. Here’s a look at the launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA):

For projects like SLS, NASA Design Engineering teams manage copious design document, drawing, and model files. For a recent critical design review, the SLS design team released hundreds of design and development files for the initial 77-ton payload SLS Block 1 rocket. It was the first review for a NASA exploration-class vehicle in nearly 40 years, since the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s.

1960s review meeting. NASA engineers gather to go over change requests. (Image

Needless to say, the nature of design technology has changed significantly since the time of the Apollo missions. Effectively managing all of the document, drawing, model, and other content files is critical to a project’s success today. Little things like release status and embedded version information are important details that internal and external stakeholders rely on.

NASA’s Design Engineering team at the Kennedy Space Center wanted an effective way to communicate the status of its design content files. This information included a document name/number, file iteration number, and release status (In-Work, Completed, or Released).

The team first tried to programmatically place information into files using text and symbols, which was not reliable. They also had issues with showing the status of drawings when the document was released. And there was the chicken and egg problem of iterating a document to make a release mark show correctly, which then modified the released document.

What turned out to be a better solution? It was something they had already. Because they were using Creo View MCAD for visualization and Windchill for product data management processes, NASA had a robust watermark tool to try.

You can use the Creo View MCAD watermark editor to create different watermark files for different types of information or release states. The watermark can contain text, images, and dynamic information, like a Windchill property name.

Plus, you can set the watermark to appear in Creo View MCAD for specific view types, such as MCAD or 3D. You can also set it to appear when you print the file.

After you edit and save a watermark in a Creo View MCAD user profile, a few tweaks allow you to deploy the watermark files (INI and XML) into a Windchill project. Then it’s reliably managed from the Windchill server.

NASA’s Design Engineering team has successfully implemented watermarks for a simple, streamlined way to communicate important information about their design files. And watermarks are great for identifying intellectual property when sharing content with third parties, too.

For details about deploying watermarks and using Creo View MCAD, check out the free PTC University Learning Exchange tutorials.