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  1. a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.

This past week marked a big step for the 3D PDF Consortium as we launched the 3D PDF Implementor Forum. In case you are not familiar with an Implementor Forum, it is basically a group of software vendors that work together to develop tests for assessing the accuracy and interoperability of neutral format CAD files. Other ISO standard CAD formats such as STEP (ISO 10303) and JT (ISO 14306) have similar forums in the CAx-IF and JT-IF organizations.

The goal of the 3DPDF-IF is to ensure the quality and usability of 3D PDF in engineering workflows through cooperative testing. It is a neutral environment, where vendors can test their 3D PDF files to determine both the accuracy of their data translation as well as their conformance to the PDF standards (PDF, PDF/E and PRC will be supported for testing). Vendors are encouraged to bring prototype code and to use the 3DPDF-IF as part of their quality testing process. Vendors who participate in the 3DPDF-IF can use the forum to accelerate their development and testing cycles by leveraging the collective knowledge and resources of the forum.

I think that it is important to also spend a minute to note what the 3DPDF-IF is not. While it is a great development and test environment, it is not a certification program. The forum does not certify, grade or rank the different members solutions. The forum is committed to ensuring the quality and interoperability of all its members solutions. All the test results are confidential and all reports issued by the forum will report only on the aggregate performance of all the consortium members. The goal is to raise the quality of all the members solutions and by doing so benefit the entire engineering community.

We look forward to following in the footsteps of the CAx-IF and JT-IF as we all work to ensure that open, published formats can be used to share engineering data during all stages of a products life cycle.

Long live the 3D PDF Implementor Forum!

For more information on the 3D PDF Implementor Forum, please visit our webpage http://3dpdfconsortium.org/3dpdf-if.html