Toward Truly Open Standards

You may already be aware that PDF is indeed the ISO standard for engineering documentation.  To learn more about ISO 32000-1 click here.  Recently we received some exciting news about extending ISO certification to 3D content within the PDF format. 

As you may know, PDF can extract 3D content from a wide variety of CAD and visualization formats for inclusion and interaction within a PDF container.  The formats used internally to the PDF are U3D and PRC.  Read on to learn more about PRC and how it is being embraced by the standards community.

AIIM ( has just announced the initiation of a new standards activity to standardize the Adobe Systems Incorporated PRC (Product Representation Compact) specification as an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard.

Here are some key facts you should know :

  • The PRC project will specify a file format for creating different representations of 3D models. PRC is optimized to store, load, and display various kinds of 3D data, particularly from CAM and CAE applications, and enables precise geometry with great compression. PRC is intended to support documentation requirements for design reviews, as well as distribution of detailed design documentation to supply chains. This standard will help support regulatory mandates requiring the use of open standards.
  • PRC is being released to ISO by Adobe.  This release is Similar to the release of PDF to ISO; PDF is now an ISO standard (ISO 32000) which is developed and maintained by ISO.
  • AIIM is forming a working group to develop and maintain PRC file format
  • Working group participants include: Boeing, Adobe, Bentley Systems, General Dynamics, Mental Images, PFS Corporation, TechSoft3D, Transcendata, and others.
  • A liaison has been established between TC 171 WG7 (PDF/E and PRC) and TC 184 (STEP).

At Adobe, we feel that standardization of the open PRC format will provide customers worldwide with a truly open standard for 3D content.  Here is why this is important:

  • PRC provides detailed and accurate CAD visualization data and makes it easier to distribute 3D content downstream.
  • This is an open 3D file format, not affiliated with a specific CAD/PLM application.

Some other things you may be interested in include:

  • It is the first 3D CAD visualization format to go through ISO standardization
  • This is in line with Adobe’s long history of supporting industry standards and releasing formats to ISO.  This includes ISO 32000, PDF/X (printing), PDF/E (engineering) and PDF/A (archiving).
  • This will make it easier to include 3D content in documentation work flows, particularly for manufacturing.
  • The PRC format complements STEP.
  • The ISO working group will be responsible for all future development and maintenance of PRC, and Adobe will continue to participate as one of the organizations on the working group.
  • The PRC working group is working closely with ECMA TC43 (U3D) to incorporate industry requirements.

To read the AIIM press release for more information, click here. To read frequently asked questions, click here.



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