Technical 3D animation for procedures and checking.

In most projects associated with technology, offshore, subsea, mechanical design and industry, there are many positive effects of using technical 3D animation. Increased understanding is one of them. Testing the sequence of events as an animation means that you will be able to discover things that are difficult to see on a 2D drawing or in a written procedure.

3D animation makes it easier to understand a project and allows you to depict events that may be impossible to see in real life. Beyond an enhanced understanding, one of the most important benefits of 3D visualization is that you can detect critical and costly errors.

3D visualization can help you to see whether a concept, product or project is really as good as you had hoped, whether it is physically possible to implement, and whether you will be able to eliminate the possibility of undesirable problems in the future; for example during assembly or operation. This proves time and time again to be a cost-saving initiative and a solid investment.

We use CAD models from Solid Works, Inventor or other programs, or make our own 3D models on the basis of hand-drawn sketches or 2D drawings. We often base our work on a mix of the methods mentioned above. We also build up a “scene” in our visualization tool that can be used to rearrange objects and get things moving for an animation.

We usually recommend technical 3D animations that show an entire procedure from start to finish, since these include the entire sequence of events. The film can have descriptive texts, sounds and voice-over that explain what is going on. At key points of the project, you will be able to add additional features to clarify things even further; e.g. by hiding certain elements or making them transparent. We can also add a logo at the end of the video to connect it with you and your project, so that everyone who watches the video will know who’s behind the video.

Even if you are used to working with one of the CAD tools mentioned above, or with a similar program, an animation can be a helpful tool for checking the model and ensure that it actually works in its desired environment. We find that a very heavy CAD model, like a ship or oil rig full equipment, can be substantially optimized with the help of 3D animation software so that it becomes easy to work with.

Here are some example frames from animated films. More examples of animations can be found later in the article.


Animations that are based on a procedural document or a planned operation, offer a good opportunity to check that nothing is forgotten. These are some examples of what can be achieved and tested:

Clash Test – You can check if components fit together, even when they move relative to each other.
Interface test – You can check if models from many different disciplines actually work together.
Logistics – You can test the order and sequence of components to be installed.
Personnel and HSE – You can see if there is enough space for personnel in tight or difficult places and whether it will be safe to do the job.
Timelines – Timely sequences of events, or simultaneous operations, can be tested against each other where this is critical.
Common understanding – Everyone involved in a project can quickly acquire a shared understanding of what is to be done.

In projects involving underwater installations that contain templates, manifolds and XMT assemblies, you will be able to demonstrate what is happening in a way that is impossible to see in reality, even when using an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle).

Can be used for a lot

Once a digital 3D scene is set up, it can be used to many different things. We often follow a project from start to finish and update our models along the way.

The finished products range from a series of good step-by-step pictures (sequence illustrations) to a complete movie, or for display in an interactive VR world. Illustrations can be used in books, instruction manuals, or as supplementary materials in a tender document. The style can vary depending on whether you prefer a glossy and realistic look or something simpler – more like a cartoon.

  • Technical 3D animation
  • Technical illustrations
  • Digital and physical manuals
  • Clear and attractive images for marketing materials and tenders
  • VR experiences

Real-life examples

During a previous project commissioned by one of the largest Norwegian companies in the subsea and oil industry revealed that a subsea XMT and its running tool didn’t fit. The CAD models came from to separate departments, but the interface was never checked. It was only when construction of the two items was nearly finished that a 3D animation discovered that the wouldn’t fit.

An examination of the finished components confirmed that they would not work together. If 3D visualization and animation had been introduced earlier in the project, perhaps the costly rebuild of the items could be avoided.

In another project we found critical errors in a factory machine. Four large drums were spinning on an even larger wheel. The drums were pointed inward but did not rotate with the wheel itself. It was difficult to see from 2D drawings how this was going to work.

It was only when the factory was animated we saw that drums knocked into each other while rotating. The project was stopped and the error corrected before the project had gone too far.

Animation makes it possible to find errors and challenges that you can’t see in 2D drawings, text descriptions or models in static CAD models.

Example: Animation of installation sequence

This is an example of a long animation where we showed the installation of critical components in a large research project. We checked everything to see whether the sequence was actually viable. We also looked at whether personnel could reach the critical points, and that the pre-assembled pipes would fit together.

The video ended up being 15 minutes long and is perhaps not all that exciting for people with no connection to the project, but it proved to be a useful tool in the customer’s planning.

Long animation showing a complex installation procedure

Example: Animation of a new concept

This is an animation that shows the concept for a remotely controlled system for handling and replacement filters in an environment containing radioactive particles. The operation had to be carried out without humans being physically present.

The tools and solution were inspired from subsea technology used in the oil industry, where many tasks have to be performed remotely using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and automatic tools.

This kind of animation helps to generate a better understanding of the concept principles and to check whether or not the operation is feasible.

Remote control system for filter change in radioactive environment

Example: Animation of a marketing video

We made this video for Busch Vakuumteknikk AS who wanted an animation that could demonstrate their system for transporting dead fish using vacuum. The goal of the animation was to clearly show how one of their products and systems worked. The main reason for creating the video was for marketing purposes.

Animation for marketing a complex system to increase understanding.

Product visualization

Products can be beautifully presented in animation form regardless of whether they are already available for sale or still at the concept stage. Here’s a couple of quick examples:

Vårt Bellmouth design
Motorisert skillevegg till oppdrettsanlegg

Contact us

At BEIN Engineering, we have extensive experience in technical 3D animations and visualization. For us, this goes hand in hand with traditional engineering, offering benefits from both camps. We have seen how our own projects have benefited from 3D visualization and are thus convinced that it can be useful for others as well.

Since we work in a technical environment, we can quickly familiarize ourselves with electrical and mechanical issues, principles, and professional terminology.

The benefits of our approach to 3D animation is that the models are much easier to make than you may think, making it a cost-effective as well as an efficient solution.

Contact one of our staff in the 3D department to learn more about how we can help you.

Leave a comment