There is some 'middleware' floating around. It gets very limited use at my company. It might be a growth area. Problem is it's hard to anticipate all the types of visualization problems that might pop up in engineering (a very broad field). The more general the 'middleware' is, the steeper the learning curve until you get to the point where it's almost as easy to learn GL (fixed pipeline).Either directly or by buying middleware written and supported by them.
Yes. I realize that. Gouraud shading from a single light source is usually good enough for our purposes (i.e. engineering, not architectural). Basic shadow casting is useful too, which we can do using fixed pipeline GL...you're not getting anything remotely like "accurate lighting" from fixed-function.