Q&A: How to Enhance Your MBD Strategy
Written By: Madhavi Ramesh

If you’re an engineer or designer, you’ve probably already heard about model-based definition (MBD), the practice of adding non-geometric engineering information to a 3D model. Traditionally, that data has been found on a 2D drawing.

 Intuitively, it makes sense to keep everything in one place. After all, you attach files to an email so recipients can easily reference connected/relevant information. Or, you create folders on your desktop to keep project files neat and tidy.

 But, are the benefits of using a 3D model as the single-source of design information worth the effort of changing the way an enterprise has been doing things for a very long time? Maybe decades?

 Let’s hear from someone who has gone through the process of implementing MBD in their organization. Recently, I asked Curtis Brown to share his perspective about MBD and where to start.

 Curtis Brown

Brown has a lot of insight to share about the switch to MBD. He is a principal engineer at a multinational company. He’s helping his team create trusted product models that others can confidently reuse throughout the enterprise. Here’s what he said about the process of switching to MBD:

RameshWhat is Model-Based Definition (MBD)? What is Model-Based Enterprise?

Brown: MBD is the 3D annotated model and its associated data elements that fully defines the product in a manner that can be communicated and used effectively by all downstream customers without a 2D drawing graphic sheet. Model-Based Enterprise (MBE) starts with an authorized trusted MBD.

MBE is an organization that successfully reuses MBD. Put another way, MBE is a fully integrated and collaborative environment founded on 3D MBD data that’s validated, authorized and shared across the enterprise to enable the realization of products from concept through sustainment.

Ramesh: Who benefits most from an MBD approach?

Brown: Major benefits of the MBD model are seen by downstream organizations, such as:

  • Simulation and analysis
  • Manufacturing (additive and subtractive)
  • Quality, inspection and analytics
  • Purchase product suppliers by using the 3D technical data package
  • Visualization and animation for process instructions
  • Automation (via digital interoperability)

Ramesh: Is it difficult to switch to MBD?

Brown: The psychological aversion to change from 70+ years’ worth of 2D static drawing-based business must be overcome. Some specific business barriers that must be addressed include:

  • Model validation and certification of model quality
  • Engineering authorization of parts defined as MBD (in lieu of drawings)
  • Allowance of product acceptance from MBD (in lieu of drawings)
  • Part-centric product lifecycle management

Ramesh: If a company wants to start using MBD, where should they focus?

Brown: MBE starts with a trusted MBD process. So… 

  • Attain trusted 3D annotated master models. That is, create, validate, certify, authorize and share trusted product models.
  • Create and certify equivalent derivative models.
  • Manage models and documents by parts.
  • Reuse models across all functions of the enterprise.

Ramesh: How does a company implement MBD?

Brown: Here are my thoughts, you do MBD to do MBE. So:

  1. Identify MBE champions within the enterprise.
    • Cast the vision
    • Push the strategy and funding, and the technology
    • Recruit/create an MBE core team
  2. MBE core team
    • Assess MBE capabilities of tools and technology, and also standards that help realize MBE
    • Prove MBE readiness via functional pilots
    • Develop an MBE roadmap and maturity index
  3. Identify and involve stakeholders
  4. Obtain pull from higher management – senior leadership
    • Pick a program and implement

Ramesh: How do you measure the success of MBD?

Brown: Measure against –

  • Your MBE roadmap
  • Your adopted MBE maturity index
  • Perform AS-IS versus TO-BE pilots to compare metrics

Ramesh: Any final comments?

Brown: To summarize, MBD is to:

  • Establish trusted 3D annotated master models
  • Certify equivalent derivative models
  • Enable manufacturing and quality collaboration
  • Communicate and release 3D product viewables
  • Focus on preparing 3D technical data package
  • Evaluate progress against the MBE roadmap/maturity index

 With the goal of delivering…

  • 3D product data package from design
  • 3D technical data package for production

Model-Based Definition and You

2D drawings are more prone to interpretation errors. And they’re more likely to result in data inaccuracies. If your organization is running into these issues, it’s time to consider whether you’d benefit from an MBD approach.

To learn more about MBD, check out the free eBook from PTC. You’ll find out more about the limits of 2D drawings, how MBD simplifies complexity and where to get started. Download your copy today.

 Download the MBD eBook

Tags: CAD
About the Author Madhavi Ramesh

Madhavi Ramesh is the founder of Punditas, a product intelligence company. Read more of her blogs on Punditas.com