Case Study: Overcoming FAI Delays with Model-Based Definition

Written by: Mike Gayette

Read Time: 2 min.

Facing first article inspection delays? Model-based definition could be a good solution to your problem. But let’s say you walk into the company engineering shop and proclaim, “Today, we’re scrapping the drawings and moving entirely to model-based definition.” Try it. We dare you.

The likely response is raised eyebrows, laughter, then a long list of reasons why you need to keep 2D records. It almost certainly ends with, “because we’ve always done it that way.”

Model-based Definition Defined


What exactly is model-based definition? In short, it’s a method of creating 3D models that effectively contain all the data needed to define a product. That includes semantic product manufacturing information (PMI) that can be applied according to ASME GD&T and ISO GPS rules. These models are also packed with digital data that is not only easily shared across organizations within an enterprise, but can also be used to inform suppliers and automate downstream process. With model-based definition (MBD), the model becomes the source authority that drives all engineering activities.

Compare that to the old school methods. Those dusty 2D drawings can be ambiguous, outdated, and if you care about ROI, inefficient. By contrast, MBD is data-rich, and you can navigate it in 3D space, unlike flat drawings.


Typical MBD Adoption in Real-Life Expertly Explained

So, how will you compel entrenched veteran engineers to invest in MBD? Show them the value. And that’s where the case study, How Model-Based Definition Was the Missing Link to Maximizing ROI of a Digital Quality Initiative, from Jennifer Herron, CEO of Action Engineering, comes in handy.

For this case study, Herron uses an example company that is a global manufacturer of consumer products; she calls it ACME Incorporated. ACME is a fictitious company based on the several large commercial and military hardware manufacturers her company has worked with over the years.

All industries that fabricate products experience lengthy and costly first article inspection (FAI) processes. Streamlining this process is crucial to bringing products to market faster, which is key to remaining competitive.

In the case study, ACME begins to modernize its FAI process by leveraging industrial computerized tomography scanning technology. The goal is to reduce the time and effort required to perform FAIs.

ACME heard that PTC Creo had MBD capabilities and thought it would reduce some common problems, like data re-entry. They began authoring CREO CAD models with digitally associated (semantic) annotations. The annotations were capable of capturing dimensions, geometrical tolerances, notes, symbols, surface finish, datum feature symbols, and datum targets that were digitally attached to the intricate features. With these new features, ACME figured their data re-entry problem was solved.

However, and you probably saw this coming, there was another challenge. Convincing people to change from drawings to a 3D Creo model wasn’t as straightforward as they envisioned. So how did they prove to the engineers that MBD was worthy of breaking away from their traditional, comfortable processes?

You’ll have to download and read the case study to find out. If you aren’t sure it’s for you, just know that any company that makes products, be it toothbrushes or tanks, can benefit from MBD capabilities. This case study appeals to much more than large commercial or military manufacturers.

P.S. Fine, we’ll give you a little spoiler. Once the engineers were on board, ACME enjoyed a 60% reduction in FAI inspection time and a 20-40% reduction in FAI report creation time. Those are stellar results!

MBD Case Study

How Model-Based Definition Was the Missing Link to Maximizing ROI of a Digital Quality Initiative Download Now
Tags: CAD

About the Author

Mike Gayette

Mike Gayette is a marketing professional and freelance writer based in North Dakota. He writes about engineering software, marketing technology, customer service, and team building. He also spends time at the local humane society as a dog walker and cat entertainer.