Model-Based Product Development Holds the Keys to Efficient, Innovative Design


Read Time: 4 min

Model-based definition (MBD) practices are streamlining and redefining downstream manufacturing and service processes. Now, attention needs to turn to engineering, which remains hampered by siloed tools and disjointed workflows.

While engineering has been a champion of 3D models for the rest of the enterprise, it’s been slow to embrace a model-centric mentality in its own house, across the full design workflow. Outside of the core CAD model, engineers have been free to pick and choose best-of-breed software for critical adjunct functionality in areas like simulation, generative design, surfacing, tool path creation, and documentation.

While a robust tool bench is essential for creating today’s innovative products, a best-of-breed approach creates complexity and inefficiencies that can slow design cycles and potentially lead to costly errors. The reason is simple: A best-of-breed design tool portfolio doesn’t share a native file format, which means there’s an over reliance on manual, unproductive workarounds to translate data and models between applications. It also means engineers waste too much time and energy context switching between their tools, limiting their ability to attend to higher-value tasks like experimentation and innovation.

3D CAD programs like PTC Creo ushered in best-in-class parametric modeling that is deeply associative. This ensures when changes occur in one part of a model, the relevant updates are automatically propagated to related geometry and downstream artifacts. But when point solutions are introduced for simulation or generative design, there is a break in the design chain. Simulation results or lightweight generative designs are not directly associative with the native 3D CAD model so the work remains siloed with a dependency on manual integration processes. At the same time, engineers are left to juggle multiple tools, introducing a cycle of importing, exporting, and translating dumb geometry, which is inefficient while decreasing the inherent benefits of associative parametric design.

While CAD tools have historically lacked robust auxiliary capabilities in key areas, that’s no longer the case. Solutions like PTC Creo have evolved to offer a swath of advanced functionality as part of an integrated platform, including generative design, rendering, and real-time simulation as well as features for tool and die design, design for additive manufacturing, and mold analysis, among other capabilities. These advanced capabilities are not only integrated into the core Creo environment, they share the same native CAD file format.

With a common tool backbone, streamlined user experience, and a single, native 3D model, engineering organizations can finally benefit from the productivity and time-to-market efficiencies the rest of the organization is already enjoying from model-based definition (MBD) practices. PTC’s customer research shows a robust MBD approach helps companies produce documentation up to 40% faster, reduce first article inspection time by 60%, and benefit from a 90% drop in product errors and non-conformances. Design and engineering workflows are bound to benefit from similar efficiencies.

It's time for engineering organizations to practice what they preach and embrace a model-centric approach for their own workflows. Doing so lets them reap the rewards of a transformative design chain while facilitating the collective shift to MBD and the outsized objectives of a model-based enterprise.

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About the Author

Katherine Brown-Siebenaler

Katherine Brown-Siebenaler is the Marketing Content Manager for PTC's CAD team. Based in Austin, TX, Katherine is responsible for editing the Creo and Mathcad blogs. She has six years' experience as a content creator for various corporate marketing teams, primarily in SaaS environments. Katherine holds two degrees from the University of Florida, a BS in Journalism and an MA in Mass Communication. She enjoys learning how PTC customers bring software to life in real-world applications every day, leading innovation in their various industries.