What Does the Future Hold for MBD? [Interview with Jennifer Herron]
Written by: Cat McClintock

Two of the biggest themes to emerge in product development over the past decade have been additive manufacturing (3D printing) and model-based definition (MBD).

3D printing offers companies a practical and often inexpensive way to create prototypes and even production parts—especially for designs that don’t conform well to traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding or milling. At the same time MBD helps streamline communication of product information to downstream stakeholders. 

None of this is news to anyone who’s been paying attention to what’s going on in product development technologies over the past 5 years or so. But what might surprise you is that the two have a future together.

That’s according to Jennifer Herron, the founder and CEO of Action Engineering and author of the book Re-Use Your CAD: The Model-Based CAD Handbook about MBD. Herron chairs an ASME standards committee on MBD, and she says the future of MBD lies, in part, with additive manufacturing. She explains in this short video:

To summarize, Herron says that the popularity of 3D printing is driving the advancement of MBD. “The future is pretty significant,” she says. “One of the things that's happened over the last two years is the adoption and excitement around additive manufacturing.”

What does MBD have to do with additive manufacturing? Remember, additive manufacturing actually requires a 3D model to produce a printed model. It simply makes sense to skip over 2D drawings entirely, and create a set of tools and standards that will support additive manufacturing in the MBD space. As a member of the standards board, Herron is helping that effort today.

Creo Advances Additive Manufacturing and MBD

In the newest release of our 3D CAD software, Creo 4.0, we introduced tools to better support both MBD and additive manufacturing:

  • For those using MBD, you can more easily add and edit GD&T (geometric dimensioning and tolerancing) annotations to your model. Then, you can publish your 3D model into a viewable format, which allows others in the organization to easily access the model and its associated PMI.
  • To support your additive manufacturing efforts, Creo 4.0 enables you to create complex lattice features, interact with your 3D printer in real time, and much more.

While each of these powerful features are useful on their own, they’re really game-changers when combined within your MBD approach. And, without giving away too much, we can tell you that we’ll continue to develop these technologies in future releases as well.

The MBD E-book

MBD is quickly becoming the preferred approach to design as many of the hurdles to creating a single source authority model for every stage of product development are falling away. To learn more about model-based definition, check out the free e-book 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.

Tags: CAD
About the Author Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.