Implementing model-based definition (MBD) offers incredible advantages for product development organizations. A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) showed that MBD reduces the design – manufacturing – inspection workflow by a massive 72%. Furthermore, most users don’t enjoy creating traditional 2D production drawings. Why wouldn’t you want to adopt a practice that will increase efficiency while reducing tasks people don’t want to perform?
The path to MBD isn’t as hard as you think. Here are four steps for implementing MBD for your organization.
Anytime you want to introduce change, you’re going to encounter resistance. People in your organization and supply chain will insist that “the drawing is the contract” and you can’t build, inspect, or receive without a 2D print – and not a PDF either, but an old-fashioned print. This thinking is antiquated and puts you at a competitive disadvantage.
I was the second person on Amazon Prime Air’s Vehicle Design Team after the team leader. My boss had previously worked at Boeing where they delivered an entire passenger airplane using MBD. My first day on the program, he told me, “My goal is to never produce a drawing on this program.”
I thought to myself “Hallelujah.” We didn’t achieve that, but we were able to move much faster being model-centric instead of drawing-centric. MBD is not going “drawingless”; it’s about making the models your primary deliverables and sources of product and manufacturing information (PMI).
Furthermore, MBD is not replicating the drawing in the 3D model. MBD is capturing the necessary information in a manner that can be used in downstream processes more efficiently.
Some suppliers won’t be ready for MBD. One time we prepared to bring one supplier on board with MBD, and quite simply, they didn’t get it. After many phone calls, we finally agreed that we would provide the models and relevant additional PMI, and then they would create 2D drawings on their side. Oh well.
MBD does little good if your internal- and external- manufacturers and vendors can’t support it. You’ll have to get buy in, and this requires persuasion. Explain the benefits and assist them with their implementation.
You have to provide them with a means of accessing your models. If you’re in a Windchill environment, ProjectLink can serve as your bridge. And make sure they have access to visualization tools like Creo View.
Finally, we get to the mechanics of actually providing your end users with the skills to generate models with PMI. Here’s the good news: it's not hard to teach the picks and clicks. It essentially comes down to combination states, annotation planes, and 3D annotations. You can find more about these MBD training steps in another article.
Having assisted with the transition toward MBD with multiple organizations, I can tell you it’s not as hard as you think, and it will make you a better and happier product development organization.