How Model Based Definition (MBD) Can Help Optimize Product Manufacturing

The idea behind Model Based Definition is to incorporate manufacturing and inspection information in 3D models as compared to developing separate 2D drawings from 3D models for manufacturing requirements.

The use of 2D drafting is declining significantly as 3D modeling is increasingly being utilized across every product development stage. It is thus pretty much obvious then to imagine 3D models being also utilized for manufacturing purpose. The model based definition is an approach towards this direction.

Despite putting efforts in building 3D models, the manufacturing process still relies on 2D prints. However with MBD, product manufacturing information or PMI can be describes on 3D models as well.

As a matter of fact, MBD is being increasingly adopted by manufacturers, which has led to the addition of standards in ANSI Y14.41 to define 3D models with annotations to complete model definition. 3D annotations match with the same methods used for 2D, including treatments, finishes and tolerances. It allows better communication for manufacturing and inspections as well as for vendors and customers.

However, some of the key benefits of adopting MBD that can help in optimizing the product manufacturing process shall include:

Cost Savings

2D prints are conventionally used in the manufacturing process; however, the original product design developed using 3D modeling. The 2D drawings extracted from 3D models often lack manufacturing information and requires re-working on these drawings to suit manufacturing needs, which increases the scrap work and associated costs.

However, with MBD, the same 3D model is utilized digitally and all the manufacturing information is directly annotated on the model, allowing easy identification of the process required at a particular location in the product model.

Time Savings

Since rework is reduced, the time required to rebuild 2D manufacturing drawings gets eliminated completely. As such, there is a significant savings in time required for the manufacturing process. This directly affects the time-to-market the product and allows manufacturers to place their products in the market at the right time.

Quality Improvement

With MBD, communication between engineering and manufacturing team is lot easier, since all the messages are conveyed using a single 3D model. This directly impacts the manufacturing quality as discrepancies are reduced. There is a more intuitive and accurate communication across the departments.

However, MBD is an approach which cannot be applied to every manufacturing facility. There will always be a requirement of 2D drawings for many cases. Imagine a construction worker 20 floors up with an assembly model on an iPad in a bright sunlight – MBD doesn’t fit at all here.

For some cases, the cost of implementing MBD can also be a factor. Whichever way it is, 2D drawings are still going to play an important role in manufacturing process.

However, for manufacturers on the threshold of big transformation, MBD can play a decisive role in optimizing product manufacturing. Its implementation should be gradual with its utilization initially for design reviews and quotes and later replacing the 2D information completely once everyone gets familiar with the approach.

About the Author:

Gaurang Trivedi is engineering consultant at TrueCADD. He has applied his engineering expertise across several highly complex and big scale projects, consequently managing to flawlessly deliver as per the client requirements.

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