Original article published by Jim Zwica for Vertex.

Traditional collaboration methods in the product development process are slowly going by the wayside. 2D drawings and pen-and-paper notes are giving way to digital design processes. What’s more – individuals are working with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people instead of a small handful of teammates. Thanks to today’s technological tools, teams have greater insight into the greater product development process leading to more effective collaboration.

It becomes more critical than ever to maintain a product model’s integrity. Once a model is compromised, collaboration methods break down and the product loses tenability.

- Jim Zwica

Less face-to-face collaboration, greater process insight, and the strength of the digital age all impacts the true importance of a 3D product model. Rather than relying on word-of-mouth or institutional knowledge, the model itself becomes the trusted, authoritative source of product definition throughout the PLM process – from design, to as-built, to use, through upgrade.

This means that it becomes more critical than ever to maintain a product model’s integrity. Once a model is compromised, collaboration methods break down and the product loses tenability. To ensure optimal collaboration and a strong product model, forward-thinking organizations rely on three digital approaches to improve 3D product workflows. Although these concepts are still new and aren’t yet optimized to their full potential, their benefits are already proving to have strong impacts on collaboration.

1. MODEL-BASED ENTERPRISE BRINGS AN AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE OF TRUTH TO 3D MODELING

Currently, manufacturers are transitioning away from the traditional application of 2D drawings or paper-based data to make decisions. Instead, they are leveraging a digital model of a physical object for all activities and decision-making. This strategy is known as a model-based enterprise (MBE).

MBE can lead to more easily sustained products, increased savings, and greater collaboration with suppliers and partners.

- Jim Zwica

During design, the MBE converges with PLM tools and methods by providing shape, behavior, and context to 3D models. Organizations leverage the 3D models at any point in the PLM process, giving all contributors a secure and authoritative source of product definition required for today’s collaboration needs.

At the heart of an MBE strategy is the model-based definition (MBD). According to MBE expert Nathan Hartman, an MBD is a 3D CAD model with embedded dimension and notation information. An MBD enhances the design process while leading to reduced costs, improved product transparency, and optimized evaluations. To be truly successful, the MBD must include:

  • Geometry definition
  • Dimensional information
  • Design intent clarity
  • Explicit information

Adoption of the MBE approach is growing, evidenced most recently by the Department of Defense transitioning to a completely digital strategy. According to Hartman’s recent analysis of the transition, MBE can lead to more easily sustained products, increased savings, and greater collaboration with suppliers and partners.

Read the rest of the original article here.

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