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white paper

CAD and PLM needed in model-based enterprise (MBE) initiatives to drive success and collaboration

Reading time: 37 minutes

Robust computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D visualization tools have emerged in the last few years, providing all the capabilities needed to author and consume 3D models with the embedded product and manufacturing information (PMI). But more than just CAD and 3D visualization technologies, successful Model-Based Enterprise (MBE) initiatives require participation from stakeholders across the company. Fortunately, a viable alternative solution exists — Modern product lifecycle management (PLM) systems provide the necessary capabilities to track, manage, share, and collaborate on these deliverables in a controlled manner, even between manufacturers and their suppliers.

Lifecycle Insights, a publisher of research, educational, and advisory insights on technology-led engineering initiatives, covers all these topics and more in this white paper.

Clarifying model-based terminology: MBD, MBSE, and MBE

When it comes to engineering initiatives and the technologies used to enable them, terminology can be incredibly confusing. Three different engineering disciplines have model-centric approaches to make things even more complicated. Model-Based Definition (MBD) is a mechanical engineering initiative where a 3D model with Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) augments or replaces a 2D engineering drawing as design documentation. In contrast, Model-Based System Engineering (MBSE) is a system engineering initiative to create a digital system model used by all engineering disciplines and other functional organizations within a company. Model-Based Enterprise (MBE) is a company-wide initiative to augment 3D models and PMI with additional information to create new documentation deliverables beyond engineering. This white paper focuses on MBD and MBE, providing documentation based on mechanical 3D models augmented with the product, process, and PMI.

Misconceptions about MBE initiatives

At first glance, an MBE initiative might seem to be all about creating deliverables, whether from engineering or other functional organizations, and enabling other stakeholders to view and consume those deliverables. Yet, there is far more to it than that. MBE initiatives require the collaboration of many different stakeholders across many processes in product development, especially when reviewing and releasing design documentation, augmenting engineering documentation, and collaborating with suppliers. Lifecycle Insights explains that the MBE deliverable is not simply handed off in a fire-and-forget fashion in each scenario. Each case involves multiple parties and involves an ongoing back and forth collaboration between those parties. Thus a successful MBE effort requires technology that controls access, manages versions, tracks complex configurations, provides the right access at the right time, and exchanges design changes between organizations, suppliers, and the manufacturer.

The empowering role of PLM and 3D visualization

Many manufacturers attempt to make MBE initiatives happen with old-school tools, relying on laptops and desktops, shared drives, and email to track, manage, share, and collaborate around deliverables. But each of these tools has its drawbacks and limitations. Fortunately, a viable alternative exists — Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions. PLM systems and 3D visualization applications provide the following capabilities that are critical to MBE initiatives:

  • Version and iteration management
  • Release management
  • Secure sharing and synchronization
  • Secure collaboration
  • Notifications and updates
  • Technical data package exchange
  • Managing broad definitions
  • 3D model interrogation
  • Mobile 3D visualization

In all, PLM systems provide significant advantages over desktops, shared drives, and emails in supporting the processes to develop MBD and MBE deliverables amongst the range of stakeholders involved in the process. Continue reading why PLM solutions offer the correct additional set of capabilities to ensure MBE success by downloading the complete Lifecycle Insights white paper.