Are these companies using MBE deliverables for broader purposes?
Why is that an important question? Well, the acronym MBE stands for Model-Based Enterprise. There are many uses of MBE deliverables across almost all of the departments within a manufacturer. There are many different value propositions for using MBE deliverables widely. Benefits can range from meeting deadlines in tight schedules, avoiding incorrectly ordered parts, reducing scrap and waste on the shop floor and so on.
So how widely are these companies, three-quarters of which are obligated to generate these deliverables, using them across departments?
Well, there’s a lot that these statistics tell us. But let’s start on the top left.
Yes, MBE deliverables can be used to dramatically automate the creation of 2D drawings. PMI includes notes, dimensions, GD&T and much more. Once embedded in the 3D model, they can easily be dropped onto views in a 2D drawing. Now, while it is easy, this use of MBE deliverables begs a question. Embedding PMI in a 3D model lets you avoid the creation of a 2D drawing. Why, of all of the potential applications of MBE, is that use adopted at the highest rate? Obviously questions like: how are these 2D drawings used and what organizations use these 2D drawings are most appropriate here. It makes sense to keep that in mind for the spring 3D research study, permitted it is within scope.
Using MBE deliverables for tooling design and the generation of machining toolpaths is a natural fit. However, there is a nuance here that deserves further exploration. You can use the geometric aspects of an MBE deliverable without using the PMI embedded within it. Essentially, you can create a mold cavity just with the geometry. You can create the toolpath shape from the geometry as well. But with an MBE model, you could extract the surface finish value and automatically drive the surface finish value on the tooling. You could extract a GD&T concentricity tolerance and use that to determine if a rough or fine drilling sequence is most appropriate. Again, this provides good fodder for the spring 3D research study.
What isn’t subtle or nuanced about these findings is that for a contractually obligated activity, the leverage of these deliverables is fairly low. Across the board, these MBE deliverables are being used in these applications roughly half the time.
Now yes, I know that there are process barriers to adopting MBE on a broad scale. Yes, I know that there is cultural pushback in embracing MBE as opposed to 2D drawings. However, to be frank, I see missed opportunity. For all those years that I know users and companies howled and screamed at software providers that they needed more functionality and capability, yet to only see adoption at these levels is disheartening. I’m not sure. Maybe the true lesson here is that MBE, like the adoption of any technology, has a lot more to do with process and culture than we like to admit.