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Model Based Definition – First Step Towards Model Based Enterprise

At the beginning of the summer, my colleague Teppo Salmia wrote a blog on Model-Based Engineering and Model-Based Systems Engineering. Inspired by Teppo, I decided to write this blog focusing on Model-Based Definition (MBD). I hope you will also get inspired! To get started, the most important terms are explained in Figure 1 below.


Figure 1.

In general, industrial companies are under constant pressure to reduce costs, improve quality, and release new products quicker. These topics are going to be even more important when the world starts to recover from COVID-19 pandemic. The reduced cost, better quality, and shorter R&D lead times can be achieved by improving data flow in product development, product engineering, and manufacturing processes. Did you know that it is possible to improve data flow by taking PMI, MBD, and MBE into use? Return on investment (ROI) for MBD has been studied more in detail for example by Lifecycle Insights [2].

MBD is not actually a new term or technology. Siemens has released first functionalities in the early '90s. However, during the past years, PMI, MBD, and MBE have become more and more common topics of “coffee table discussions”. Discussions are usually focused on adding annotations to 3D models in CAD software. However, there are so many other aspects that should be discussed. What if annotations are not read by the human eye at all? PMI information can be created only once in engineering and reused for example in analysis, machining, and inspection processes [3]. The biggest benefits of PMI/MBD/MBE can be gained if the information is shared and consumed efficiently in downstream processes with minimal human interaction. Possible reuse cases are illustrated in Figure 2 below. 


Figure 2.

Efficient data consumption requires data to be in the correct format for the downstream processes. Whether the data is consumed by a human or machine, suitable format(s) can be found for all business needs. In addition to geometry, many of the formats allow you to also transfer annotations.  In addition to native CAD-formats like NX-format, needed data can be communicated downstream by using formats like JT, STEP, and 3D PDF. However, it is worth remembering that it is useless to add all drawing annotations to a 3D model. Only the really needed annotations like specifically tolerated dimensions and geometric tolerances should be added. Figure 3 shows an example of a fully annotated model which should be avoided.


Figure 3.


Instead of adding a large number of annotations, it is very important to consider how to utilize PMI efficiently e.g. in part manufacturing [4]. By combining PMI and feature-based machining, it is possible to reduce NC programming time even more than 90% as shown in Figure 4 below.


Figure 4.

As already mentioned, MBD has been there for a while and Siemens already has the needed software tools so it is up to you to make things happen. Some of the available NX tools are shown in Figure 5. Now is the right time to get started with MBD which is the first step towards a completely Model-Based Enterprise.


Figure 5.

In case you want to know even more, please contact us or check our on-demand Model-Based Enterprise webinar recording.


The text is written by Niko Laukkanen, who has several years of experience from the field of R&D, engineering, CAD, and PLM. Currently, he is responsible for 3D Solutions at IDEAL GRP.

Niko Laukkanen
Business Area Manager, 3D Solutions
Mobile: +358405290907
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


1. Siemens Digital Industries Software (DISW), Internal materials

2. Lifecycle Insights, The ROI of MBD [referenced 14.9.2020]

3. Siemens DISW, Keys to a Successful Model-Based Definition Strategy [referenced 14.9.2020]

4. Siemens DISW, Feature-Based Machining in NX CAM [referenced 14.9.2020]





Tags: PLM

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