From air quality technology to ophthalmic lens manufacturing, companies from a wide variety of industries showed up at one of our recent Productivity Pack Workshop events to see some new engineering technology. The focus of the event was on becoming more productive, and we covered topics including Simulation, Electrical, Inspection, Costing and MBD. In this blog post I will run through SOLIDWORKS MBD.
Model Based Definition (MBD) is a drawingless product definition concept that includes information derived directly from the CAD model (what would normally be a 2D drawing) that is shown in a viewable and interactive 3D format. From the demonstration by our Senior Application Engineer, Cole McLeod, we were able to see it in action from creating dimensions to publishing the file.
“If manufacturing can measure for themselves extra dimensions, that saves us time.” – Mate Precision Tool
The MBD file can be outputted to programs like Adobe Reader and eDrawings where the viewer has the power to do things that would have taken a phone call to engineering before. Things like measuring edges and areas to showing cross sections and rotating. It can all be done right from a computer without a CAD program.
There are also some visual enhancements not possible before this technology, like BOM interactivity. Simply clicking the part in the BOM shows its location in the PDF viewing window. This adds efficiency to the already impressively streamlined process.
“I like the assembly [BOM] features where you can click to see the part description.” – Vision Ease Lens
“It cuts out the paper trail of historical documents to get linked connectivity.” – Local Manufacturer
Part of the motivation to go digital with drawings is the need for less management of released documents such as physical 2D drawings. Manufacturing can receive automatic notifications that an update has been made to the part model which is directly reflected on the MBD part or assembly view panel. Engineering no longer needs to manage changes of 2D drawings. Note that MBD can do physical paper drawings if needed such as in remote locations or harsh conditions, but 2D drawings on that paper are all but replaced. This is one of the main reasons to go 3D.
“When you introduce a 3D PDF, now you get a very clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished in manufacturing, and it’s accessible to anyone.” – Stratasys
So how long does it take to create these files?
Using MBD is an experience very similar to 3D CAD modeling and to creating files with tools such as “Capture 3D View” and “DimXpert." To expedite the process of adding dimensions, the user can simply define the planes, select which dimensions to add from a checklist, and much of the rest is done by MBD. As soon as the part has the dimensions needed for the view, you simply use the “Capture 3D View” to create an image for eDrawings or a 3D PDF. The process takes a fraction of the time of the previous approach.
Written by Mike Strand
Mike Strand works with both the Marketing and the Application Engineering team at Alignex, Inc. During the week he attends engineering events, edits YouTube videos and writes posts for the Alignex Blog. On the weekend you’ll find Mike driving ATVs, snowmobiling and building tools like a cantilever lifting hoist.