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Is Your Business a Model Based Enterprise?


AIAG is helping to lead the way.

Almost four decades ago, the automotive industry was clearly in the lead when it came to the emerging technology we now know as CAD/CAM. Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing promised to reduce new product lead times, improve quality, and reduce cost.

The grand vision was to directly use 3D content developed in CAD systems to not only manufacture new products, but to also to modernize almost all downstream operations like validation, process planning, service information, procurement, quality, and inspection, to name just a few. This vision is now referred to as Model Based Enterprise or MBE for short. Paper-based processes and 2D drawings should be largely a thing of the past by now, but are they?

Model Based Design for the Model Based Enterprise

Over a decade ago, discrete manufacturers all across the planet began to realize that generation of 2D drawings as part of the design process was highly inefficient, limited the effective use of 3D content, and led to huge quality issues and delays. This was caused in large measure because the 2D content and drawings were often out of sync with the currently released 3D master designs. There had to be a better way.

In many manufacturing industry segments, direct incorporation of Product Manufacturing Information (PMI), including Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing (GD&T) into 3D CAD models is solving these issues. The process of embedding PMI information directly into CAD models is known as Model Based Design (MBD). 

The aerospace and defense industry in particular has been a leader in this movement, reaping enormous benefits in efficiency, quality, and time to market. In fact, many A&D firms have been able to eliminate 2D drawings altogether, though most are not quite ready for that step. With AIAG’s help, the automotive industry is poised to re-take the lead by leveraging and optimizing those MBE practices that are suitable to the unique nature of the automotive industry and which will ensure that the automotive industry is truly Model Based. 


PMI Modeled Directly in 3D CAD

 MBD in the Automotive Industry Today

The AIAG MBE Work Team recently polled a subset of OEMs and suppliers to find out where the industry stands regarding MBD. Results of the study suggest there is plenty of room for improvement, but with advances in CAD authoring by PLM vendors, as well as efforts by standards bodies like ISO, SME, NIST, SASIG, JAMA, Gallia, and others, the stage is set for a rapid transformation. Progress in the aerospace and defense industry is also a beacon for the automotive industry to follow, despite differences between the two sectors. 

A recent poll of automotive companies and suppliers revealed that more than 85 percent are familiar with MBD, and 82 percent realize that the industry is becoming less dependent upon 2D drawings.

Are you Familiar with Model Based Design?



Are you aware that the industry is moving away from 2D drawings?


As indicated above, the automotive industry has some catching up to do. Still, 40% of the companies polled are using 3D CAD models to drive production operations.

Do you currently use 3D CAD models to drive your production operations?


What  does all this suggest about  the potential for MBD and MBE?

It appears that there is strong awareness and understanding of the need to reduce and eventually even eliminate 2D drawings. That is great news, despite modest progress to date. Benefits reported across manufacturing segments to date point to enormous potential:

  • 30% Reduction in Engineering Design Time & Cost

  • 50% Reduction in Tooling Design & Fabrication Costs

  • 30% Reduction in Overall Assembly Time

  • 20% Reduction in Manufacturing and Supplier Scrap and Rework

  • 50% Reduction in Manufacturing and Supplier response time

Will these numbers prove out over time in the automotive industry? Some think these estimates miss important benefits in purchasing/procurement, process planning, service information, and a host of other downstream automotive workflows that will directly benefit from the use of 3D Model Based content — content that until MBE came along was too difficult to achieve.

Time will tell, of course, but many member companies are betting on these kinds of results.

So, back to the original question: “Is your organization a model based enterprise?”

Take this survey to find out!

Take Survey


Contact AIAG for more information on this important initiative.




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