Key Takeaways from the MBE Summit 2024

Anark was fortunate enough to sponsor and attend the recent MBE & QIF Summit Presentations that were held at MxD in Chicago April 2024.  The in-person version of the MBE (model-based enterprise) event was last held at the National Institute of Standards in 2019 and like many post-pandemic gatherings, the excitement level was palpable.  The MBE Summit since 2009 has brought academia, government, and industry experts together to share the challenges, implementation issues, and lessons learned in design, manufacturing, quality assurance, and sustainment of products and processes where a Model-Based approach to design, manufacturing and inspection is applied. Here are our key takeaways from this great event:

A crowd at the 2024 MBE Summit

Standards are the key to success

Standard ways of defining and organizing 3D CAD MBD models via the ASME Y14 standards have progressed significantly and Anark partners such as Action Engineering, Belcan along with many Anark customers are deeply involved in helping drive these standards that result in MBD best practices.  For 15+ years Anark has been progressing our capabilities to handle MBD designs coming from all major CAD providers and convert them into rich, accurate 3D PDF or Anark Collaborate Web based content.  These publication processes adhere to aspects of the standard such as visual response between annotations and the related model features plus much more. 

As CAD vendors and end users of their tools understand and implement ASME Y14 standards better, modeling practices become much more consistent and higher quality 3D PDF and standard Web based content can be created.  Finally, the MBD model that has been defined properly will be able to generate a proper QIF file that can be delivered as part of an Anark TDP to improve downstream Model Based inspection processes, resulting in higher quality and better feedback to improve designs.  The full circle to first article inspection back to design is now possible, not just for large companies with extensive budgets.

Action Engineering for example are active members of over 10 national and international standards committees. They provide training and Subject Matter Expert support to educate stakeholders on standards, Model-Based Definition (MBD) principles, and implementation strategies that when executed, greatly improve the success of Anark's MBD technical data publication process, which then leads to reduced errors and better understanding and flow of information from Design to Manufacturing.  

Digital Thread and Digital Twin are not the reality for a vast majority of organizations 

Many presentations centered around the digital thread. Every manufacturing organization seeks a seamless flow of digital information throughout the entire product lifecycle that often starts with Model Based initiatives. In an ideal world, this "digital thread" connects product data from design and engineering through production, operation, and maintenance.  In listening to how people are really getting product data into the hands of everyone that need it, there is still a great deal of data and information being exchanged outside of the closed loop utopia the digital thread promises. This is in large part due to the specialized tools and systems various teams use to manage their data and collaboration. This creates a manufacturing collaboration gap between CAD, PLM and everyone downstream in the model-based enterprise. 

Digital Thread Racetrack

This assembly of industry experts has it's roots in Department of Defense groups that continue the development of MIL-STD-31000 compliant 3Di PDF Technical Data Packages (TDP).  And Jeff Windham from the U.S. Army - Rock Island Arsenal has been tirelessly working on MIL-STD-31000 for many years and he gave a great overview on the upcoming C revision and how it is being updated to incorporate Additive Manufacturing . While this effort is fantastic, it still requires systems at an organization to generate a MIL-STD-31000B compliant 3D PDF that is consumed by people outside the tight loop, thus breaking the digital thread, leaving a collaboration gap. And there are still companies that use CAD screenshots and PowerPoint markups sent via email to collaborate, especially with external partners and suppliers. This widens the collaboration gap even more. 

Anark is working with OSD MANTECH to Modernize how Technical Data is made available for the Organic Industrial Base to close this gap.  As opposed to file-based approaches that break the digital thread, it enables any owner of technical data to fully control their own digital thread BUT also extend it to people, partners and organizations outside of their firewalls and deliver MBD information without imposing a Digital Thread nor MBD tools knowledge. 

There were many examples during the week of advanced organizations that have stood up very advanced MBD processes, but the handoff and collaboration with partners and suppliers is still a challenge.  The connection of many systems and processes to the digital thread is a goal for sure, but the ability for end-to-end collaboration between manufacturers and their customers or partners is a critical piece of any manufacturing operations and most organizations still need help to get there.

Efficient and effective use of MBD is hard

The MBE summit is filled with some of the best minds to progress the use of 3D CAD to take advantage of the efficiencies that Model Based Designs can provide. The advantages of MBD have been repeated, updated, documented, ROI calculated and much more for many years now but when you get into smaller manufactures that are critical to support large OEMs and the DOD, they still struggle and want to revert back to 2D Drawings and traditional ways of communicating information such as email, phone, redlining of paper and more.

In many model based definition initiatives, it is assumed that designers, engineers, and other stakeholders should be able to collaborate more effectively by sharing and reviewing ONLY the 3D MBD models or the related files such as STEP AP242e2. Simply creating a 3D CAD models and providing a way to view it easily seems to check off the MBD box for the larger more mature manufacturing organizations but, just spinning a 3D CAD model is not enough really, nor possible for many yet.  

Being able to deliver a complete TDP in a mobile-first, neutral and intuitive way is a big advantage because it allows everyone to quickly and easily understand product design and manufacturing intent, asking important questions ahead of time and collaborating asynchronously using 3D MBD CAD, 2D Drawing (yes it is OK to use legacy information where needed and appropriate) and other documents and specifications that are normally part of the customer's deliverables and therefore the customer collaboration process.

Driving your MBD and MBE initiatives forward

Any customer can progress Model Based Initiatives within the Anark Collaborate platform that enables secure hosting and web-based collaboration for Technical Data Package (TDPs) that can vary widely.  These TDPs can also include legacy designs PLUS modern MBD files and documents plus STEP AP242e2 or QIF as deliverables for downstream consumers of the TDP.  This allows anyone to get started with Model Based technical data delivery starting at their current  Technical Data Maturity Level and progressing from there. If your manufacturing organization is seeking to improve on its ability to connect to the digital thread, collaborate better with customers and suppliers, or win more DoD contracts, contact us today. We are following the most advanced topics at events like the MBE & QIF Summits while at the same time listening to and supporting customers who may be just starting on their Digital Transformation journeys. 


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