MBE: What’s it all about?

Chances are you have heard talk around the water cooler about MBE, and thought – what’s up with that? This is the first in a series of blogs that will answer that question. What is MBE? The acronym MBE gets people confused. It sometimes refers to model-based engineering, which deals with design practices. More frequently it is coming to mean model-based enterprise, a term which was arguably coined by the U.S. Department of Defense. Here’s the way their website defines the model-based enterprise: “Model Based Enterprise (MBE) is a digital tapestry which has been optimized around a core set of annotated product models enabling rapid, seamless, and affordable deployment of products from concept to disposal.” A key phrase in this definition is “a core set of annotated product models.” These annotated product models are often referred to as model-based definition, or MBD, which simply means that all of the information needed to properly manufacture a product is contained within that 3D model set. A common misconception about MBE is that it is a “binary condition,” meaning that either the organization has achieved it, or it hasn’t. It is much more accurate to think of MBE as being similar to what the term product lifecycle management, or PLM, has come to mean. It is a business strategy for achieving higher levels of profitability through continuous process improvement. A company that is implementing a model-based enterprise strategy will be striving to accomplish the following: Through MBD practices, fully detail the 3D model(s) of the product(s) with all of the necessary product manufacturing information (PMI) needed to make the product. Eliminate the...