MBE Light - An Alternative

MBE - The Model-Based Enterprise | The Virtual Product Model - An Alternative


Model-based enterprise (MBE) is a term used in manufacturing to describe a strategy where an annotated digital three-dimensional (3D) model of a product serves as the authoritative information source for all activities in that product's lifecycle.[1][2]

A key advantage of MBE is that it replaces digital drawings. In MBE, a single 3D model contains all the information typically found in an entire set of engineering drawings, including geometry, topology, dimensions, tolerances, materials, finishes, and weld call-outs.[3]


The Virtual Product Model


There are many advantages for companies that design and manufacture complex products for implementing MBE. However, the undertaking can be very costly and risky.

We would like to offer an alternative to what is considered mainstream MBE solutions, the Virtual Product Model.

The Virtual Product Model can be used to implement “MBE-light”. Implementing MBE (Model-based Enterprise) is a huge undertaking. Using the Virtual Product Model approach will save your company time and money and be less risky.


Attributes of a Virtual Product Model


Here are some of the attributes a Virtual Product Model should have:

  • Complete and accurate graphical representation containing all parts and subassemblies.
  • Hierarchical part structure with multiple Bills of Material (BOM) (engineering eBOM, manufacturing - mBOM, service - sBOM) to support multiple downstream use cases.
  • CAD independent: no CAD experience or licenses are required to use.
  • Good performance that supports fast, intuitive interactions on standard computers.

In other words, the Virtual Product Model is visual, easy to access, and complete. It could be used by the design department but is intended to support functions downstream from design that can benefit from easily accessible, accurate, detailed product information.

Virtual Product Model Use Cases


These are just some of the use cases for a Virtual Product Model.

Production Engineering

The Production Engineering team needs to plan the best way to build the product, regardless of how it was designed, regardless of the CAD systems used, regardless of parts designed in-house and those purchased. They need a Virtual Product Model that is complete, accurate and has the complete structured Bill of Materials. This is the foundation of their planning.

Visualization and Analysis

Production teams must review the procedures with an eye toward productivity and safety. These reviews include:

  • Assembly Review: Verify that the product can be assembled correctly per the procedure.
  • Workability Review: Verify that the work can be performed safely and comfortably.

The Virtual Product Model enables you to run assembly simulations and analyze the production plan in detail, which is not possible with CAD data.

Technical Communications

Authoring good documentation is challenging. Often companies will resort to pictures of prototypes, screenshots from the CAD system, or even producing drawings by hand using a general-purpose drawing program.

IoT and Digital Twins

Companies that produce complex products are embracing IoT and Digital Twins. Digital Twins are digital models of individual products – not just the product model, but each individual product (e.g. serial number). The Digital Twin includes the complete history of the product – not just its “as-built” configuration but also its “as maintained” and “as serviced” configuration – all the way up to its current configuration.

How to Implement a Virtual Product Model

It all starts with your 3D CAD models. These can all be converted into XVL. A single XVL file contains a complete product, bringing all of the 3D CAD together in a single file, which is lightweight and CAD-accurate.

Click below to download the complete whitepaper.

Download MBE-Light Whitepaper


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