Capturing Product Behavioral and Contextual Characteristics through a Model-Based Feature Information Network (MFIN)


Capturing Product Behavioral and Contextual Characteristics through a Model-Based Feature Information Network (MFIN) (DMDII 15-11-08)

DMDII project update on MFIN: moving MBD beyond geometry and 3D annotations to address the larger product lifecycle.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) software used to design mechanical parts continues to evolve, and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) processes continue to advance, but the transfer of data between mechanical designers, manufacturing, and product sustainment has changed very little in the last 15 years. The current state-of-the-art in Model-Based Definition (MBD) is design product geometry centric, typically containing Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing (GD&T), annotations, Bill of Material (BOM) and limited processing information stored as Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI). Build data today is comprised of a combination of electronic and paper documents spread across many disconnected files and multiple formats, (i.e., PDF, HPGL, JPEG, STEP, IGES, ASCII, QIF, MatML, etc.). This assortment of delivery formats is unintelligently linked, making data transfer — and more importantly design intent — difficult to communicate and interpret. As a result, today’s manufacturers must review, translate & interpret and/or re-enter the design data, causing their manufacturing processes to be labor intensive and prone to error. In addition to the re-creation of the design data, significant amounts of sustainment data captured during the product lifecycle remains disengaged from both design and manufacturing. This full range of lifecycle data can include material properties; design methods; analysis; manufacturing; measurement; inspection; certification test; field service; operations; maintenance; repair and overhaul data. This data is lacking meaningful connectivity to the digital thread, and access to this data is cumbersome at best. The reasons include both the complexity of the data models within which the data must be stored, and the absolute volume of new data, which is fast approaching Petabytes per year.

The DMDII 15-11-08 project is addressing this problem by demonstrating the use of semantic PMI and the capture of materials characteristics at a part feature level and linking those behavioral characteristics to the features in a CAD model via MFIN links. Through the use of semantic PMI and MFINs, enhanced part and feature definitions will be linked to design intent, production information, and sustainment product data to automate inputs into analysis tools, generate planning documents, generate high level measurement plans, and to form a feedback loop to the design decision process.

The diverse project team includes Lockheed Martin, Purdue University, Capvidia, Materials Data Management Inc., MSC Software, PTC, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens PLM. By involving end users, software vendors, and leaders in academic research, this project will bring the leaders in MBE research together with leading software companies to address real-world workflows provided by end users. The objective is to provide real-world MBE software tools and workflows to advance the digital thread for manufacturing.

This presentation will review the current progress and findings of this important and ambitious project.

Project team:

  • Andrew Hall, Rolls-Royce
  • Rosemary Astheimer, Purdue University
  • Mark Nielsen, TechAzul
  • Michael D. Sangid, Purdue University
  • Saikiran Gopalakrishnan, Purdue University
  • Kevin Del Re, Purdue University
  • Daniel Campbell, Capvidia
  • Nate Hartman, Purdue University


Andrew Hall
MBE/PLM Technical Specialist
Rolls-Royce Corporation

Andrew Hall is a MBE/PLM Technical Specialist in the Product Definition Process group at Rolls-Royce Corporation. He is the Global MBD Technical Lead for Model Based Definition, mainly focusing on the NX development, deployment and support of Product Manufacturing Information (PMI).  He also leads the development and utilization of Anark software, used to generate 3D PDF documents from MBD product definition.  Andrew has developed MBD processes, standards and training for global implementation of MBE. This includes supporting users across multiple sites, businesses and the supply chain. He serves as a committee member on the ASME Y14.41 and Y14.47 standards. He supports multiple committees and consortiums in the MBE/MBD area, including DMDII.

Andrew has a Bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology with a focus on CAD design. He has 25 years of experience with NX and other CAD systems. His experience brought him to Rolls-Royce in 2007 as a CAD Support Engineer and has progressed to current position. In addition to supporting MBD initiatives, he supports PLM users on a daily basis as a PLM Super User.

3D Collaboration & Interoperability Congress

The 3D Collaboration & Interoperability Congress (3D CIC) focuses on 3D CAD collaboration and interoperability for the entire product lifecycle. The 2018 theme of Enterprise Accountability will bring together real users to share experiences and learn about the topics of Culture & Champions, Quality, and Manufacturing. 3D CIC 2018 will be held October 15-18, 2018 at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, Colorado. Find out more and register at

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