Model-Based Definition (MBD) at its core is machine readable annotations, data that’s associated to 3D geometry which is valuable both in manufacturing and in removing ambiguity from the communication of product definition. CNC programming and Manufacturing have been using 3D CAD Geometry for 30 plus years.
QIF or Quality Information Framework is meant to address 3D data in quality engineering including supplier quality management. Quality processes are well-established, and quality has a really important role: they’re the accountability folks, they hold product definition and manufacturing accountable, and they also hold their suppliers accountable. However, their efforts, while necessary, are costly. MBD combined with QIF can reduce costs and significantly decrease delivery time. As you can imagine, quality processes and skills are difficult to evolve because folks are rightly cautious about changing processes that keep your airplanes from falling out of the sky or your car from running off the road.
MBD combined with QIF can reduce costs and significantly decrease delivery time.
Our work with 30-plus companies informs us that the existing quality processes are often very manual, do not leverage digital technology and involve a lot of data re-entry. In fact, our research found up to 20 manual data re-entry points during an originator-to-supplier data exchange of a single product. As quality professionals, that’s a lot of manual checking, re-checking, and accountability to pay for and manage.
That’s where QIF comes into play. Now we’re taking MBD (CAD + annotations) and creating a Bill of Characteristics (BoC) A BoC is a list of all the features of size and geometric tolerances that must be validated during First Article Inspection (FAI), or receiving inspection for critical key characteristics.
In the past, quality engineers were entering, re-entering, and double-checking data manually. Paper-based, they were looking at a drawing and creating circles, balloons on a drawing. Then somebody typed all that characteristic information into an Excel spreadsheet, and they got measurement results. It was often a mix of paper-based processes and data re-entry processes in Excel or a quality system. Even digital Quality Management Systems (QMS) have significant date entry and re-entry.
Leveraging the modern QIF standard, the information in the annotations automatically populates the Bill of Characteristics, so all that data re-entry goes away. Then we take the semantic PMI, the associated geometry with its annotations, and . . . with a click of a button . . . program a CMM machine, or automatically do quality data analysis. For point-cloud data like CT scanning, we can overlay the CT scan data on our MBD model. It’s not just a cylinder, for example, but a cylinder that is supplemented and embellished with annotations. Dimensional reporting and analysis can also be automated and those results can be written back to the QIF format.
Leveraging the modern QIF standard, the information in the annotations automatically populates the Bill of Characteristics, so all that data re-entry goes away.
A QIF file isn’t just a derivative file format, it’s a framework. If we create more QIF files from the same source model, they use the UUID concept. No matter where the derivative came from, the characteristic information has that QPID, Quality Persistent Identifier, which is a form of a UUID. Whether it’s programming machines to inspect features, or collecting results data, all the data is associated to the same UUID, the social security number of the requirement. Now, our databases can consume QIF data from programming or results data, and the digital thread is maintained. Using QIF, we also get a feedback loop back of results data from the supplier. Without the UUID, the digital thread is cut off at the originator-to-supplier transfer. Keeping the data connectivity through between originator and supplier or fabricator is paramount.
Regardless of which application you’re using, the persistent identifier (QPID) maintains that digital thread, so now:
- your supplier can work with data that is associated with this characteristic.
- your internal operations can start collecting data that gets incorporated into the digital thread
- your information can be persisted into the master database regardless of where it’s coming from
- it all ultimately derives from the original MBD model, so that there’s no data re-entry needed anymore
QIF is the key to impactful MBD implementation.
QIF is the key to impactful MBD implementation. Quality has not had a good tool to meet their needs in MBD. QIF finally provides something for quality organizations from 3D CAD models that they really haven’t had yet. And quality processes are the ones that stand to benefit the most from MBD. All that re-entry is time-consuming and error-prone, so QIF frees up quality engineers to focus their skills beyond data entry.
Want to know more? Take a look at the following OSCAR Content:
- What is QIF 3.0 (YouTube)
- An MBD approach to PPAP*
- ZEISS and MBD: Reducing measurement planning time by 75%*
*A free OSCAR subscription is needed to watch these videos. If you don’t have an account, sign up today and start your OSCAR journey.
QIF is a core technical competency at Action Engineering. Jennifer has been on the DMSC Board of Directors for quite some, the ANSI accredited standard which governs QIF. QIF is an ANSI and ISO approved standard for digital metrology. We can support QIF development, optimization, piloting, and training. Contact us for details.