Paperless is a buzz word in Model-Based Definition (MBD) discussions. However, is MBD “Paperless”? Or is “Paperless” MBD? Let’s clarify these several concepts first here.
- MBD is drawingless, which focuses on the presentation style: PMI is integrated directly into 3D models, rather than in 2D drawings. Figure 1 above shows a drawingless communication, but obviously it’s not paperless.
- Paperless specifies the communication media. It’s digital, not paper-based. But digital devices can present many things, including 2D drawings, such as Figure 2 below, which is not drawingless for sure.
More details can be found in a previous blog post: Drawingless or Paperless. In short, these two are related, but different concepts. The above clarification is not philosophical, but to serve a practical purpose: MBD implementations shouldn’t exclude paper printouts, especially in the early phases. In other words, don’t let the paperless vision hamper your MBD projects. Actually, often times, we have to use paper documents instead of digital devices, for example, in a greasy metal working environment on a dirty shop floor, in a narrow gas turbine chamber, or at an extremely cold field installation site with hands in thick gloves. Paper comes really handy in these scenarios, at least compared to today’s digital equipment.
By the way, this reminded me of a story in The Martian. One day, Mark, the stranded astronaut on Mars, brought a laptop from his base camp habitat out to the Mars surface at night to follow some work instructions (I forgot what work he was carrying out), but the minute the laptop left the habitat, its display died. Then Mark realized LCD on a laptop is short for Liquid Crystal Display. The liquid was frozen at no time at minus 100 degree temperature on Mars.
Ok, I digressed. Let’s come back to MBD. The point is paper documents are still needed in many cases. In fact, in the A-10 Wing Replacement Program performance statement, U.S. Hill Air force Base clearly required: “The contractor shall configure the part reports to be printable. All information that is visually encompassed within the electronic PDF shall be viewable when printed using standard print capabilities without user manipulation to capture data viewable within the file” (Source: Draft Performance Work Statement (PWS) For Automatic 3D Part Report Generation and Associated Engineering Services (A3DPRG), Hill Air Force Base, 2014).
Now the question is how to make sure MBD deliverables such as 3D PDF are print-friendly? Table 1 below collected several ideas.
That’s it for this long post. Any comments and thoughts are welcome in the comment area below. We are coming to the end of this MBD Implementation 10 DOs and 10 DON’Ts series. The remaining two topics are “Verify and Validate” and “Don’t be limited by rudimentary 3D PDF.” Please stay tuned. By the way, I like the Martian novel and audiobook much better than the movie.