Model-Based Definition (MBD) is an emerging methodology that plays a central role in transforming traditional manual industry practices to automation through machine-to-machine communication. MBD captures and re-uses the data used by these new practices in a digital format that seamlessly transfers information to enterprise stakeholders involved in all stages of the product lifecycle. Practice-based learning with the tools and processes that manage this data gives graduates the skills to have a competitive advantage for the new jobs resulting from these technological changes.

Students gain experiential learning by going through the steps of a product throughout its life, from conception through in-use, as explained in the following sections of this document. Students use Industrial Design software that brings aesthetics, user function, and design together. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is used to refine product requirements at the engineering design level, including authoring annotations, referred to as Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI), to capture and convey tolerances required for the product to perform its function. Analyses optimize the geometric design for weight reduction. Manufacturing simulations write programs to drive Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines to automate manufacturing devices such as milling machines. Annotations are re-used to produce inspection plans, verifying as-manufactured products match their digital twin. The final product design is used to generate work instructions for the assembly of parts. Students submit assignments through a Product Data Management (PDM) software that mimics an industry installation driving relationships between data and stakeholders, allowing students to receive feedback and revise designs to rectify discrepancies.