Isogeometric analysis and Model-Based Enterprise

Published: 1 December 2017

Have you ever heard of the Model-Based Enterprise? It's the idea of using a 3D CAD model to fully describe all the design requirements for a product. It might seem like an obvious idea – the 3D CAD model was painstakingly and accurately built, so why wouldn't it be used as the artifact of record for manufacturing a part?

In actuality, for historical reasons many industries are still relying on 2D drawings as the "source of truth" for what should be manufactured. It seems strange to make 2D drawings from a 3D CAD model – wouldn't it make sense to just enhance and annotate the CAD model to provide the greatest insights for manufacturing?

In fact, for well over a decade there has been a push for Model-Based Enterprise (MBE), which prescribes exactly that – using the 3D CAD model as the description of record for a part. There have been inertial challenges to overcome, but now a number of large organizations across industries are embracing and maturing their utilization of Model-Based Enterprise.


The Department of Energy is one of the large institutions leading the way with MBE, and on October 17, 2017 they held their annual Model-Based Business Workshop, at the Department of Energy's Kansas City National Security Campus, managed by Honeywell. The purpose of the workshop was to bring subject matter experts and end-users together from across industry so they can network with key technology contacts, learn about new and existing capabilities, generate ideas, and appreciate both the benefits and issues associated with becoming a Model-Based Enterprise . A critical requirement of a trusted and reusable Model-Based Definition is the precise and unambiguous definition of a part�s geometry.

Coreform was invited to present at this workshop to provide its perspective on what the future potential of MBE might be. Coreform introduced its patent-pending U-splines technology which, 40 years after the invention of NURBS technology, finally enables the precise and unambiguous definition of B-Spline-based CAD models. In addition, Coreform introduced the idea of isogeometric analysis (IGA). IGA is an idea of similar obviousness to MBE. Today's practice of running simulation not on a fully defined CAD model, but on a simplified, approximated mesh of that model, doesn�t make much sense if you take a step back. Why not run a simulation on the exact CAD geometry that will be manufactured? That is the idea of IGA, and this is what U-splines will enable, as a geometry that is suitable for the requirement of both simulation and CAD.

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