Since most companies use 3D models not only in product development, but also in manufacturing and assembly department, one would assume that they already said goodbye to classic 2D drawings.

But what's really state of the art in manufacturing companies?

To find it out, we launched a survey and already had 65 participants (at the time of evaluation) from the following industries:

The survey was divided into the following areas:

  • Design Data
  • Technical Data Package
  • Change and Configuration Management Data
  • External and Internal Manufacturing Data Exchange
  • Quality Requirements, Planning, and Inspection Code Generation
  • Enterprise Collaboration and Data Exchange

Below we will show you the detailed survey results and some possible solution approaches in the field "Design Data".

Simply click on the following tabs:


We will be happy to advise you on your way to a digital company.

Please do not hesitate to contact us: Ms. Jasmin Meier, phone: +49 7852 996-253 or use the following [contact form].

Survey Results in the Field of "Design Data"

Model Based Definition Model Based Definition Model Based Definition

Possible Solution Approaches on the Way to Drawingless "Design Data"


Product and manufacturing information (PMI) is used in 3D CAD and product development systems to convey design information for manufacturing. PMI includes information such as:

  • Dimensional tolerances
  • Form and positional tolerances
  • Texts
  • Surface information
  • Sectional representations

The PMI annotation is created on the 3D CAD model and thus reduces the need for additional 2D drawings.

NX CAD from Siemens PLM, for example, offers PMI-features according to industrial standards.

With PMI-controlled processing, PMI information, that are essential attributes which influence downstream processing operations, can be directly used for automating the programming in NX CAM.

The CAD neutral 3D format "JT" enables the visualization of manufacturing relevant information directly on the model and thus can be used as a drawing replacement when working with customers, suppliers, assembly department or manufacturing department. To view the JT data and PMI, viewer like BCT Inspector, Teamcenter Visualization or JT2GO can be used.

Master Model

The CAD/CAE/CAM system NX from Siemens PLM provides you with a concept called "Master Model". The concept is used to allow all functions, for example CAM and CMM, to connect with the model definition of the part, to allow parallel design work and NC programming. In this way, the NC programmer can start programming a part before the designer has finished his work. The full associativity guarantees that NC-operations, in the event of changes to the design model, will be updated accordingly.

The drawing is controlled by the geometry. In future, the manufacturing information in the drawing can be controlled via the PMI in the model

  • The dimensioning is done directly in the model
  • The dimensioning views from the model will be adopted in the drawing and continuously updated
  • Drawings are still available for subsequent processes, which allows a "smooth" transition from drawing to 3D model
PMI Model
PMI in model
PMI on the drawing
PMI on the drawing

Extracting valuable knowledge

Model and drawing are the sources of important information.
But how can characteristics easily be extracted from the drawing or the model?
The manual transfer of characteristics is time-consuming and error-prone.

BCT Inspector is a tool that facilitates the extraction of this valuable knowledge and provides it throughout the company.

Using the BCT tool, quality-relevant characteristic data automatically can be generated in CAD systems - based on PMI information. The features are clearly numbered throughout the entire life cycle of the part. For this, the characteristics are automatically ballooned directly in the CAD model of Solid Edge or NX (or alternatively in the JT model outside of the CAD system).

The integration of both 2D data and 3D model information allows a smooth migration without data loss from a drawing oriented working to a future completely 3D model oriented data processing for quality management.

  • No transfer errors through automated characteristic identification
  • Automatic generation of the characteristic list (in the background)
  • Characteristic data associated with drawing and 3D model
  • Automatic identification of all design changes
  • Graphical comparison of model and drawing changes and generation of change documentations

In the following playlist you can find interesting videos about BCT Inspector.

BCT Inspector Model Ballooned
Ballooned model
BCT Inspector drawing balloned
Ballooned drawing

Transferring Raster Drawings into the Digital PLM Process

Valuable product knowledge and purchased part data based on raster data, scanned drawings and proprietary legacy CAD data are often managed in a separate process outside the main CAD and PLM environment.

BCT 3D-Raster  integrates 2D paper or electronic data (e.g. TIFF, PDF, HPGL, legacy CAD etc.) into NX and Teamcenter, where the software allows the data to be stored and edited without having to spend any additional effort to migrate it into vector format. 

By doing this, a single standardized process can be established that also includes this raster data. This process provides easy access to this data and makes it possible to edit and add to the drawings without having to recreate them. Having the data in the same tools and processes, means that it will allow the migration of legacy systems and provide a single go forward approach supporting a completely digital workflow. 

Benefits at a glance:

  • Integration of 2D paper data into the PLM process
  • Transfer of 2D paper data to CAD models with manufacturing information (PMI)
  • Consistent company processes also for this legacy data


In our upcoming newsletter issues we will discuss the further areas of the survey.

You have not yet participated in our survey? Then you can still do that even now.
Participate now...

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