Collaboration between engineering and manufacturing can significantly reduce product costs, and increase product quality. The definition, capture and re-use of standard design features, with their associated proven manufacturing processes in the design stage can significantly reduce manufacturing cost and time to market. Today, 3D models are becoming the central repository for more and more of the critical information which is necessary throughout the Product Development Process. Significant process improvements are possible when organizations embrace the idea of a model-centric design approach, where not only geometry and attributes are captured in the 3D CAD model, but also other data relevant downstream data such as GD&T, 3D annotations, and now even manufacturing process information. The strategies for actually machining and producing designs are important assets for companies. Now, existing manufacturing process knowledge can be capture by the manufacturing engineer using XML based template, and through the use of new CAD technology, this knowledge can be attach to design features. The design feature geometry and attributes (along with the embedded process knowledge) can then be made available to the broader organization, through catalogs of company standard design features such as holes, pocket, step, groove, flange, .. etc. During the engineering activities, as the design model evolves, the design engineer is able to re-use these standard features, creating a 3D model that not only includes the geometric definition of the product, but also the validated, proven process by which that geometry can best be produced. Downstream, once the design is handed off to manufacturing, the manufacturing or process engineer has access to tools that will allow him to extract the process information from the 3D model and define rules to automate the creation of the machining process plan for this model. Specific fixtures required for the different steps of the process can be easily developed using the in-process 3D model, which is generated automatically based on stock removal. Multiple scenarios, based on varying machining resources, production quantity and cycle time, can be analyzed, allowing the process engineer to develop and optimized process plan. This model-centric approach, which leverages product and process data re-use, improves product quality and reduces manufacturing process planning and production time. Typical savings are realized in tool design, increased production throughput and savings due to improved process quality from using validated processes prior to production.

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