Product Manufacturing Information (PMI)


Support for Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) in PDF is a large focus of Acrobat 3D Version 8. So what is it and why is so important? First we should start with yet another acronym, 3DMBD…

What is 3D Model Based Definition, or 3DMBD?
3DMBD refers to "3D-Model Based Definition" the goal of which is to enable a product designer to annotate a 3D part or assembly with all of the information required by a fabricator to build it–basically it is a 3D analog of a 2D blueprint. In fact, one of the main goals of 3DMBD is to shift all process communication away from 2D drawings in favor of fully annotated 3D models. The types of information required by fabricators include geometric dimensions, tolerances, surface roughness, datums, etc. and collectively are commonly referred to as Product Manufacturing Information, or PMI. (Note: Most of the major CAD systems provide tools for annotating parts or assemblies with PMI but often give it a different name. E.g., CATIA V5 uses ‘Functional Tolerance Annotation’ (FTA), CATIA V4 uses “Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerance” (GDT). Siemen’s Unigraphics NX CAD system uses PMI.)

What are the benefits of moving to a 3DMBD process?
By moving away from mailing suppliers 2D paper drawings to electronically transmitting digital files of 3D parts and assemblies annotated with PMI, manufacturers expect to several different benefits, including:

  • Decrease the time required to resolve design issues
  • Reduce design and fabrication errors caused by misinterpreting 2D data
  • Enable increased usage of 3D product information throughout the product lifecycle
  • Save money by eliminating material, printing, and courier costs associated with paper

By supporting the extraction of PMI information from the major CAD formats (CATIA V5, Unigraphics NX, IDEAS NX, ProEngineer Wildfire, and the JTOpen format) and making it available in PDF documents that can be viewed by anyone with the free Adobe Reader, Adobe is providing a robust collaboration platform that enables manufacturing companies to fully embrace 3DMBD and deploy it throughout their entire supply chain in a cost effective, low risk manner.
XDT Software has created a great website with more in depth information on the trend in manufacturing towards 3D Model Based Definition and how Acrobat 3D and PDF help companies evolve their processes in this direction.