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Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »
Re-Use Your CAD: The ModelCHECK Handbook
December 8th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe
I read a lot of books, mostly non-fiction and technical in both hardcopy and digital formats. Although I get through most of them, there are some I don’t even try to finish, and a few become favorites that I keep for future reading and reference. I recently read a book entitled Re-Use Your CAD: The ModelCHECK Handbook by Rosemary Astheimer. When I saw Handbook in the title, I thought it would be another dry reference book, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was much more than that — it’s a good learning and reference resource.
The book’s author, Rosemary L. Astheimer, is an application engineer for Action Engineering, as well as a Continuing Lecturer for the Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and her Masters of Software Engineering from Brandeis University. Before joining the faculty in 2014, Ms. Astheimer spent over 15 years working in the CAD software industry. She began her career in software support, transitioned into a pre-sales application engineer focusing on business development of new products and was most recently a product manager.
I first met and interviewed Ms. Astheimer at PTC’s LiveWorx 2016 in Boston. She knows her stuff.
What Is ModelCHECK?
ModelCHECK evaluates Creo (formerly Pro/ENGINEER) parts, assemblies, and drawings to ensure that they adhere to a company’s modeling standards and best practices. If an exception to conventions is detected, users are notified of the inconsistency, given tools to identify the problem within the solid model, and can often make a correction automatically from ModelCHECK. It assists design team engineers by letting them create models that can be reused in downstream applications. The key thought here being reuse.
As companies continue to implement Creo into their design processes, reusing models becomes increasingly important. To facilitate reuse, models have to be created in accordance with standard practices and must contain all necessary information. However, users too often are unaware of the design standards, or the company has difficulty enforcing them. ModelCHECK helps designers use correct modeling practices by letting them constantly monitor Creo models as design features are added, much as they would use a spell checker for a word processing application. Using ModelCHECK, variations from accepted practices can be detected and corrected early in the design process, before they affect downstream users of the model and incur additional costs.
The ModelCHECK Handbook
Ms. Astheimer says she wrote this book to help unravel the mystery of the many files (and there are a bunch) involved with a ModelCHECK implementation. I have to say she does a good job doing just that.
The intent of the book is to de-mystify ModelCHECK for improving 3D CAD model quality in PTC Creo. ModelCHECK supports Model-Based Definition (MBD) with implementation steps and checklists for organizations to develop 3D CAD models with geometric and parametric stability, accurate metadata, and re-usable Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI).
The book provides step-by-step instructions for automating checks using modeling rules and best practices from relevant MBD standards, model parameters required for Technical Data Package (TDP) submissions, PMI, and standard features such as datum planes, axes, and coordinate systems. It takes users “under the hood” to understand and configure ModelCHECK files and interpret ModelCHECK reports.
This Handbook is relevant not because the PTC-provided ModelCHECK Help content is lacking in technical detail on the various configuration files and their functions. That information is adequately covered in the software documentation. The successful implementation of any software tool, however, requires more than just a description of its functionality. The technology being implemented needs to fit within a business process and it needs to provide value in support of a business objective, and that’s exactly what The ModelCHECK Handbook does — it provides content and context.
Ms. Astheimer does an excellent job in setting the context for not just how, but as importantly, why your company would want to implement ModelCHECK, how it can support your model-based initiatives, as well as providing recommendations on what configuration settings should be used for optimizing Creo/ModelCHECK workflows. She does this concisely and comprehensively.
The Handbook follows a logical structure that walks you through everything you need to do step-by-step. There is enough technical detail provided to minimize your need to refer to the official PTC documentation, but it is presented in readable (and understandable) manner, with supplemental illustrations and diagrams that reinforce the concepts.
At the back of the book are a couple useful checklists for preparing for and implementing CAD reuse and ModelCHECK, as well as answers to some commonly asked ModelCHECK questions.
This Handbook, the second in the Re-Use Your CAD series, could be useful for CAD designers and engineers, QA/QC and product inspection, database administrators, IT, and their managers. A couple of years ago I reviewed the first book in the series entitled Re-Use Your CAD: The Model-Based CAD Handbook by Jennifer Herron. The second book in the series is a good complement to the first, especially if you use Creo and ModelCHECK.
If you work with Creo’s ModelCHECK, whether as a new or more experienced user, and want to learn more about CAD reuse to improve your products and processes, Re-Use Your CAD: The ModelCHECK Handbook is one I would recommend as a valuable resource for streamlining deployment and making CAD reuse happen.