When industry makes a product, all involved use information which digitally flows across the process to enable fast and accurate production. Information needs vary; for example, designers use geometric data, while manufacturers need tolerance data. Thus, the challenge is to digitally move "product and manufacturing information (PMI)," and enable different production systems to extract and use their requisite data.
To address this issue, the aerospace and automotive industries launched the PMI Project. This initiative updated applicable ISO and American Society of Mechanical Engineers standards, allowing ISO 10303 PMI models, which previously exchanged drawings and their information, to increase the exchange of information across lifecycle functions – design, fabrication, inspection. The PMI Project's development history, process, and data management were recently documented in NIST Advanced Manufacturing Series 100-51 On Migrating ISO 10303 PMI Models to a Common Core.
The NIST publication also provides other areas to be considered in future efforts to broaden the exchange of PMI across the production lifecycle. These include changing standards to address specifications for surface textures, edge conditions, welding, machining feature groups, statistical process controls, new shapes, and how more information related to drawing could be communicated.