Nathan W. Hartman, Ed.D.

Nathan W. Hartman, Ed.D.

Head of Computer Graphics Technology, Purdue University


3D Model-Based Enterprise (MBE) is an approach to product design, production, and support where a digital, three-dimensional representation of the product serves as the ubiquitous source for information communicated throughout the product’s lifecycle. In MBE, the “model” serves as a container not only of shape definition (i.e., geometry, PMI, annotations, etc.), but also of behavior (i.e., materials, functional logic, genealogy, etc.) and context (i.e., supply chain, in-use, assembly, etc.) – a model-based definition (MBD). While products with relatively short lifecycles may not have a need for maintaining data for extended periods of time, the aerospace and defense sectors have vehicle and weapons programs that have lifecycles measured in decades. Understanding the characteristics of the data needed during these lifecycles is important to both adequate compliance and to minimizing costs. As the digital backbone that supports the modern product data enterprise has been propagated throughout the extended product lifecycle, an obvious medium of communication has evolved – the 3D model and its various derivative forms – to support their products in lieu of 2D drawings. This presentation will discuss the transformation of the medium for communicating product information and qualifying the information items needed in a model to successfully communicate needed information.


Nathan Hartman is the Dauch Family Professor of Advanced Manufacturing and Associate Department Head in the Department of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University, and Director of the Purdue University PLM Center. Dr. Hartman is also Co-Executive Director of the Indiana Next-generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center. In 2011, Professor Hartman was designated a University Faculty Scholar, and in early 2013, he was on the team providing content for the research and technology framework of what eventually became the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute.

Professor Hartman’s research areas focus on the process and methodology for creating model-based definitions; examining the use of the model-based definition in the product lifecycle; developing the model-based enterprise; geometry automation; and data interoperability and re-use. He has been awarded over $9,000,000 in research funding to support his work, primarily from industrial and manufacturing corporations. Professor Hartman’s industry research partners include Rolls Royce, Cummins, Boeing, GM, Rockwell Collins, Textron, Gulfstream, Procter & Gamble, GM, Honda, and others. He has also done funded research work through NSF, DMDII, and NIST programs.

Professor Hartman currently teaches courses in 3D modeling, virtual collaboration, 3D data interoperability, and graphics standards and data exchange. Professor Hartman also leads a team in the development and delivery of online PLM and MBD professional education certificate programs for Purdue’s various industry partners. He also works closely with the Ivy Tech Community College system around design technologies and digital manufacturing curricula to support Indiana’s education and workforce development needs. Professor Hartman holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Purdue University and a Doctorate from North Carolina State University. Dr. Hartman spent over eight years working in industry for Fairfield Manufacturing Company, Caterpillar, and Rand Worldwide.

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