This paper analyzes the impact of 3D model annotations on CAD user productivity in the context of the New Product Development Process. These annotations can provide valuable information to support an improved design intent communication. Comparably, they can play the same role as source code comments to support code maintainability in software engineering. A 3D CAD model is a geometry representation and it also stores the modeling strategy used to build it. Alteration of a complex CAD model usually represents a time consuming task due to the lack of an explicit explanation of the design rationale followed to build that 3D model. An experimental study conducted with Spanish and Mexican CAD students indicates that it is possible to reduce the time needed to perform engineering changes in existing models by between 13–26% by using annotations. Also some factors that affect the impact of annotations on the engineering change process such as part and alteration complexity were identified.

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