The goal of this work is to practically determine the role of product architecture models to support communication for improving development practices of complex mechatronic products. This paper contains descriptions, observations, and lessons learned from case studies in which the authors tested a language to represent product architectures during product development in a company, as well as the reasons leading to the use of the specific language/model. The tests include construction of architecture models, direct use of the architecture information, model generation from the architecture model, reuse of architecture model information, clarification of existing documentation, and transition towards model-based product development. The work points out desired characteristics of product architecture models as well as characteristics of the necessary implementation tools and framework.

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