First post ever here, so I may not be the best at format, but here we go!
I work for a medium sized sheet metal manufacturer, and we have been using SE for about 13-14 years now. I am new to the company, and part of my mandate is to clean up their CAD data.
All of our CAD files are maintained quite diligently, but none of them are controlled in a managed environment like Insight or TeamCenter. My predecessors have written some fantastic VB scripts to allow some control, but nothing on the scale of the above programs. Our part and assembly files are simply living on a network drive, and they are write protected when copied over there (a problem I am working on, but has to remain a reality for the time being).
Sheet metal parts have been set up to use individual template files for each gauge of steel we use (from 10 to 18 ga.), however many of the files are inconsistent as the material properties can be manipulated on a part by part basis.
I would like to implement the use of a gauge/material table which would be stored on our network, and would lock users into using only the materials and their respective properties which have been defined in said table.
The question is simply this. With all of our files sitting in a windows explorer file system, and not a managed environment, how do I make the change to a material/gauge table for all of my files?
Is there a way to do this other than manually opening every part and linking it to the new table?
Has anyone encountered this problem before? I have done some research, but nothing comes up.
Any help you guys could give me would be fantastic, even if just to point me in the right direction!
I think a start may be to point everyone's machine to common gagetable and material files in the SE options, file locations via an options.xml file.
My condolences. "Clean up CAD data" is a task doomed to fail. Not because of lack of trying or expertise, but because it's always a moving target with changing definiting of "clean." Good luck.
Besides the first recommendation to get things standardized from this point on, there is a less inconvenient way (without coding) to update materials.
Create a new assembly.
Insert all the sheet metal parts into the assembly (browse to the folder with the parts and group select and drag them into the graphics area).
From the assembly, go to the Property Manager (upper left gem icon -> Properties -> Property manager)
Right click on the headings and add the Material and Sheet Metal Gage columns...
All of the sheet metal parts have to have an "available" status as well as be in a directory with write access.
Thanks for the suggestion Scott!
While I do agree with you that the cleanup is a pain, my predecessors have actually done a fantastic job of maintaining the CAD files we do have. Now it’s just a matter of updating parts to use them to their fullest potential, and making it easier to create special orders from stock product models.
This idea of creating an assembly with all the components is great; I will try it on a small group of files and see what I come up with.
Still, it surprises me that SE doesn’t have some sort of functionality to facilitate a large scale change like this. Being able to use excel to control properties like this is a relatively new thing (my boss tells me that when they first started to use SE it wasn’t even an option) so I imagine there are many companies who have to do the same operation to update their models.
Many companies have a change control policy that would inhibit this bulk update of critical part attributes. Changing a parts material changes your raw material inventory, tooling used to fabricate the material, manufacturing process, supply chain, etc. etc. etc.
Typically changes like this have to have a change order for each item and therefore are handled one-at-a-time.
Yes, and while we do have this policy, our CAD data and Bill of Material system are separate, which in this case is a blessing. We will eventually move to drive our BOMs with the properties I am establishing now, but as you can imagine, taking this step is necessary to meet that goal.
I don't see how you could do this in bulk. Each designer may have made a different assumption on the bend radius and K factor. Every time you adjust a file to whatever standard you pick for R and K, judgement calls will need to be made for each piece of sheet metal. Those calls will be relative to design intent and part to part fit up. In the end, you will effectively be revising every piece of sheet metal to meet the new "standard".
As eluded too above, the first step will be created a bending standard based on your tooling. Don't make any changes until the target is established. Don't allow the target to move or you will never arrive at the target.