19 Replies Latest reply on Jun 29, 2017 11:41 AM by Tom Gagnon

    Design Library Organization

    David Hales

      We have been on SolidWorks for over a decade, and have a fairly extensive home grown design library (800 folders, 3500 parts).  When a user needed a part that we didn't have, they would make it and put it where they wanted.  As a result, trying to find parts in the library can be a nightmare sometimes.  I am going to take on the task of reorganizing this library.  I can probably handle the fasteners and miscellaneous parts, however we probably have a thousand hydraulic parts.  (barbs, adapters, connectors, bulkheads, JIC, SAE, ORFS, NPT..etc...  all sizes and angles going from one standard to another)   Not being a hydraulic guy, it is daunting to think about how to best create a directory structure for all of these parts so that my users can find what they need.  Does anyone have any folder structures documented (spreadsheets or links)  that might give me a clear direction on how to get things organized?

        • Re: Design Library Organization
          Chad Huleatt

          I have all standard parts saved in the same folder, with part number = file name.

           

          I use our part number database to find the part I want (I can use multiple filters, wildcards, etc. so I can usually find the one I want with very little effort)

           

          Once I know the part number, I just go to the big fat folder with all the parts in it, find the part by number, and insert it.

           

          This isn't as slick as it would be if we had PDM. However I'm happy with it, because I know all the parts/assemblies/drawings are in one place. We use Dynamics CRM for our part number database - it works well. I'm sure there are many other programs that would work just as well for a part number database.

           

          I think this is a lot easier than navigating a complex directory. Even if the directory is very well built, it might be difficult to maintain, as it would be easy for users who did not really understand the directory to save parts in the wrong folder....

          • Re: Design Library Organization
            Tom Gagnon

            I have several, contextually dependent and refined over time.

             

            (1) Un-categorized:

            Part Type (i.e. Pumps or Enclosures)

                > Brand/MFR (i.e. Milton Roy or Stahlin)

             

            (2) Categorized:

            Major category (i.e. Instrumentation)

                > Part Type (i.e. Pressure Indicator)

                     > Brand/MFR (i.e. Wika)

             

            (3) Deep (3 ways):

            Fittings

                 > Common Types

                      > Brand if applicable

                           > Components configured by size, sub-configured by material

                 > Major Brand (i.e. Swagelok)

                      > Common Types (i.e., Adapter, Tee, Plug, Street Elbow)

                           > Tube Size

                                > Components with single default config only. 1-to-1 in model part vs purchased part, all downloaded from MFR.

                 > Material Specific

                      > Material + Spec

                           > Common Types

                                > Brand if applicable

                                     > Single-material components configured by size & rating only

             

            I began uncategorized and moved towards categorized, including a MISC category. I began Deep in the first subconfigured way, and am moving toward material specific but mostly still configured by size. If you're using Routing, I recommend the material specific pattern for simpler spec distinctions.

             

            Overall, I'd assess whether you have multi-config components or single-config components. Single-config should have more levels to sort out the differences.

              • Re: Design Library Organization
                David Hales

                Each component only has 2 configs at most.  Default and Simplified.  We don't have a bolt part with a hundred configurations.

                 

                I had never considered categorizing components by brand.  That is an interesting way to look things up. Thanks for the tip.

                 

                The reason that I decided to get organized is that there is a big push to use routings, and if I am looking for a fitting 6 JIC F swivel x 16 SAE MALE ORING it is almost impossible to find.

                  • Re: Design Library Organization
                    Tom Gagnon

                    For me, Brand was an extension of former and current organization, in old Block Library as well as our Vendor Info directory. Vendor Info generally covers both Vendors, the distributor companies we buy from, and Manufacturers, the companies that make and document the item. Associated vendors and manufacturers simply get shortcuts to each others' directories for cross-reference. Manufacturer documentation gets stored there and network address hyperlinked via custom properties Cutsheet, Manual, AltManual1, AltManual2, MSDS, etc. for quick gathering of Installation Operation and Maintenance Manual documentation by a custom BOM exported to excel where the addresses activate as hyperlinks to open the files quickly and save a copy to project folder.

                     

                    I'd say it depends on how much you buy in what and from what variety, if you'll find a Brand distinction useful. There's some potential confusion between Brand, Manufacturer, and even some companies that later get bought up by others, which should be understood well before deciding which tag to call it.

                • Re: Design Library Organization
                  Glenn Schroeder

                  I have mine organized by general type first, then there are one or two more levels for more specialized categories.  Below is a screenshot of the first level of folders.  These are for components that are used on multiple projects.  The main assemblies and project specific parts are saved in the folder for that specific project.

                   

                  And when I set this up I had our IT department restrict write access to just me and one other person (who has since left).  Other users  can use these components, but can't make changes to them, or save new files in the library.  Unless you're incredibly lucky you'll be wasting your time organizing your library if everyone and their brother has write access to it.

                   

                    • Re: Design Library Organization
                      David Hales

                      These days, our design library is fairly mature.  By that I mean that we are not constantly adding new parts to it, because we already have most of what we need.  However, I think you hid the nail on the head.  Restricting access is the best way to go.  We have 47 seats of SolidWorks.  As you can imagine not all users are created equal.  Some people are very well organized, where others are scatterbrained. 

                        • Re: Design Library Organization
                          Jim Steinmeyer

                          David Hales,

                          We have our library similar to what Glenn has his but then with hardware or fittings we then break them down to english and Metric, then by size. That can get confusing with hydraulic fittings as you can have a 3/4" MJIC X 1-1/4" FORC, now which size do you put it in. We prefer to go with sizes though as when looking for a fastener we are looking for a 3/8" bolt not a bolt from fastenal.

                            • Re: Design Library Organization
                              Paul Risley

                              Jim,

                               

                              Why not a bolt from Fastenal?

                                • Re: Design Library Organization
                                  Dan Pihlaja

                                  I think that what he is saying is that he doesn't care WHERE the bolt comes from as long as it meets the criteria that he wants.   So he keeps vendor out of the picture, as:

                                  a bolt from Fastenal = a bolt from McMaster-CARR = a bolt from MSC = etc...

                                   

                                  Then it is up to purchasing to pick the one that is cheapest on that given day.

                                   

                                  Although we order most of our fasteners from MSC.  I am working on a custom configuration library of my own that has all the MSC bolts in it, along with part numbers.  It is a long slow process.   We frequently order both stainless steel fasteners along with black oxide steel fasteners.

                                   

                                  I have a single file with 2000 fasteners referenced by design table.....it is just too massive to do anything with.  So I am toying with single line design tables (which are an awesome idea, but they need write access to the fastener to use and it runs through a slow process of opening the design table, adding the line, then closing the table).  It takes about 10-15 seconds and if the user does almost ANYTHING in that time......corruption happens.

                                   

                                  So trying to figure it out.   We have used the built in toolbox, but it seemed to create more issues than it fixed.

                                  • Re: Design Library Organization
                                    Jim Steinmeyer

                                    Because I don't care where it came from, I just want the one that fits the hole. I can see for some validity in sorting by vendor for some items but most of what we have is more of a Form-Fit-Function kind of thing. If those match the vendor is unimportant.

                                      • Re: Design Library Organization
                                        Paul Risley

                                        I thought it was funny about the not Fastenal part, their corporate headquarters are about 2 miles from our shop.

                                         

                                        We order most of our stuff from McMaster anyways, like you all we care about is fit. Our part numbers have id's for McMaster, MSC, and Fastenal. Our BOM's have line items for each so when they get ordered it does not matter who orders them we get what we need for our projects.

                                        • Re: Design Library Organization
                                          Tom Gagnon

                                          To me, here's the exact distinction of whether it needs Brand attribution or not: Does this need a manual, or have an ANSI/ASME standard for it?

                                          Commodities like fasteners and fittings are brand-independent. It sounds to me that many here have mostly fasteners in their design libraries, not so much of un-standardized components that have Brand relevance. If everything else is custom per project, and commodities are the only common components, then the brand irrelevance should be apparent.

                                      • Re: Design Library Organization
                                        David Hales

                                        In thinking about this, I think organizing by vendor may not be the way to go for us.  Engineering specs a part, but purchasing can order that part from any number of vendors.  What if you have a Fastenal folder organization, and purchasing can get it cheaper somewhere else. 

                                         

                                        Also Jim, I agree with your fittings issue.  Which size would i put in?  When you say you use "sizes through", what exactly do you mean by that.