15 Replies Latest reply on Mar 7, 2018 2:47 PM by Edmund Lively

    Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)

    Tyler Nichol

      Hello forum,


      How do people generally handle bulk items like paint or thread sealant in an assembly BOM?

      We would like to have a line-item in the BOM and the quantity to be listed as "A/R" or "As Req'd" or such. We don't need a balloon callout pointing to where in the assembly the sealant is to be applied, as we would make notes pointing to where sealant is applied. I found this article and I was hoping I could adapt it to our purposes. I wanted to make a part with no geometry, create a custom property called "BOM_QUANTITY" with the value "A/R", and set that property as the part BOM quantity as shown below.

      This does not work as the BOM quantity must be a numerical value. Say I give it a value of 0.25, but insert the part in two locations, then the quantity in the assembly BOM will read 0.5. Makes sense, but our shop consumables are tracked separately and we don't want to start ordering based on BOM quantities.

      Does anybody know how we can get a part quantity to be automatically listed as a text string rather than a numerical value?



        • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
          Glenn Schroeder

          The only way I know of is to just override it in the BOM.  When you try to enter text in that cell you'll get the message shown below.  Click "Yes", but I wouldn't advise clicking on "Don't show again".



          Then enter the desired value.


          • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
            Matt Peneguy

            I have a solution for you.  You are half way there. 

            Here's how I did that... Create a custom property called "BOM QTY." in your part (you've already got it.)  Then in the parts you want to be A/R just add a "A/R".  You could use any text here, but it has to be exactly the same for all A/R parts.  Then create a column in your BOM Template next to the real QTY. column.  I called it QTY without the period (remember you can't name columns the same as existing reserved column names).  Now here's the part you were missing, add an equation.

            Then add the following in the text box:

            Where BOM QTY. is your custom property from your part.  The first "A/R" is the text in that property.  The second A/R is what you want to be displayed in the BOM.  Finally, if the value returns false, ie., BOM QTY != "A/R", then the actual QTY. field is displayed in your BOM.  Now hide the QTY. field and save this BOM as a template.

            Files attached.

            Problem solved?

              • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                Tyler Nichol

                This is promising and I'll definitely give it a try. I'm curious how it will handle multiple configurations of an assembly?



                  • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                    Matt Peneguy

                    As long as the parts that you have as A/R don't have config specific BOM QTY. values for different the different assemblies, (I don't see why you'd ever have, say Loctite, as anything other than A/R) I think it should work.

                    One thing worth noting is that if you use Custom Property Tab Builder to push these A/R properties to your parts, it makes it a little less error prone.

                    Also, I quickly looked at the thread Carrie Ives posted and it looks like they are using a numeric value as a check instead of an exact text match.  This may have some advantage over my method.  If you assign a value of say 0.1 for AR items you can make your check as BOM QTY. < 1 set to A/R.  This way as long as you get a decimal value in there it should return AR.  This means if you fat finger it wrong, as long as you get the period in front of the number you'll get the desired result.  My method relies on an exact text string match.  Just think about it and either way, I'm sure you can get it to work.

                • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                  Carrie Ives

                  I've just set the value to something pretty small, like 0.01. I think, I have added notes about the BOM on the drawing is reference and use the one in Agile or other system for the real value.


                  Did you see this? I haven't tried it, but the equations may get you what you want.

                  customizing BOM to show A/R


                  Good luck,


                  • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                    Edmund Lively

                    Throughout our industry it is common to list "AR" as the Quantity for bulk materials such as adhesives (ASME Y14.34M-1996 §5.3.1, FIG 4).



                    Currently we use an empty part file and just override the quantity on the drawing BOM for each of these instances.  It would be great if we could just define that at the part level so that each time one of these parts was used in an assembly it would automatically display this custom quantity value.


                    I submitted an ER back in 2011.  Looks like it was assigned SPR 268061 and I think it is still open.

                      • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                        Matt Peneguy

                        Have you looked into using a Custom Property as Carrie Ives linked to or as I suggested?  We have provided a means to do exactly what you appear to want.

                          • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                            Edmund Lively

                            Matt, I have been down that path before.  It wasn't a universal solution for us, especially when we have multiple quantity columns for configurable assemblies. 


                            Additionally, we are now starting to generate BOMs from PDM, so this really needs to be a built in feature of the SolidWorks model. The use of AR for As Required is formally defined in ASME and SolidWorks is supposed to support the major standards organizations. 

                              • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                                Matt Peneguy

                                I definitely don't disagree with you.  And I don't know what the ultimate solution should be.  The problem is that I'd guess a lot of existing data management systems expect that BOM quantity to be a number.  So, you are asking for a fix for something that may cause other people problems.  I'm not disagreeing, just stating what I see as a potential problem.  I've learned to be careful what I ask for.  Sometimes things aren't quite as simple as I think they are.  I'm not defending the SW team for leaving an SPR open for 7 years.  But, let's see if this has some more background to it before we just proclaim, "Make it so."

                                Maybe someone from SW can weigh in on it.  I know Jim Wilkinson participates in these forums, though I doubt he's the one that'd know about this particular issue.  But, maybe he can forward this thread to someone over at SW that can give you a good explanation.

                                If we get an explanation that won't break a bunch of peoples data management systems, I'll definitely vote for your SPR.

                                  • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                                    Matthew Lorono

                                    Rather than comment on the complexities, let me ask, what are your particularly needs with regard to this functionality?  Within what types of components or assemblies would you like to use this capability?  What initials or other identifiers do you use within your organization?  Does your organization require mapping of values on a Drawings BOM to a PLM, MRP or ERP?  Do those systems support non-numeric values? 

                                      • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                                        Matt Peneguy


                                        It seems people would like the quantity of "AR" to be available in the BOM "QTY." field in accordance with ASME Y14.34M.  But, I don't know how this would work with existing customer data management systems.  We don't have this information tied into a data management system, here.  So, I can't answer your question.  I was hoping others would reply.  But, it has been about a week and still no reply from others. 

                                        We can all see that this would be a desired outcome in the end.  But, I was just trying to point out that if SW commits to this path, it "could" break some data management systems.  So, however you implement this, if you implement this, make sure there is a toggle somewhere to make BOM "QTY." text or number format.

                                        I contributed to requesting a new "feature" that caused some people a headache, Midpoint selection 2016, is there a way to shut this off from automatically coming on?.  So, I understand it may not be as simple as just converting BOM over to a string field. 

                                        • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                                          Edmund Lively

                                          What I think might be a good SolidWorks feature/function.

                                          • Identify a component as a bulk item either by a custom property value (IsBulk, similar to IsFastener), or some other selection in the configuration properties. 
                                          • SolidWorks populates AR for a quantity of any of these components in a BOM. 
                                          • Alternatively a second custom property value is used for the desired bulk quantity text.

                                          And by the way, ASME Y14.38 defines the abbreviation for As Required as AR, not A/R. I've been call a Reg Hound before.


                                          To answer your second question, this would be used with any assemblies using typical bulk materials we represent with an empty part file, including adhesives, sealants, grease, potting compounds, fillers, etc.


                                          It is most important for this to work on our SolidWorks drawings as these become official documentation.  It would be nice if this was carried over into PDM Pro (aka EPDM) as well.


                                          Implemented in the way I suggested shouldn't have any negative impact on anyone electing not to use it.


                                          My two cents.

                                      • Re: Bulk items in BOM, quantity A/R (as required)
                                        Elmar Klammer

                                        Hi Edmund,


                                        Before SW can start using text for quantity count they need to sort out the use of basic numbers first. Things like 0 <> 1 or -1 * X <> -1 are still in existing. The reason why those are import is because they could have been used to work around the current limitations. But SW can't produce reliable counts in those instances. The whole equation subject in Bom's is poorly implemented. Anyone that had the displeasure to work with it can attest to that. So its not only important to understand what you want its also import to understand who you are dealing with. In this case SW. I think SW needs to look objectively at the criticism regarding BOM tables & drawings in general and do something meaningful about it. The "AR" requirement is there and has been for a while. And I am sure they have heard the many messages before. But it seems they need even more constant reminders till they are so sick of it that they eventually do something about it and reward themselves with a big pad of achievement in a "What's new 2030"

                                        And I don't think it needs a whole bunch of more questions since the application is fairly straight forward as outlined in ASME Y14.34M-1996 §5.3.1, FIG 4). But if they absolutely need more question answered than they should start a process that allows the user to understand how close or far SW is in it's attempt to work on this given situation. Cause all too often it seems they ask questions and receive answers only to drop the ball at any time as it suits SW. Then some time later the whole thing might starts up again. And the loop goes around. That is not the proper way to do things. But for now that's what SW has chosen to do. So since your chance for SW to address your concerns are slim you need to find another approach.

                                        I think you can still get your BOM's from PDM but you need to adjust your work flow accordingly. If you can define the AR condition well then you are good to go. It's your responsibility to come up with a logic that describes your AR requirement. The better this logic the better you can implement it. And if you find a good way who knows SW might just copy it and call it a "SW enhancement". Say you use a configuration property that specify the AR condition. Just add another step after the PDM export that searches for AR and replaces the SW quantity. Nothing different to SW Bom equation but simply after the PDM export.

                                        I understand you want a toggle setting or something built in, but you need to ask what you do in the meantime till SW decides to provide results. I am not sure about your impression on this subject but I for myself don't have high hopes for success.

                                        And by the way SW doesn't need to allow for text for quantity items but they can automate the process that so many are doing manually just as well. All that without mixing numbers and text.