A question for all the table experts out there and for SolidWorks employees. I will try not to rant but it is frustrating.
We are creating some reference drawings for a customer for a simple product made up of between 5 and 15 components per configuration. We have a master assembly that we can configure and it all works well. The particular product is sold in 4 lengths, and can be configured with several options. We have identified 80+ core options, so we have created 80 configurations of 1 length. If we created configurations of all other lengths this would amount to around 7000 different configurations.
What we are doing is creating a drawing showing the configuration assembly, with a table that lists the parts in the format:
|Item||Length 1||Length 2||Length 3|
|Part 1||Code 1/1||Code 1/2||Code1/3|
|Part 2||Code 2/1|
|Part 3||Code 3/1||Code 3/2|
And so on...we have configurations for length 1, but not set up for the other lengths. We do have Excel tables listing all the codes in this format.
All we want to do is create a master table in this format and save this as a reference file, then in each drawing sheet (different files or multi sheet - it varies) we want to be able to reference that master table, and turn off/hide different rows to reflect the configuration shown on that sheet.
We have tried doing this via Excel, but SolidWorks 2018 SP2 seems to have issues reference excel worksheets and maintaining formatting. We have tried creating table templates but these do not maintain a link/reference to the template file once they are inserted.
So far the only solutions I can see would be to create a table template, manually insert into each sheet, then delete rows on each sheet - but this is a one way process and if the customer comes back and says "can we change the order code for such and such", we need to repeat the entire process or copy and paste data.
The only other option would be to create a BOM for each configuration and place that on the sheet - but that would require that we create all 7000+ configurations when all we want to do is create a simple code list that references a master table!
In short, we are frustrated. This is basic stuff in the SME sector. It is probably the 3rd or 4th time in the last 6 months we have been asked to do something like this. SolidWorks needs to realise that for many tasks companies do not want to have to create actual 3D model configurations - all we need is one, then we create codes to reflect the remaining options (like changing lengths).
Am I missing something obvious here?
As far as I can see the table functionality in SolidWorks needs to be boosted to make some basic tasks a 2 second job and not a 2 day frustration. such as:
1. Copy and pasting tables between sheets in the same file - this is an every day issue - why do we have to copy the whole sheet, then have to rework the contents when all we want is the table? So we create a table template for that table then use that? Come on - this is surely a simple thing to sort out?
2. Allow general tables to reference other SolidWorks table cells - as above - and maintain the link, so if the source table is updated, all the tables referencing it update as well.
If I am missing the obvious here please tell me