2 Replies Latest reply on Sep 13, 2018 3:15 AM by Peter Pankras

    inspection add-in Using characters in balloons in stead of numbers

    Peter Pankras

      I have a problem, or more of a dilemma


      We are working on automating the ballooning proces and the inspection plan proces.

      We manufacture 1000's of parts a day..


      Years ago when the company started they choose to use characters in their inspection balloons. (A B C - etc)


      Why? you might ask.. the reason was that whatever is in the balloon, for us never exeeds 2 characters.

      The number of dimensions we check per part vary based on the difficulty of the part and some parts have more then 100 dimensions to check. Using the character method always leaves us with only 2 characters in the balloon, where if you would have used numbers it would be.


      The way they do the balloons is with A B C etc..   when you get to Z you start again with AA AB AC etc

      This way we have enough options.


      We started using inspection pro..  although some important things don't work the way we want..  we hope to get it to work the way we want.


      We discussed internally if it;s possible to switch to numbers..  and the reason why it difficult for us is that they started with a character system in the past.

      We produce over 5000 different parts, so we have over 5000 different drawings.

      The inspection lettering is used to document changes with clients, with error handling, with our NC programmers etc etc.

      Simply changing to a number system will make it a hasttle to look up previous information.


      So our wish is to continue using characters, but automate it with something like inspection.


      Is there a way, easy or hard..  I don't care..   to add character balloons in stead of numbers?


      If it does not exist YET, how about a possiblility to do the numbering with inspection automaticly and create a macro or something that changes the number to a letter the way we want.


      I cannot seam to acces the number in the balloon.


      Any ideas or help more then appreciated.

        • Re: inspection add-in Using characters in balloons in stead of numbers
          Matthieu Fourcade

          Hi Peter,


          SOLIDWORKS Inspection does not currently support A-Z numbering.

          However, I believe you might be able to "convert" balloons from 1-100 to A-ZZ using macros. It might be easy but technically all the info is on the sheet.

          One thing I would be careful however is to ensure you have a flat numbering to start with 1,2,3...99 and not 1.1,1.2,2,3,4.1,4.2,...

          Also, you will need a second macro for the Excel template.



            • Re: inspection add-in Using characters in balloons in stead of numbers
              Peter Pankras

              Hi Matthieu


              Thank you for your reply.

              I think that is the way we plan on doing it.

              I figured that it should be possible to step through a drawing finding all the balloons en then changing them to a letter.


              We've discussed a couple of times internally if we can change our inspection path to number balloons, but our problem is that the entire manufacturing and programming history of the company have been using letters in all the documentation and CAM programs for years now. And switching to numbers makes it really hard to check what changed in the past...  So we need to hold on the the Letters.


              If anyone has a simple example script that steps throught all the balloons on the drawing and changes the number to a letter (or ask for user input on what you want to put in the balloon) , that would be really helpfull.

              My knowledge of macro's is almost Zero.