Michael Weiland

SolidWorks, PDM, and Surfcam

Discussion created by Michael Weiland on Mar 18, 2009

We purchase made-to-print stampings which we then bring in-house to perform additional machining operations. Both the stamped part and the machined part have unique part numbers and drawings and therefore have separate revisions. We need to maintain a parent/child relationship between the files so modifications to the stamped part will translate to the machined part. We want to manage these parts using PDMWorks.

The way I was doing this was to create a part file which contained all of the geometry for the stamped part (e.g. STAMPED.SLDPRT). Then I would create an assembly containing this part file, and peform several assembly-level cuts without propagating them to the part level. This file (e.g. MACHINED.SLDASM) would be given its own part number. When I vault the drawings for both the assembly and part in PDMWorks (e.g. STAMPED.SLDDRW and MACHINED.SLDDRW), the vault view would show the correct BOM-type of structure:

Thus an accurate parent/child association is maintained while also allowing each file to be uniquely revision managed. (The need for unique revisions is what prevents me from using configurations - PDMWorks can't revision manage configurations separately. - that enhancement request has been submitted.)

I thought I had cheated the system, but there is one catch that we've recently discovered: Surfcam can't read the assembly-level cut features. When the assembly file is loaded in Surfcam, the part file geometry is loaded, but all assembly-level features are not. We've been working with our local Surfcam representative on this, but they do not appear to have a solution to make this work.

The only way I have been able to get Surfcam to read all of the data is to save the assembly as a part file (e.g. MACHINED.SLDPRT). This file has no parent/child associativity with the original files, so when it is vaulted it has no reference to them - they're just dumb solids. Every time a change is made to the original documents, the "dumb" parts will have to be manually recreated since the changes won't automatically propagate. Because they have no parent/child link to the original assembly or part files, managing them in PDM could be a real headache. I fear a significant amount of time will be spent managing this process to ensure mistakes aren't made.

Has anyone had a similar issue? Is there another option that I haven't thought of? I would appreciate any suggestions.

Thank you,
Mike Weiland
Sr. Design Engineer