27 Replies Latest reply on Oct 4, 2012 12:58 PM by Brian Dalton

    Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.

    Brian Dalton

      Since our rollout on Monday, we've issued 75 part number (through Serial Number generation) but 26 of them do not have any files in the vault associated with them.  For some reason we are burning 35% of our part nubmers without making files.

       

      Can anyone suggest what user actions may be causing this?  I can't watch them all and see exactly what they are doing, but I know that when I follow the procedures I outlined to them, this never happens to me.

       

      There's a hole in my system somewhere that I need to plug.  Can anyone point to a possible cause of this hole.?

        • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
          Brian Dalton

          Another question:  Is there a way to see what user issues a part number?  That would help me a lot...

            • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
              Steve Ostrovsky

              I'm assuming that you are using a Template to create parts? If so, you can always capture the logged in user in the Input Data Card and write that to the part data card. That will give you a method to see who's creating what.

               

              As to the why you have empty part numbers, I can't see how anyone can really answer that without knowing how you setup the creation of said parts. Again, if you're using templates, that would ensure that a part is generated everytime. If not, how are users creating parts? File > New in SolidWorks and then a Save. The newly created Data Card would have a serial number field and grab a number. Then the user could go in and delete the part file (if you allow them to delete which I really don't like to see in PDM systems).

               

              There's lots of questions to answer here. Provide a little detail on your process.

                • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                  Brian Dalton

                  I am not using Templates to create CAD parts because Templates are not active when a user creates a new part from within SW using File/New.  This would mean that I would have to forbid them from creating files directly (and force them to go the the Explorer and use the Template menu item) which would not only be too restrictive it would cause much anger directed at me by the user base.

                   

                  Instead the data card issues the part number when a part is created within SW and then saved.  This also allows users to create a new part based on an existing part (very commonly done around here) by opening the original part, then performing a Save As into the vault, which generates a new part number for the copy.

                   

                  I suspect that there may be some side-effects to the Save As method, but I need to do more research to find out what actions (or misactions) can cause a part number to be burned without a part being made.

              • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                Joy Garon

                Brian -

                 

                Are you using templates to create new SW files? That would give you some control.

                Without seeing your system I can only guess. Is the data card setup to pull a serial number? Does the variable that pulls the serial number pull it for each configuration or one number for all configurations?

                 

                Give your reseller a call and see if they can have a look at your setup and rule out any 'leaks'.

                 

                Regards,

                Joy

                • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                  Brian Dalton

                  Here's a detailed explanation of how I have set this sytem up.

                   

                  First, as I mentioned, I'm not using 'Templates' to create CAD files for the reasons stated above.

                   

                  We want each new part or assembly to have its filename set to the issued part number, and for a custom property in the model file to also be populated with that number.  That property is mapped to a variable which is displayed in the file data card.

                   

                  Inside SW, the EPDM Options are set up thus:

                   

                  SW_EPDM_Options.jpg

                  The circled part shows that this causes a save (or save as) operation to pull a serial number and use it as the file name.

                   

                  In the Part Data card, I have the default set to place a serial number value into the field which is linked to the variable, which is mapped to the custom property of the part.:

                   

                  Part Card PN Default.jpg

                  Without this step, the file gets the part number for a name, but the property does not get populated with that part number, so it leaves the data card field and variable empty.

                   

                  These steps seem to work well, but I have discovered certain actions that can cause P/Ns to be burned.  I will post more about my findings on that in a few minutes.

                    • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                      Joy Garon

                      Brian,

                       

                      Are you are aware that you can select an EPDM template when you create a new SW part?

                       

                      serialnum2.jpg

                      Joy

                        • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                          Brian Dalton

                          No, I was not aware of that.  How does one create the path for that to appear in the templates dialog?

                            • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                              Joy Garon

                              Just make sure that you have paths for default templates. Then once you create an EPDM template (use an sldprt source file for an sldprt, slddrw for slddrw) you should see them.

                              systemoptions.jpg

                               

                              Okay - I'm logging off now ....good night all

                                • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                                  Brian Dalton

                                  OK, Goodnight, Joy.  I'll leave you the following follow-ups for the morning.

                                   

                                  When I create a path to my SW templates, I'm pointing to template files, ie *DOT files.   An EPDM 'Template' uses actual SW files, such as .SLDPRT files.  To run the EPDM 'Template' I normally use the Explorer menu item for that purpose, and the 'Template' knows which SW file to use as a prototype.

                                   

                                  Now, as I understand, the EPDM 'Template' doesn't actually exist as a file so how would I create a path to it?  If I point SW to the .SLDPRT file used by the 'Template' as a prototype, does SW somehow magically know that I actually want to run the EPDM 'Template' routine the uses that file?

                                   

                                  SO, if I have a folder in the vault called Vault Templates, which contains SLDPRT and SLDASM files, and I create 'Template' routines with their associated 'Template Cards', do I just set a path to the Vault Templates folder?

                                   

                                  I hope that confuses you less than it confuses me! 

                                    • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                                      Joy Garon

                                      Hi Brian -

                                       

                                      Templates in SW (*DOT) are different than templates in EPDM

                                      However, in order for you to see the EPDM tab of templates when creating a New file, you need to make sure the System, Options default template paths point to your normal SW default templates. (It's noted in the CAD Editor training manual).

                                       

                                      Clear as mud?

                                       

                                      Joy

                                        • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                                          Brian Dalton

                                          Still fairly mud-like.  I'll have to experiment a bit to understand what I'm supposed to put in the File Locations/Document Templates path and what I'm supposed to put in the Default Templates path in order to get it to 'see' the EPDM template routines.

                                           

                                          Is there a detailed explanation of this method in the docs or online somewhere that I have missed?

                                           

                                          EPDM Templates may not help me, though, because they're only useful (AFAIK) for creating new, blank files, whereas we often need to create new files based on existing files (which is why we're currently using  Save As).  I don't know how to tell the EPDM Template routine to use an existing file instead of the blank file...

                                           

                                          For now, I've got to go down to IT and work on getting the messaging system working.  They have an opening available so I've got to jump in while I have the chance.  I'll come back and address this issue later.

                                           

                                          Thanks again for all your help!

                                • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                                  Brian Dalton

                                  Here's what I've discovered:

                                   

                                  The behavior depends very much on what folder the system is 'looking at' at the moment the user executes the Save or Save As command.  The system is 'looking at' the folder it last saved a file in.

                                   

                                  If I create a new part and Save it, and the system is looking inside the vault, it will offer me the next serial number as a file name.  If I then save into the vault, the file card pops up and shows that the correct part number is in the property/variable.

                                   

                                  If, however, I choose to navigate to a location outside the vault, since I started inside the vault (the system was 'looking in' the vault when I executed the Save command) it will still save the file with the part number as the name, and it will burn the part number from the Serial number.

                                   

                                  If I create a new part and choose save, and the system is looking in the vault, the next part number is offered, but if I change the file name and nagivate outside the vault to save, the file is not named for the part number, but the part number is burned anyway.

                                   

                                  Same behavior happens if I save when the system is 'looking' outside the vault, but then I navigate into the vault: as soon as i navigate into the vault the system grabs the next serial number and offers it as a file name.  Whether I accept that file name or not, and whether I save within the vault or outside, the part number is burned.

                                   

                                  I next tried to cancel the save operation to see if the Serial Number would be reclaimed by the system.  If I attempt to save and am offered the next number in line, but I cancel the save operation, the Serial Number has been incremented, but if I then try to save again I get the same serial number I was offered before.  In other words, cancelling the save does not roll back the serial number counter, but the local system seems to remember that I was issued a number but haven't yet used it, so it gives me another chance at it.  If, after I cancel, I simply close the file without saving, the number is truly burned and cannot be reclaimed (unless I reset the counter in the admin tool).

                                   

                                  I am very surprised to see that Serial numbers are not handled more intelligently - it seems that burning them up under any and all circumstances may be the norm.  Does that seem right by you guys' understandings?

                                    • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                                      Brian Dalton

                                      OK, to bring this old thread back to life...

                                       

                                      It seems that my main trouble is caused by the Save As command.  My users often want to create a new part model with a new part number based on an existing part.  To do that, my solution was to have them open the original part then Save As and the new part file (an exact copy of the original part) would be saved and given the next part number in the sequence (Serial Number).  The setting for having this functionality is in the SW EPDM Add-in, under Enterprise PDM/Options.

                                       

                                      The problem is that with Save As set to generate new part numbers, users burn up part numbers every time they save as .jpg, save as .dxf, save as any kind of file at all, regardless of whether they save them into the vault or not.  This will not do.

                                       

                                      I will need to disable the 'Automatically name files on save as with serial number.' feature and have the users manually issue part numbers to their new, derived parts the way that Wayne describes above - by right-clicking on the field in the data card and selecting to pull the next serial number.  Then they'll have to manually re-name the file to match the new part number they've been given.  A bit more complex, but better than burning up part numbers left and right.

                                       

                                      Also, I've set 'Updates all configurations' in the data cards so that newly added configs will not receive additional part numbers (who would ever want that to happen, anyway?)

                                       

                                      Finally, Joy's suggestion of using Templates would help to control the part number creation more tightly, but I can't use them because they don't allow you to specify on the fly which file to use as the basis for the newly created part, so they won't work for our need to create new parts derived from existing ones.  That would require Save As anyway, so I'm back to making that work.

                                       

                                      I'm close... very close.

                                        • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                                          Wayne Matus

                                          Brian,

                                           

                                          Check out kb for solution S-024501. It has a dispatch script for renaming files from serial number.

                                           

                                          Basically the file data card generates the serial number and the script reads the value of the variable that holds the serial number and renames the file. So you might have to modify the dispatch script for your "Part Number" variable name.

                                           

                                          Also the reason for configuration specifric serial numbers if for cases where each configuration is a specifric part, ie. like a toolbox bolt where each configuration is a different size.

                                    • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                                      Brian Dalton

                                      I have finally got this under control, and here's what I've done.

                                       

                                      In the SolidWorks EPDM Addin, I've disabled all mechanisms for generating serial numbers.

                                       

                                      I have abandoned using EPDM templates to create CAD files (they're great for generating non-CAD files, though)

                                       

                                      I have implemented the dispatch script that Ace-EPDM-Customizer Wayne Matus mentioned:

                                      -------------------------------------------------------------

                                      Brian,

                                       

                                      Check out kb for solution S-024501. It has a dispatch script for renaming files from serial number.

                                       

                                      Basically the file data card generates the serial number and the script reads the value of the variable that holds the serial number and renames the file. So you might have to modify the dispatch script for your "Part Number" variable name.

                                      -------------------------------------------------------------

                                       

                                      And I have forbidden the creation of new configurations for models that are in the vault (this invariably causes wasted part numbers no matter how the configs are created or the settings of the datacard)  We now copy the model out of the vault, add the configs and then save as back to the vault in the original location.

                                       

                                      These steps have allowed us to prevent serial numbers from being tossed out into the ether by EPDM at its curious, random discretion.  We only generate new part numbers when we generate new parts.  Cool, huh?

                                       

                                      Thanks to all who contributed to this thread and my eventual solution.

                                        • Re: Burning Part Numbers at an alarming rate.
                                          Brian Dalton

                                          One last update on these issues:

                                           

                                          1. The script I was using to rename files turned out to be rather spotty in its performance - sometimes working, sometimes not working, sometimes saying it worked when it didn't, sometimes giving error messages and saying it didn't work, but actually working, etc.  I did modify it slightly from Wayne's original so I may have screwed it up, but I never found a way to get it to work consistently, so I bailed on it.
                                          2. Templates (meaning the built-in EPDM routines for creating new files using Template Cards) were typically problematic in our operation so I gave up on using them for SW files as well.  I still use them exclusively for generating new non-SW files, such as Excel and Word files.
                                          3. I've gone back to using the mechanism of assigning serial numbers to new SW parts and assemblies that is built into the SW add-in.
                                          4. When users need to create a new SW model file based on an existing file, I have asked them to open the source file in SW and then use Save As Copy to create the new one.  To be clear, when SW saves a new file, it assigns a serial number by showing the data card, which is set up to populate the field from the serial number generator, and when SW performs a Save As, it assigns a serial number through the SW add-in, and does not show the data card when saving.
                                          5. The problem of new configurations drawing new part numbers could never be solved in EPDM 2010 because the known bug had not been fixed.  We have recently upgraded to EPDM 2012 and now the issue appears to be resolved.
                                          6. I discovered that Virtual Parts cause the same problem: when an assembly using virtual parts is reproduced via Save As, EPDM assigns a new part number for each virtual part in the assembly.  This appears to be a known issue that has not yet been resolved as of EPDM 2012, so I have banned the use of virtual parts altogether.

                                           

                                          We still have issues with burning part numbers, but they are much reduced, so I'm not going to spend more time trying to solve the issue.