10 Replies Latest reply on Mar 19, 2014 1:10 PM by Roberto Guanom

    Bringing in a newly rev'ed prt from pcb layout software?

    Sid Humphreys

      Hello all,

       

      I am not too sure if this is where I should post this question so please forgive if this is not the place.  I am working with our electrical engineer as he modifys his pcb to my mechanical package/assembly.  As my assembly sits right now before bringing in his new pcb, which by the way, has all his components on it as well, my assembly has no red and all mates are secure and correct.  The asm model is as good as it gets and all prts are mated good.  He modifies a component position on his pcb and then saves the new pcb asm as a prt and makes sure the name he saves it as is the same as what is already in my assembly.  When I go to open my assembly from start up hoping to bring his newly updated assembly in I get the attached error message.  I have no idea what it is telling me.  I am assuming SW knows there is a different rev of the same prt I am trying to bring in.  When I choose "use the prt anyway" Alot of my mates then become red and qare lost.  I get the corect updated pcb assembly but now I have alot of work to do to reestablish all the broken mates.  What can I do differently to make this work.  Should he just name the pcb differently and I just do a replace?  I do not understand why all of the mates are being lost since all of the prts' mates that are being affected are in no way related to the component that moved.  These guys are new to SW as I am, but I know this should not be happening.  We are either doing something wrong on the SW side or he is doing something wrong on his PCB layout software side.  I want and need to get this process of file manipulation and transfer between the electrical guys and us mechanical types straight before we get any further into this upcoming year.  We are all green on SW and them more so on file transfer between different platforms.

       

      In need of some help guys.  AGAIN.

       

      Sid

        • Re: Bringing in a newly rev'ed prt from pcb layout software?
          Jerry Steiger

          Sid,

           

          The "attached error message" doesn't seem to be attached. I assume it is the one that tells you that the new PCA is not the same assembly as the old PCA. SolidWorks has a secret ID number that lives inside each part, assembly and drawing, so it knows when you change something. Not usually a big problem.

           

          The mate errors could very well have to do with faces on the PCB that are mated to your other parts. SolidWorks is not real good at keeping track of the face ID numbers. If the PCB that came out of the EE software has any differences from the one that you sent to the EEs, it is quite likely going to have the wrong face ID numbers and the mates are going to get confused. It is often not too hard to reattach the mates. Edit one of the broken mates. One of the faces will show up as in error. Click on the correct face and it is (usually) repaired.

           

          SolidWorks also often has trouble with flipping mate directions. Sometimes this has a fairly straight-forward cause, such as the direction of draft on a conical hole changing. Other times it seems to be completely random.

           

          Jerry S.

            • Re: Bringing in a newly rev'ed prt from pcb layout software?
              Sid Humphreys

              My apologies Jerry.  I attached the message for you.  Is it best to just do a replace with a different named file you think?  Nothing has changed in this pcb assembly other than the location of a pushbutton switch by .015.  All the parts that are failing mates have nothing to do with the pushbutton switch at all.

                • Re: Bringing in a newly rev'ed prt from pcb layout software?
                  Jerry Steiger

                  Sid,

                   

                  That is the error that I was talking about.

                   

                  I don't know that replacing the part with a differently named file will help with your mating issues. You might want to try it out and see, but if the differently named file has the same faces as the one that is causing problems, it is most likely to cause the same problems.

                   

                  I assume that the failing mates are all mating to the PCB. If that is not the case, then something very strange is happening and I would send the files to your VAR to see if they or SolidWorks can figure out what is happening.

                   

                  Moving the pushbutton switch by .015" may have caused two faces to merge on the PCB, or one face to split into two faces. That could be enough to cause the face ID numbers to change. Or perhaps the EEs added a few more through holes or pads or traces or who knows what that changed the face ID numbers.

                   

                  One way to work around problems like this is to mate parts to planes, not faces. It means you probably have to add a plane on one side of the board and it also means that you need to move that plane if your PCB thickness changes.

                   

                  Jerry S.

              • Re: Bringing in a newly rev'ed prt from pcb layout software?
                Anna Wood

                Everytime your PCB guy saves out a file it has different internal id's for the file and all the contents in it.  SolidWorks considers it a new file.  You will have to re-attached broken mates each time.  It is not an error or problem with either software.  It is just the nature of working in two distinct software packages and saving out  translated, non-native file types, from what the PCB software works with.

                 

                FWIW,

                 

                Anna

                • Re: Bringing in a newly rev'ed prt from pcb layout software?
                  Chris Beckett

                  Hi Sid.  What PCB layout software are they using?

                   

                  I have a similar problem transferring between Altium and SolidWorks.

                   

                  I've heard of 3rd party software that is meant to help this process (to maintain associativity between pcb layouts and mechanical enclosures design) but have no experience yet with it so can't comment.

                    • Re: Bringing in a newly rev'ed prt from pcb layout software?
                      Sid Humphreys

                      Thank you all for your help guys.  BINGO Chris.  That is the exact software our EE is using.  I have worked with Mentor type EE's and do not remember having this problem in Pro/E.  Never used Altium with SW though.  Like I said earlier, I am new with SW and more so interfacing with Altium.  The EE is new with both packages as well.  He is telling me to maintain associativity between packages we have to ".step" files back and forth, which to me is insane.  Why can't I just bring in the new PCB asm via a "replace" and all mates or constraints remain as long as none of the mates have changed.  It is very common to have the PCB asm change numerous times during a desin phase while going back and forth between ME's and EE's.  To have to rebuild my whole darn assembly everytime is ridiculus.

                       

                      If anyone has any hints, tips, or clues on how to limit this, it would be greatly appreciated.  Anna, I find it hard to believe I am the first one to have come acrss this and this is just "business as usual" or "the nature of".  I really hate to say this, but it was NOT this way with Pro/E.  I replaced with a new pcb asm and away I went.

                       

                      Thank you all for your input.

                       

                      Sid

                    • Re: Bringing in a newly rev'ed prt from pcb layout software?
                      Jerry Steiger

                      Chris,

                       

                      We use the "SolidWorks Modeler for Altium" because that was what was available back when we started using Protel and SolidWorks. I know nothing about the advantages or disadvantages of using the IDF Modeler.

                       

                      Unfortunately, I spend most of my time working with ODM firms in Taiwan now, rather than designing myself, so it's been at least a couple of years since I went through a board turnaround with Altium, so this is all from rapidly fading memory.

                       

                      I would usually send a board design to the EEs as a solid or a 2D .dxf file. Either I or the EE would import or build any new models of components that were needed. The EE would then use the Altium add-in to build a solid model, which he would send to me. I would mate that up in the assembly. At some point we would have to redesign for ME or EE reasons. If I was pushing changes, I would send him a new model. If he was pushing changes, or when he got a new design done based on my inputs, he would send me a new model. I would replace the old PCA with the new one. Quite often there would be problems with the mates. Holes had moved, or faces that we used for coincident mates had changed or gone missing. It was usually rather straight-forward to fix the broken mates, selecting the correct face to replace the one that had gone missing or moved. Sometimes the new PCA would drop in without any problems at all.

                       

                      The main issues we would run into that caused pain were mismatches between the component models. At one point, Altium changed from the Top face being the one you placed the first side components on to the Front face. (Or maybe the other way around.) That meant we had to reorient all of our component models. Fortunately, one of the EEs decided to write a macro to take care of doing that automatically. At other times, the EE might change the origin of a component and forget to pass the new and improved model back to the ME. This would cause much excitement when the ME thought that the part was now interfering with the case.

                       

                      Jerry S.

                      • Re: Bringing in a newly rev'ed prt from pcb layout software?
                        Roberto Guanom

                        @ Sid Humphreys, I think Jerry Steiger has summed it all up pretty nicely. Although I’ve been working with most of the modern tools like Advanced Design Suit, DesignSpark, OrCAD, I’ve found Solid Works provides the best PCB CAM/CAD and Altium has a SolidWorks Modeller which makes it all very simple. You can go into the design files and despite much effort, we sometimes get errors while ports or adding something to design that were made in a previous version of CAD, this is probably the easiest way that I’ve come across so far as well.

                         

                        pcb assembly