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Is there a way to replace unrelated parts in an assembly configuration?

Question asked by Wendy Mark on Jan 30, 2014
Latest reply on Feb 21, 2014 by Wendy Mark

Hi all,


At my company, we make heavy use of configured assemblies, which use different configurations of several different parts.  We have several assembly families, however, which have one or two configurations which need to replace one of the parts with a totally separate part file, instead of just a configuration of that part.  When we do this, it's because while the envelope is the same, the interiors are totally different, making them impractical/impossible to combine into one part.  In some instances, we are even replacing a part with a sub-assembly.


I don't want to simply assembly both items in the same place and turn them on or off as required for 2 reasons.  1st and most important, is that the component mates don't work, and items which were mated to the now suppressed component don't move to their proper position on the new component.  2nd, is that we use tabulated chart drawings for our assemblies.  We show the basic BOM on the lower right corner above the title block, and then insert the design table in the upper left.  It is very confusing to have 2 columns in the design table referring to the same item number in the BOM table.


We are transistioning to SolidWorks from Pro/Engineer, where we had the ability to create what they called an "interchange assembly".  This allowed us to specify what the mates were for the 2 dissimilar parts, which allowed them to properly switch out in the parent assembly, and also allowed the "family table" we inserted in the drawing to have only one column.


I haven't been able to find if SolidWorks has something that will allow me to do this.  Does anybody have any ideas?