15 Replies Latest reply on Feb 19, 2015 8:53 AM by Matthew Phaneuf

    Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change

    Mark Coleman

      Morning folks.

      I wonder if I could pick your collective brains please?

       

      I’m looking at ways of improving how we record our change history against SW and AutoCAD drawings.

      I’m considering adding another tab to the data card.

      This extra tab, entitled ‘Change History’ will have 5 or so fields and they will mainly be free text value fields.

      They’ll include ‘change requested by?’, ‘is a design review required?’ ‘changes’ etc etc.

       

      Each field will be a variable within EPDM.

       

      At the point the new revised drawing is approved, I’d like to set an action to export these ‘Change History’ variables

      into a file that will sit alongside the SW or AutoCAD drawing.

      It doesn’t matter what format this file takes, as long as it can be opened by windows or printed as necessary

      so we can send it to a supplier along with the new issue of drawing.

      It could be a Word or Excel document or an html file….

       

      My question is how can I get the variables from the data card pushed into a pre-formatted blank ‘change document’ file?

      Is there an export function that we could trigger to transpose the fields from the data card into

      a pre-formatted change document?

       

      Just to challenge you a little more, I only want this export to be triggered on revisions greater than 01.

      By this, I mean I don't want a blank change history file created on a brand new rev 01 drawing.

       

      Looking forward to some enlightenment

      Thanks in advance!!

      MarkC

        • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
          Mark Coleman

          I'm going to be cheeky and bump this! Any thoughts?

          Does any one use the data card to record a drawing's change history?

          C'mon, I can't be the only one thinking of this approach?!!

            • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
              Matthew Phaneuf

              Hi Mark;

              Welcome to the forum! My questions to you are:

              1. How long have you been using ePDM?

              2. Do you have a VAR, and if so, what is their opinion on creating this?

              3. When you say I'm going to be cheeky and bump this! Any thoughts? What is your idea of "Bump"? How do you think "Bump" should work?

              Thanks

              MattP

               

                • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
                  Mark Coleman

                  Hi Matt.

                  We've been live since September last year. The system is working really well but I'm always on the lookout for ways we could improve and streamline. Currently we use a word document held in a separate folder to record the change history. It works but it's clunky.

                  I want to record change on the data card for that particular drawing, so it's always visible and always a mouse click away. This is the easy bit!

                  What I then want to do is create a file (be it Word, Excel or something) that 'sucks' the change information variables from the card. I can then send this file and the revised drawing to a supplier.

                  I've 'challenged' our VAR to see if this can be done and they are currently looking at it.

                   

                  I thought I'd question the pool of talent on here to see what their approach was. I've seen a post on here by Mr Jeff Sweeney with a screenshot showing his approach, which I liked a lot!

                  https://forum.solidworks.com/thread/79153

                   

                  By 'bump', I just meant push it to the top of the discussion list once more, just in case anyone missed it!! ;-)

                  Best Regards,

                  MarkC

                    • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
                      Matthew Phaneuf

                      Hi Mark;

                      thanks for clarifying, I can see that your approach is more serious than I first suspected, and I say that because with ePDM, there are a number of excellent ways to essentially do the exact same thing. It all comes down to what works best for you and your process, hence why ePDM is configurable.

                      So with that, I have created an ECN workflow, starting with a RMB click option to create a "New ECx", the small "x" represents an undecided letter, we're still in Development; it could be just EC, it could be ECN, we will decide later on. Here is a screenshot of the early days of development of that RMB

                      ECx001.JPG

                      The real gem of the workflow is that the ECForm.xlsx is populated when the originator fills out the ECN data card at initial creation through completing the ECN Template card and choosing "Create File". BTW, with the Sales & Marketing check box checked, the ECN will follow an alternate ECx process, than if it were a Engineering or Mfg Floor generated ECx.

                      ECx002.JPG ECx003.JPG

                      That info is sent to the ECN File card, which follows the ECN through it's process and what we Paste as Reference all documents to...notice the Approvals. Those aren't read/write, they will capture the Approvals as it moves through the ECx workflow. They are only pull-downs here, my advanced workflow has simple text boxes; this isn't a choice, this is a result of an action.

                      ECx004.JPG

                       

                      We have a lot more development to do. I think the important thing to point out is based on what you said: The system is working really well but I'm always on the lookout for ways we could improve and streamline. I couldn't agree more. There have been some really awesome discussions here as of late, and the people you refer to and mention are usually a part of them. I many times try out their examples and suggestions, and find some of the things apply to our group here, but not all. I am not so sure I'm going to embrace (right away anyway) the alternatives to Paste As Reference, I happen to have created an ECx process where it works extremely well, but remember, we're in Development, so those random files under "Contains" isn't an issue yest ..... yet.

                      When it came to our VAR, I drive them nuts with ideas, so much so that one AE in particular knows me better than my family members. **Spoiler alert - I will have most, if not all our vendors, getting what they want from our website, where they can log into the Vault via web and print whatever .pdf they want, as long as it's in a "Released" State. For Pre-Production files, we will have a more internal system running that.

                      I asked about the "Bump" only to make sure you weren't asking about the variable Rev versus "internal" (Stamped) Rev , which I've also solved, but a very sensitive subject for many.

                      Lastly, I am quite proud to say that I've written no code or programming for this. This was all done with OOB ePDM tools. Yes, another touchy subject, and again, I'm not a programmer, but when my AE gave thought to something (like your VA is doing right now) and mentioned "custom"_________, it meant $$$. After dropping the money my company did for the Solidworks suite, that well was dry, and I was hired to build digital processes with the tools given. Personally, I strive to create what guys like @JeffSweeny, @Brian McEwen, or @TimWebb are doing. It will take a ton of effort. It's a huge goal. Yeah they are way more customized than me, but they're also on a whole other level. I think I'm doing okay with my SW stock tools. I still consider myself a newbie after 6 years of this.

                      MattP

                       

                       

                       

                • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
                  Mike Ramsey

                  We're doing this sort of with an excel document we control with a workflow in EPDM. Our ECN's can contain dozens of parts so just letting it hang out next to the drawing didn't really work. The workflow uses a parallel approval and once all the areas sign off it moves on it's way.

                    • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
                      Mark Coleman

                      Gentlemen,

                      Thanks for taking the time to respond. You're approaches are both very similar to how we currently handle our Eng Change. We have a right click>create new ECN which fires up a Word document. This has its own workflow and approval.

                      As I mentioned, I'm looking at ways to improve and finesse our system, and having the change information sat next to the drawing would work for us. I just need to fine tune my ideas!

                       

                      I'll let you know if our VAR comes back with anything......

                       

                      Regards,

                      MarkC

                        • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
                          Iftach Priel

                          Marc,

                          How about using a dispatch that runs when a drawing file reaches approval state?

                          You can use the option "generate parameter file" with a template containing preset fields that are filled up with any variables you wish from the data card.

                          I use this method to create Excel files with statistics on a project's status. You can use this both for new "changes file" and in order to update an existing file.

                          Iftach

                            • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
                              Mark Coleman

                              Iftach,

                              That sounds just like what I'm after! I wondered if something could be triggered by an action or dispatch. I will pass on your thoughts to my IT guru!

                              A couple more questions if I may:

                              Can the template containing the preset fields hold a small .jpg or .tiff image in a way Word or Excel can?

                              I'd like to include our company logo/contact details so we send the file to a supplier accompanied by the newly revised drawing.

                               

                              Also, can I only run the dispatch for files with revisions greater than 01?

                               

                              Obviously, a new 01 revision won't have any change history so it would be unnecessary.

                               

                              I look forward to hearing from you; your input is really appreciated.

                              Thanks and Regards,

                              MarkC

                                • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
                                  Iftach Priel

                                  Hi Mark,

                                   

                                  Can the template containing the preset fields hold a small .jpg or .tiff image in a way Word or Excel can?

                                  I never tried, but I don't see why not.

                                   

                                  Mine is a little different, and gathers information from a list of files. Let me try to explain how I think your dispatch should be built. Obviously you'll need to try it and see if it works for you.

                                   

                                  before you begin, you'll need to make two templates, and save them in your template folder (or any other folder where cache is automatically cleared).

                                  1. A simple text file called TempChangesTemplate.csv , with your variables mapped into it separated with commas (it should look something like this: %PartNumber%,%ChangeRequestedBy%,%Changes%,%Revision%) You can create it with notepad, and just change the extension to CSV.
                                  2. An Excel "macro enabled template" called ChangesListTemplate.xltm , with your logo and everything, that when opened, reads the data from a file called TempChanges.csv and places it in pre-defined cells. You can find lots of info online explaining how to do this.

                                   

                                  The dispatch itself:

                                   

                                  1. Variables: any variable you'd like to export should be defined as dispatch variables, as "variable from selected file data card". don't forget your revision variable as well.
                                  2. "JUMP" command to send any file with a revision=01 to the end of the script, skipping all actions.
                                  3. "Generate parameter file"  to generate a simple text file called TempChanges.csv .Your template for this file will be TempChangesTemplate.csv
                                  4. "Shell execute" to open Excel with a pre-selected template called ChangesListTemplate.xltm.
                                  5. Set the dispatch to run when a file reaches approve state.

                                   

                                  That's about it. you may need to add a few more commands, to delete old TempChanges.csv files, or to filter out non-slddrw files. but basically this is it. When a file goes through to "approve", the dispatch first checks to see if it's revisioned 01. If not, it generates a text file with the content of your variables separated with commas. It then opens your Excel file, which automatically loads up all the data from the CSV file. the user who initiated the transition can verify / edit the data and save the new spreadsheet to the desired location. This last part can probably be automated as well using Excel macros, but I'm not sure.

                                   

                                  Hope this helps. Let me know if it works or not...

                                   

                                  Iftach

                                  • Re: Using the Data Card to record Engineering Change
                                    Matthew Phaneuf

                                    Hey Mark;

                                     

                                    I'm liking this thread more & more, lots of interesting ways to go about this. I'm going to test that dispatch that Iftach supplied. Re: your image question, yes you can insert images onto your cards.

                                    ECx005.JPG

                                    If you don't have an ePDM Admin training book, Help is just as complete. During the steps, you will build your own cards (File, Folder, Template), but in class they teach you to cheat.........in a good way. Save time by copying existing cards that come built in (File cards).

                                    MattP