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Is there a better way to make a standard part usable by multiple people over a network than by using the configuration publisher/design table?

Question asked by Justin Campbell on Feb 26, 2015
Latest reply on Sep 15, 2015 by Ed Cyganik

     Background: I work for a company that uses steel wire and other materials to manufacture retail checkout/display fixtures that hold product such as magazines and candy at the checkouts of retail and grocery stores. Our engineering dept. consists of approx. 5 people, each with a seat of SolidWorks 2014.


Here's our current situation:

    The goal was to create a part that can be shared across our company's network by our engineers that consists of a straight length of 4 gauge wire. This part could be used by multiple engineers at the same time and needs to be able to range anywhere from 1/2" to upwards of 70" or more in increments of 1/16". This one part would need to be able to represent any of these lengths and even multiple different lengths within the same assembly and represent accurately visually as well as in a bill of material. The part name also has to show up in bill of materials in a standard way such that the length and diameter are included. For example, our current solution uses the format "WR-4-XX" for the part name with the designated length replacing the "XX" in decimal format.

     I've attached what we are currently using as a solution to this need. By using the configuration publisher along with the design table I was able to reduce its file size compared to simply
creating all the possible configurations we would need. Whenever one of us needs to use it in an assembly we insert it, type in the length we need, and the corresponding configuration matching that length is selected and the part is inserted into the assembly. If a configuration doesn't exist that matches the typed in length it's created in the design table and then the part is inserted. The only downside of this is when multiple engineers are working on assemblies that include the wire and someone needs to close and save the assembly their working on we must stop and trade “write access” to whoever needs to save the wire with any additional length configurations they have added.

            The reason for my question is that we've started having problems with the part’s design table getting corrupt at seemingly random times and even the part itself becoming corrupt so that we can't even open it. Does anyone know of a better way of doing this or even what could be causing our problems with this type of file? Any and all thoughts, opinions, and ideas will be much appreciated.