Solid Edge Makes Short Work of Parts Standardization15 Jul, 2004 By: Adrian Scholes
Simplify design work by creating a database of common components
Solid Edge includes a parts management system that allows you to quickly and efficiently define, store, select, and position commonly used components -- or standard parts -- such as fasteners, bearings, structural steel members, and pipe fittings. Establishing company standards and using them in designs companywide offers many advantages: You can reduce the complexity of new product designs, optimize your parts inventory, improve your overall manufacturing workflow, and maximize the overall benefits of 3D virtual prototyping.
Establishing Your Standards
The Standard Parts application comes with every copy of Solid Edge and is an option during installation. To begin, choose the Configuration wizard from the Solid Edge startup menu (Programs / Solid Edge). This displays the Standard Parts Setup dialog box, where you configure options such as the location of the Standard Parts folder and the location and name of the standard parts database. Note that Solid Edge includes a baseline complement of components you can add to the database, as well as optional libraries.
You can choose how to populate the library with components that meet your approved company standards. You can either use the Add Parts command in the Database Administrator (on the Solid Edge startup menu) to populate the database with the required components or use the Standard Parts wizard to create parts as required. The Database Administrator also helps manage the parts in the standard parts database. For example, you can specify which database will hold the parts you add, as well as add and delete standard parts categories, manage how to display parts properties and previews, and manage the priorities of standard parts.
The database groups standard parts in categories. You can edit the default categories or create your own. You may decide to classify components by their type and standard, for example, using one category for all ANSI metric washers and another for DIN bolts. You can also set as many as 10 priority levels, with each level having a specific meaning. For example, priority 1 parts may be those you must use when a design calls for that particular component type, while lower priorities identify preferred or alternative parts. You can even define bookmarks to group commonly used parts, making them easier to locate when placing them in an assembly.
Placing Parts from the Library
Once you define all components, you can quickly locate and place them using the Standard Parts command, located on the Parts Library tab in EdgeBar. The Standard Parts dialog box presents all available parts using the classification system you have set up and includes both a 3D preview and 2D graphic for each part (figure 1). Section views clearly show you which parameters - such as bolt length and nominal diameter - are available for each part category.
Figure 1. The Standard Parts dialog box clearly presents the parameters for available parts and includes 2D and 3D previews where relevant.
The database also uses an intelligent filtering system to show only relevant size combinations (figure 2). For example, when you need a fitting to mate with a specific pipe diameter, the system displays only those that are the proper size.
Figure 2. Intelligent filtering speeds up placement and ensures accuracy of components such as pipe fittings.
To place a part into an assembly, you simply select the part and click the Place button. Solid Edge's capture-fit technology is built into each standard part, which means the part contains enough intelligence to understand how it should fit into an assembly. You just need to choose a corresponding mate part for the component.
You can also use the same dialog box to replace parts previously placed in an assembly. To do this, select the new part, click the Replace button, and choose the parts you wish to replace. As with the Solid Edge Replace command, you can replace all similar parts or just the ones you have selected.
The Standard Parts application wizard is integrated with other Solid Edge capabilities for creating 3D digital mockups. You can use structural steel profiles in conjunction with Solid Edge's new V16 functionality for automated frame design, and you can use Solid Edge XpresRoute to create predefined paths that, once established, the system will populate using the proper pipes and fittings from the library.
Adding Custom Parts
You can add your own custom parts to the database so they'll be available to anyone using your Solid Edge system. Begin by creating the parts you wish to include in the library in Solid Edge, making sure to add all relevant file properties you will use for classification and for generating accurate bills of materials. From the Database Administrator dialog box, choose the DB Manager button and select the option to create a new database. Select or key in a new database name and click Open.
Now you can use the Add Part command to add your first part to the database and set up a new category. When prompted to run the part editor, choose Yes and select the Category tab from the dialog box. You can then define a top-level category and subcategories for the custom components you add. Click the Category Info tab and fill in each relevant field. The Solid Edge property information will populate the fields shown under the Standard Properties tab. Then select the Add Parts button to add the remainder of your custom parts, simply selecting the appropriate category for each new part. The same options found in the delivered components, such as priorities, will be available for your custom parts.
Solid Edge Machinery and Piping Libraries
In addition to the components delivered with Solid Edge, additional libraries are available as optional add-on packages. The Solid Edge Machinery Library contains thousands of components that support a growing range of international standards such as ANSI, DIN, ISO, AFBMA, AISC, UNI, JIS, and GB. The Solid Edge Piping Library, available with V16, contains an extensive selection of standard fittings, including elbows, bends, returns, Ys, tees, and reducers, as well as a large collection of essential components such as flanges, unions, and seals. Fittings are available with a variety of relevant end treatments, such as threaded, welded, flanged, and slip-on.
Each of these libraries helps ensure that all purchased and standard components conform to engineering and purchasing requirements. The libraries are continually growing. Be sure to check http://www.solidedge.com/overview/standard.parts.htm for the latest updates.
Simplifying Parts Standardization
Common components are part of almost every new assembly design. Standardizing these parts, therefore, can directly affect a project's time to market and cost, as well as your organization's quality objectives. Solid Edge Standard Parts makes component libraries easily accessible, so users can quickly find the right parts and effortlessly place them in Solid Edge assemblies. Creating and adhering to company standards leads to lower costs and optimized inventory and ultimately helps you battle the ever-growing complexity of your product designs.
See you On the Edge next month.
About the Author: Adrian Scholes
In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor and Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD video tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!