On the Edge: Product Manufacturing Information

6 Aug, 2006 By: Russell Brook

Solid Edge 19 contains the ability to create, share and manage design information.

Solid Edge 19 includes capabilities for creating, sharing and managing design information including Motion Simulation, Assembly and Disassembly animations, 3D design annotation (product manufacturing information or PMI) as well as collaboration tools that take advantage of the standard JT format. I will cover the highlights of Version 19 over the next few articles; this month I'll start with PMI.

3D Annotations
With the 3D annotation tools in Solid Edge 19 PMI is easily stored with 3D models and assemblies (figure 1). These models reduce the need for drawings in design reviews, and you can use them for many downstream purposes, including manufacturing.

Figure 1. A model containing PMI in 3D annotations.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers' standard for 3D product definition (ASME Y14.41) legitimizes the use of 3D models for conveying PMI.

The inclusion of 3D product definition in a single digital file -- which documents everything about the product -- improves productivity, ensures the 3D information is accurate and removes the need to update multiple documents.

PMI is also supported in the Solid Edge free viewer, XpresReview and JT files, giving others controlled access to the information included in 3D files.

Creating 3D Annotations
Solid Edge has a full suite of tools for PMI (figure 2). The following exercise guides you through some of the basics of the PMI capabilities.

Figure 2. All of the PMI tools in Solid Edge

Adding PMI to your models is similar to adding standard features. You need to first choose a plane in order to set the orientation for the PMI (figure 3). The plane is known as the DnA (Dimension and Annotation) plane. Next choose the dimension or annotation type that you require and select an end point, midpoint or circle center, or infer any other node and choose where you want to position your annotations. Solid Edge displays a relevant SmartStep ribbon bar to guide you. Placing your dimensions and annotations is just like placing them in 2D. All annotations remain relative to the specified dimension and annotation plane (figure 4).

Figure 3. Use the Select Plane command to set up the PMI orientation.

Figure 4. Dimensions remain relative to DnA plane.

PMI has a separate entry for PMI Dimensions and Annotations found in the Assembly Pathfinder and Part Feature Pathfinder under a top-level PMI node (figure 5).

Figure 5. PMI components have their own branch in PathFinder.

The ability to add dimensions to different DnA planes and to add notes enables the user to create complete details of a 3D model. When you rotate the view, the text stays on the plane. The text rotates automatically so that it is never upside down or displayed backwards (figure 6).

Figure 6. Complete and full PMI on a Solid Edge sheet-metal model.

You can print PMI dimensions and annotations from the 3D view if they are displayed.

You can take selected 2D sketch/profile dimensions and annotation objects and create equivalent PMI objects. All formatting and parameters of the selected dimension and annotation object are copied to the new PMI object (dimension style settings, tolerance, etc.) (figure 7).

Figure 7. Copy dimensions from 2D profiles to create 3D PMI using the Copy to PMI command.

3D Section Views
You have the ability to create a 3D section on your parts or assembly files. You can use these in conjunction with PMI to add information for internal components (figure 8).

Figure 8. 3D sections with PMI of internal components.

Send PMI to View and Markup
This command is located on the Model Views shortcut menu in EdgeBar (figure 9). It provides seamless transfer of PMI to the Solid Edge view and markup application. You can also view the files in Insight Connect, Teamcenter and the Solid Edge free viewer.

Figure 9. The Send PMI to View and Markup command is accessed with a right-click in the Pathfinder.

The command will send all PMI in the document to Solid Edge's view and markup application (figure 10).

Figure 10. PMI transferred to Solid Edge's view and markup application.

As more companies need to collaborate and exchange data, PMI can reduce the amount of 2D drawings required and make them much easier to read. Don't let this powerful new feature slip by you.

See you On the Edge next month.

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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