Solid Edge Design Sensors (On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial)

31 Mar, 2008 By: Russell Brook

By constantly monitoring critical design parameters, you can eradicate costly design errors and keep projects on schedule.

Design Sensors are part of Solid Edge's Systems Design capabilities that also include Variable Limits, Motion, Systems Libraries, Fastener Systems, Adjustable Assemblies, Capture Fit, and more. In this article, I'll discuss how to create and use Design Sensors to ensure critical design dimensions are maintained throughout your design cycle.

As the name implies, Design Sensors constantly monitor critical dimensions. They are dynamic, so if a monitored value is found to be out of range,

A Minimum Distance sensor is one example of how Design Sensors monitor design dimensions.
you are notified instantly. Sensors are easy to create and have almost no impact on system performance.

Design Sensors are available in Part, SheetMetal, and Solid Edge Assembly environments. They are used to monitor many design situations, for example minimum distance -- if a hole gets too near the edge of a component, you are notified.

The Variable sensor monitors variables from your variable table. Sheet Metal sensors offer specifics such as monitoring internal faces that warn bends are too close together to be manufactured. A Surface Area sensor is helpful if you need to know how much surface finish is required or the minimum surface area for heat. If you need something outside the box, you can use a custom sensor to monitor any numeric result that is calculated from a custom program. For example, you could create a custom program that assigns a manufacturing cost to each feature type used for creating sheet metal parts.

When a monitored condition is out of range, sensor alarms and violations are highlighted in the sensors tab in Edgebar and graphically in the upper right corner of the graphic window. Clicking this graphic launches the Sensor Assistant, which provides hyperlinks to all the sensor violations and warnings in the document.

Click the Design Sensor alarm to launch the Sensor Assistant.

How to Set Up and Use Design Sensors
Design Sensors are quick and easy to set up; you should use them in any situation in which critical dimensions must be within range. In this exercise, I'll create a Design Sensor to watch a minimum distance between the edge of a hole and the edge of a plate it is placed through. Other types of sensors work in a similar fashion, so once you know the workflow in this exercise, you will be able apply other types of sensors.

Start by creating a plate 150 mm square, and place a 15 mm hole in the corner that is located 30 mm from each edge.

Create the base geometry.

Select the Sensors tab from Edgebar.


Select the Minimum Distance Sensor.


From the selection options pick Keypoints/Curves/Faces.


Select the front face, and use QuickPick to select the face of the hole. You should see a display showing the vector you are monitoring and the actual sensor parameters. Then select Close from the SmartStep Ribbon Bar.


Give your sensor a name (1) and fill in and choose the values outlined in red from the Sensor Parameters dialog (2-6). Items outlined in green provide live feedback. Select OK


Your sensor will display in Edge bar. You can create as many sensors as you like.


Now edit the hole position by using QuickPick to select the hole.


Now edit the dimension adjacent to the sensor and reduce it from 30 mm to 15 mm. Notice the sensor now has a warning next to it.


Also notice there is an exclamation mark in the upper right corner of graphics window. If you click on this, it will launch the Sensor Assistant. Sensor Alarms indicate when a change to the model exceeds the defined sensor threshold limit.

The Sensor Assistant keeps track of sensor alarms that have been triggered by changes to the model. It quickly accesses the affected sensor definition information so you can review it and fix the alarm or the model as needed.

You can activate or deactivate the Sensor Assistant and alarm notification in the graphic window using the Show Sensor Indicator option on the Helpers tab of the Tools / Options dialog box. This does not affect the operation of the sensors themselves.

For more detailed information on sensors, the Solid Edge Help menu has more advice on how they work, the kinds of sensors available, and even some great examples. If you're not already using sensors, try them out. They will help you reduce costly design errors and costly prototypes.

See you on the Edge next time, when I'll discuss a related topic: Variable Limits and how they can constrain designs to certain design parameters.

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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