Today we’ll continue the previous post on Items and discuss their relation with CAD files
Items are easily created from CAD files (Inventor, AutoCAD Mechanical, Electrical, etc.) by promoting file data into a new Item using the 'Assign Item' feature. Note that these can also be created in a manual manner, similar to creating contacts in an email system. Upon the creation of an Item, a unique identifier is assigned using on of the available standard numbering schemes as defined by the system administrator. These components contain a list of system defined properties, such as Item Number, Item Type, and Item Title and Description. These properties will help users easily decipher a particular component from others. These components will maintain an interactive record of their revision history, including changes made to properties, associated and attached files, along with bill of material changes.
Each Item may contain a list of other items that it depends upon, creating a bill of materials (BOM). Users may build a BOM by simply editing the Item and adding another Item as a child. Further, as items are generated from the design files and listed in the Item master, a complete and accurate bill of materials is automatically created based on the assembly structure of the design found within the vaulted design files. By directly extracting the bill of materials, the chance for errors is virtually removed that are commonly found with manual methods.
Why is this important? Companies that track this data using paper based processes or using tactics such as spreadsheet management may now keep a living electronic record of their products. At any given time and date, users will be able to review a revision based or time based view of a product, including the bill of materials, the usage, as well as all related property information and access all related files. This permits companies to quickly and easily access the data they need to support their customers, as well as obtain a better understanding of how change has impacted or will impact their designs. Lastly, search and reuse of existing data is easier with a vast database full of product property information.