Posts Tagged ‘datacard’

Weldments and Bill of Materials

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

There are many different ways to create structural frames.  One method might be creating it as an assembly with many individual parts.  Another method, which is my preferred  way, would be as a single multibody part…as a Weldment.
Weldment Icon
The Weldment way allows for easy design changes, automatic structural member trimming/extensions, and creation of cut lengths.  This however is typically just a portion of the overall design.  There might be many more pieces that go on the frame.  This is when you would add your Weldment design to an assembly.

Now with your Weldment in the assembly and the other components attached, you need a Bill of Materials (BOM).  It’s possibly to show the cut list for all the structural members in an assembly BOM.  You will need to choose a BOM Type of Indented in the PropertyManager.

BOM Property Manager
Once you choose the indented type, the BOM will show as a cut list.  The QTY column shows a total length for the structural member.

BOM Image
If you then choose “Detailed cut list” in the BOM Type, it will break each member out in their own row with a length value.

BOM Image Detailed
Now your assembly BOMs can show all the individual items even in the Weldment.  But what if you are using Enterprise PDM.  Can you see the cut list in EPDM?  Of course you can.  It is under the Bill of Materials tab.  You would need to set-up a Weldment Cut List template in EPDM but that is very simple.

EPDM Cut List
As you can see, the cut list item names can be shown to make finding the correct member easy.  Just like in a drawing, you can choose to see a Weldment BOM.

EPDM Weldment BOM
This will group all the members together giving you a total quantity.  If you select the “Contains” tab, and RMB on a Weldment member, you get some more useful functionality.

EPDM Contains Tab
When you choose “Properties”, you can see the members data card with the length.

EPDM Data Card Weldment
You will need to add the length field to the card and map it to the “BOM Quantity” variable.

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Hiding buttons so PigeonHole runs once per data card

Friday, December 27th, 2013

We have a few customers who are using PigeonHole as middleware. Users click a button on the SolidWorks Enterprise PDM data card, PigeonHole connects to an external database, reads the information, and populates several fields on the data card.

We have a former SyteLine customer who was updating “Description”, “Material”, and  “Treatment” on his  data card from this older system, but wanted his users to only be able to update the data card once. i.e. If later, someone changed the data card, he didn’t want users to accidentally click the button again changing the card values back to the old values.

This problem was solved with the data card’s control logic. The visibility of the macro button is determined by the “material” field on the data card. If there is a value, the button is hidden.


(In this example, the maco button is hidden if “material” field has a value.)

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Update your EPDM Data Cards with ODBC

Friday, September 6th, 2013

New, in in the advanced features section of PigeonHole 1.6, you have the ability to connect your SolidWorks Enterprise PDM data cards to your ODBC compatible databases.


Now you have three choices to connect to databases:

  • Connect to a SQL server given: Server, Database, User name and Password (The user name and password are not required if the user has a trusted connection to the database)
  • Connect to an ODBC database through an ODBC DSN (data source name) With this choice; Database, User name and Password may be optional, depending on how much information is stored within the DSN.
  • Enter the full ODBC connection string

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Add information from external databases to EPDM data cards

Monday, June 24th, 2013

It is always fun to see how people use applications in a different way than originally designed.

PigeonHole was originally written to help people populate complicated data cards with drop lists from a grid type decision tree or from a SQL query.

However, if PigeonHole is populating the drop lists with a SQL query AND there is only one result, PigeonHole doesn’t bother presenting the user with any choices, it simply populates the SolidWorks Enterprise PDM data card with the found value.

A common example is updating your data cards from your purchasing database. This example shows you could add an “Update” button to your data card, this button connects to the data base, searches the purchasing system for the cost of the item, and places the value into the data card.

YouTube Preview Image

Another example I recently came across was populating account names/numbers an Outlook Business Contact Manager database. On their folder cards they sometimes knew the account number, sometimes knew the account name. We created two buttons, one for each field to update, each button would connect to their CRM, find the proper information and update the card.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Smarter EPDM Drop Lists Using SQL

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Out of the box SolidWorks Enterprise PDM gives you the ability to populate your drop lists based on SQL query results. I use this functionality all the time to give my users a list of qualified suppliers from a purchasing database, lists of users in a specified group, choices of product type, etc.

The limitation is that these queries are all based off of constant values. These queries are run by the EPDM server on a predefined interval, and the results are stored in the EPDM database. This method is fast, but it eliminates the ability to populate the lists based on properties of the file itself.

Granted with EPDM’s “Controlled by variable” option,


you can change the query based on one other variable, but if you want to use more than one variable or the file’s physical properties, PigeonHole makes the process very easy.

This video gives a quick demonstration showing how.

YouTube Preview Image

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Smarter Droplists with SolidWorks Enterprise PDM

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Today I was doing some consulting work for a SolidWorks Enterprise PDM customer of another VAR. Look at this screen shot of the number of lists they were using for their data cards. Each of their customers have their own list of cities, countries, contacts…it’s very nice because their data cards are very accurate -great for searching!


Lots of lists!…this is just what I was able to fit on the screen, they have at least twice this many. Takes effort to maintain, and their card logic is rather gruesome.

Rather hard to set up, but this example at least it can be done because EPDM’s droplists can be populated dependent on the value of one other variable. There are some scenarios that cannot solved with EPDM lists on a single card. As an example, imagine you made gates and the width of the gate is dependent on two (or more) variables. [Perhaps your model “GXT” gate comes in two widths in the aluminum version and three widths in the wood version; but the “JSS” model comes in four widths per aluminum and wood, and there is a steel version too!]

I run into these issues often, and the solution is always to find another solution, have weaker data cards, deal with incomplete searches and reports, or I write an add-in to accomplish what they are looking for.

After years of creating a company specific add-ins that I had to write over and over, I decided to create an add-in that could be used by anyone.

The goals:

  • Make the interface flexible enough that it could work for any company
  • Not have to know SQL to build the logic for the lists.

Here is a video of the final product.

YouTube Preview Image

As you can see from this video, it is easy to setup and does quite a bit more than the original goals. (It is hard to stop, once you get going!) I’ll talk about the additional features in future blog entries, or you can go through all the videos tagged: “PigeonHole” in the 3DVision YouTube channel.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Display a graphical history on your data card

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

I thought the idea of putting an image of the workflow on a SolidWorks Enterprise PDM data card was rather clever. Yesterday, I received an email from a customer in Dayton who has taken the concept one step further:


They put data card controls on top of the image. As files go through transitions, the transition puts the values into the controls. Users can now quickly see the history of the file in a nice graphical form.

You don’t have control over the order of objects on a data card, but it appears a bitmap is always on the bottom, -which in this case is exactly what you want.


Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Include the file’s workflow in its data card

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Recently I saw a SolidWorks Enterprise PDM data card similar to this one created by one of our customers in Indiana:


At the bottom of their data cards, they include a [static] picture of the file’s workflow. I thought it was a rather clever idea.


Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Put the version number on your EPDM datacard

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Editor’s Note: Be sure to read all the comments below before deciding if you wish to implement this concept.

Would you like to have the version number of your file on your SolidWorks Enterprise PDM datacard? The Engineering Data Specialist Man is here to show you how to do it!

You can do it very easily with Dispatch. (If you don’t have Dispatch already installed in your EPDM system, follow the Dispatch link.)

After Dispatch is installed, choose to administrate:

At the  “Administrate Actions” window, choose to add a new action. Then set up the action as shown below.

Click on the “Conditions…” button next to the “During check out” and set the dialog this way:

This means that this dispatch action will run any time just before a file is checked in, for all files. (Change the path value if you don’t want it for all files.)

Yup, you can find the “check in” trigger under the “check out” trigger. Logical eh?

As you can see from the Commands list, it takes three commands to make this work.

First click “Add” and choose “For all documents”

Again click “Add”, and choose “Set Card Variables”, set the dialog like this:

Here we are setting the variable “Version” on the file’s card to the current version of the file and bumping the value by one. This adding is done at the bottom with the “add” function.

Now, click “Add” a third time and choose “End for all documents”. This will make Dispatch set the variable for all files.

That is all there is to the Dispatch setup. Now put a control on your datacard connected to the version variable and it will update automatically for you just before the file is checked in.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Group Members for your Datacard

Monday, June 11th, 2012

You’ve designed the perfect folder datacard for your SolidWorks Enterprise PDM setup. It is a great little folder card listing project due date, description and even have a nice little droplist for your users to pick the proper project manager.

But wait! You’ve noticed there is no way to get a list of just your project managers! What’s a girl to do?!

List Properties

The solution is easy with Engineering Data Specialist Man! Create a new list, make it a SQL query and enter in this SQL statement:


SELECT Users.Username
 Groups ON GroupMembers.GroupID = Groups.GroupID INNER JOIN
 Users ON GroupMembers.UserID = Users.UserID
WHERE (Groups.Groupname = 'Engineers') AND (Users.Enabled = 1)

Now, assuming you have assigned your project managers on the root level, you have a list for your card that will update as your project managers come and go.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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