Have you ever wondered how much time you waste every day waiting for things to happen? Waiting for another designer to finish his work and check in an assembly, so you can get started on your section? Or waiting for an overgrown assembly file to load? Or waiting for your design team to join an ad hoc virtual conference?
These are frequent scenarios in many businesses – small and mid-size as well as large – where designers are working on assemblies, or working in design teams. If you’re a Pro/ENGINEER user, though, you shouldn’t have to contend with these hassles. Here are three ways to speed up your work, and remove tedium from your workday.
External simplified reps.
The problem: You’re working with Bob and Heather on components in a 100-part assembly. But when Heather checked out her components from the product data management system this morning, she also had to check out the top-level assembly – something that’s true with every PDM system.
Now you’re waiting for her to finish her design and check in the top-level assembly, so you can get started. And if Bob is next in line, then he has to wait another few hours for you to finish before he can get to his section.
The solution: Use the Pro/ENGINEER external simplified rep function. This creates a placeholder top-level assembly -- actually a copy of the original -- that each user can check out with their design components. Then, as you, Heather, and Bob complete your work, you check your modified components back into the PDM system, and the real top-level assembly is updated automatically.
As a result, you finish your work faster, so you can move on to something else. And your design manager doesn’t have to deal with any nasty workarounds, such as reconfiguring the assembly BOM into a “working” structure that will accommodate all three of you, but will have to be restructured once you’ve finished your designs.
Mechanism snapshots. Think of all the moving parts – the mechanisms – that you must include in your drawings. You’ve got an assembly with an oscillating fan, for instance, or an on-off switch, or a heavy-equipment motor.
The problem: You want to be able to show how the mechanism will move, and what impact it will have on the assembly. But to depict movement in several different states in the drawing means that you may have to build several assemblies, with each showing a different state of movement. And this means you’ll be doing more waiting than you should while your multiple drawing models regenerate.
The solution: Capture a snapshot in the assembly for each mechanism state you want to portray in your drawing. To do this, you should open your Drawing View dialog box, select View States, specify an exploded view, and then select the mechanism snapshot you want from the model. From there, you can continue to create more drawing views with a different snapshot of the mechanism in each important state. Then, when you generate the drawing, you can decide which snapshots you want to see – and you don’t have to wait for an oversized assembly model to regenerate.
On-the-fly conferencing. You’ve just discovered that the oscillating fan mentioned earlier is not clearing the fan housing. You’ve got to pull together a quick conference of the design team to look at alternative solutions.
The problem: It’s five p.m., your deadline is tonight, you’re in a hurry to get this conference going, and you realize you’ve got to pull in some additional people – the project manager, the marketing manager, two manufacturing engineers, and several others. You send out correspondences to those individuals asking for a conference ‘V-Card’, to invite them to a conference.
And then you have to sit and wait while these new members fill out the conference “V-cards” and return them to you via e-mail – a task that’s necessary for qualifying each new conference member. Things are tense enough– you don’t need any extra impediments to getting this meeting underway.
The solution: You’ll use Pro/ENGINEER Peer-to-Peer Design Conferencing. Now you don’t have to worry about the additional V-card step. You can invite new people into the conference simply by sending them invitations directly from the conference center. They receive the e-mails, double-click the invitation attachment, accept the invitation, and they’re in the conference. You’ve saved time for yourself and the others, and you’ve done your best to keep everyone calm and on track.
The need for speed. As you can see, while Pro/ENGINEER may be best known for being flexible and robust, it’s also mighty fast. Netesh Gohil, Director of Pro/ENGINEER Product Management at PTC confirms, “Pro/ENGINEER is fast at performing basic processing – regenerating models, running tests and simulations, and so on. But it’s also got a wealth of functions that speed up users, from behavioral modeling to its highly intuitive user interface.
“But there are other ways to speed up a user’s interaction, and some may not be so well known. The three covered here are good examples. They do things that make a designer’s workday better because they cut down on wasted time, so the user can put his efforts where the rewards are greater.”
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