Pro/Engineer provides many tools that support sharing of data between individuals or design teams. This tip illustrates a method of sharing a model while protecting certain design that may be too critical to share and maintaining associativity back to the original design model.
Let’s say you have a model that you need to share with someone — like a customer or supplier — but you want to turn off a few features to protect the design content. You could save a copy of the model and delete the sensitive features and then send that model to the person. You could also simply suppress all the sensitive features and then create a STEP or IGES file and send that. These are all valid techniques, but they all lack the ability to maintain associativity to the original model. (Figure 1)
Associativity is important, as a design often changes frequently early in the design process. With the above techniques, a new model would have to be created and sent to different people on your team every time the design changes using the export techniques, or a new duplicated model would need to be created for each change. While this may seem like a fairly minor nuisance on the front end, it can wreak havoc on the receiving end if that person has already used the original model in a design and a new model is presented each time a change is made.
A better process — one which maintains associativity — is to use a combination of inheritance features and family tables to accomplish the task.
An inheritance feature allows one-way associative propagation of geometry and feature data from a reference part to a target part. The created target part is fully functional even when the reference part is not in session. Use inheritance features to create variations of existing models. An inheritance feature begins with all of its geometry and data identical to the reference part from which it is derived.
Inheritance features alone are not enough to get the task done. Passing a new model (the inherited one) off to the intended party would accomplish only half of our goal. This would provide the needed one way associativity, but since inheritance features by definition propagates “all” feature information, the recipient would have the ability to simply resume the sensitive information. This is where family tables come into play. (Figure 2)
We are going to use a family table instance as a filter to remove the features from the design model completely:
In the design model, create a family table instance of the design and give it whatever name you’d like.
Add to the instance all of the features you would like to prevent from being shared.
Toggle the features to “NO” in the table editor.
Now when the instance is opened, it is as though the features never existed. (Figure 3)
Now we can create our inheritance feature of the family table instance and the sensitive design features will not be accessible. This technique also preserves the desired one way associativity such that any design changes made to the original model will automatically show up in the instance. The instance automatically maintains its associativity to the newly created shared model by the nature of the inheritance feature. (Figure 4)
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