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Jennifer Herron
Jennifer Herron
Jennifer Herron is the owner of Action Engineering, a company that specializes in the promotion, process development, and standardization of a 3D CAD Model-Based Environment. Her career has been spent creating and building complex hardware systems for the aerospace and defense industry, her … More »

STOP Re-inventing and Re-modeling Nuts, Bolts, and Washers

April 13th, 2016 by Jennifer Herron

Attempting MBE without Standard Parts in your Tool Box is just STUPID!
In order to turn your Model-Based Enterprise (MBE) or Digital Enterprise dream into reality, you must eventually come to the realization that a robust and best-in-class strategy for catalog parts is imperative. We’re talking about a certified standard parts library, not just something that Joe Blow modeled one day after lunch and a beer.

What is meant by “certified standard parts library”?
Ah, here we go. Gear specs. Orange tab. That was easy.

Paper AIA bolt catalogue

No, silly. Throw out your old paper catalogs. We’re talking an electronic catalog (or directory, if you will) from which an organization can download and reuse standard industry parts. For simplicity’s sake, think nuts, bolts, and washers. Your favorite rocket scientist has better things to do than dimension off-the-shelf bolts for the propulsion system.

In reality, we’re not just talking nuts, bolts, and washers here, folks. The scale is much grander than that. Millions of parts. Industry standard parts. Proprietary company parts. All readily available for reuse in a properly maintained certified electronic standard parts library. But don’t just take our word for it. Poke around on the CADENAS PARTsolutions website. Catch our drift? Parts libraries are their bread and butter.

Tell me more….
Parts must have certified accurate 3D geometry, which serves as the part’s basic dimensions (“basic” in the GD&T sense, where the dimension used is the theoretically perfect—no tolerance –dimension). Annotations are not required unless for purchased parts. Although, if you are doing a “make from” (modifying a purchased part), then that is an exception. However, these parts must have attributes, that is, metadata such as part number, description, material, and supplier.

Strictly neutral part libraries (e.g., STEP format) are feasible but will not provide you with certified models having the most direct data exchange to the source master. STEP files are not for production! All nuts, bolts, and washers (read: every part) must eventually be in Native CAD format for incorporation into your product assemblies. This is the only method for automated tolerance stackup, or taking a cross-section through a bolted connection to visually evaluate fit. Read more about STEP and Native CAD formats (and Kernel and IGES formats) in these Part 1 & Part 2 articles about the CAD Format Ladder, from our friends at TransMagic. PTC Creo’s Unite Technology aside, getting the parts into your Native CAD format is the way it must be.

Standard Part Management Strategies

In order to maintain this certified, up-to-date parts library, a product such as PARTsolutions, with its “Authoritative Source” approach that includes Supplier and Industry Standard content, is highly recommended. PARTsolutions, coupled with a Product Data Management (PDM) integrated for managing your Intellectual Property in the form of assemblies is a minimum requirement. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) takes this approach to a whole new level with configuration management, utilizing “where used” techniques to ensure those old assemblies have the most current Supplier and Industry Standard content.

Using a certified standard parts library within your organization’s PDM & PLM framework WILL save time and money and is critical for maintaining the highest standards of quality control. Your engineers and purchasing agents will thank you.

Want to know more about enabling your organization’s Digital Thread? Join Action Engineering, CADENAS PARTsolutions, and other businesses at the “Enabling MBD, MBE, PMI, and Digital Enterprise” workshop in the Los Angeles area on April 26 & 27, 2016.

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