April 7, 2015

Posted on April 6, 2015 by Manufacturing Applications Consultant Dave Breiner
One of the more difficult tasks that I had undertaken as a CAD Manager was developing modeling standards for my group. I can almost guarantee that if you ask three people in your group to model the same part or assembly, you will get a good model, but it will be constructed or assembled in three different ways.
How about the modelers that are so intent on completing the model that they forget to fill out  the Description, Part Number, Material, and other pertinent information for the BOM? One of my personal pet peeves is when modelers fill out the description for the dimensions of a part, resulting dimension suffix could be Long, LG, Lg or In, inch – inches with no consistency. Yes, there are as many ways to fill out a BOM as there are people in your department. If you are like me, I prefer that one drawing BOM looks very similar to the next.
Having models and drawings that are neat and clean is not the only reason to create and maintain standards. If you go back and look at the rework needed to fix models and drawings you may be surprised. All the time spent fixing models is having an impact on your bottom line. Establishing a consistent way of creating models can streamline the way people work and interact, help reduce reworks and mistakes, and stop the guessing game of where the model is located. This short list names only a few issues that may be possible, there are most likely many others that exist.
So, where do you begin to establish modeling standards? Good question. There is no right or wrong answer. For me, I decided to start small and build on what I thought were the most pressing matters within my group. Regardless of where you begin, the number one and most important piece of advice that I can give you is prepare, prepare, prepare.

  •  Make a list of your biggest or most frequent modeling problems
  •  Talk to your modelers and engineers that use the software
  • Ask for opinions and advice on what needs improvement
  •  Apply and maintain common sense

Modeling standards will not solve all your problems, they may even create a few, but it is a good place to start and it certainly beats the current method of no standards at all.
A few ideas as to where to start

  • Naming Conventions
  • File Location
  • Sketch Creation
    • Is everyone using the same templates?
    • Should you set which plane to begin the sketch on?
    • Should you encourage your modeler to completely constrain the sketch?
  • Part Creation
    • Do you need to name the parameters?
    • Should the modeler, during part creation, be filling out iProperties and if so which ones?
    • Should there be any Custom iProperties?
    • Where and how are features created?
  • Assembly Issues
    • Should you assemblies and sub-assemblies maintain a certain structure? A certain naming convention?
    • Do you have patterning or mirroring concerns?
    • How do you handle Adaptivity?
  • Drawing Issues
    • View creation and placement
    • Part numbering and ballooning
    • BOM structure
    • Parts List creation and placement

This list could go on indefinitely. The take away from these suggestions is to generate a list of concerns and issues and categorize them for a place to start. Form a team within your modeling group to generate, review, and clarify all statements. One of your biggest challenges will be getting by-in from the modeling and engineering groups. By including them in the creation of the standards, aids greatly in getting them on board. Hold periodic reviews of the standards throughout the creation  process with your entire group. Try to keep everyone informed of the progress, ask for input and listen. I must caution you to NOT over do it. Adding too many standards can have the reverse effect of bogging down the process with too many rules that can add time and confusion. You do not want your standards too vague, but you also do not want them overcomplicated. The point of your modeling standards should be to ensure production quality, consistency and to maintain an efficient workflow.
Till Next Time!
Dave Breiner