Introducing OpenBOM Drive (Beta)

Oleg Shilovitsky
Oleg Shilovitsky
11 November, 2021 | 5 min for reading
Introducing OpenBOM Drive (Beta)

I’m super excited to introduce a new OpenBOM product service that is coming soon – OpenBOM Drive. The goal of the OpenBOM Drive service is to provide a mechanism for work-in-progress collaboration and file storage. OpenBOM Drive will provide virtual storage accessible via Windows File Explorer and (new) OpenBOM Document Dashboard via the browser user interface. 

Why OpenBOM Drive?

The file is an essential component of data management. CAD files, specifications, drawings, are all part of product development, and many pieces of essential information are stored in files. OpenBOM provides flexible, scalable, and robust mechanisms to manage files and link to files stored in OpenBOM and other storages.

Until now, OpenBOM was a place where you could save files connected to various objects (eg. Items, BOMs) and manage revisions of the items together with files (eg. CAD files, PDFs, STEP, etc.).  The connection is doing using Reference property (attribute), which can be added anywhere and allows you to manage multiple files connected to item etc.

We expand OpenBOM with the capabilities to manage Work-in-progress design activity and allow to manage and collaborate CAD and other design information in real-time. The virtual drive can be available to all users in your company as well as to all other members of the extended teams, contractors and suppliers will be available in the cloud and play the role of storage as well as collaborative space where everyone can share files, manage file revisions and access information at the same time. 

We are going to introduce a Document Dashboard in OpenBOM where you can access all files and link file information to other OpenBOM Objects (Items, BOMs, Orders, POs, etc.). For engineers and designers, we will provide seamless access to OpenBOM Drive via Windows File Explorer user interface. So, if you work with a desktop CAD system, all you need to do is place your files on OpenBOM Drive and continue to work seamlessly with existing applications (eg. Solidworks, Autodesk Inventor, Solid Edge, Creo, and others). 

Will OpenBOM Drive Replace Existing File Storage 

The short answer is no, but it will expand file management capabilities of OpenBOM. 

Earlier this year, OpenBOM introduced the availability of file storage systems. Check back to our documentations and articles where we described how you can use a combination of a completely flexible OpenBOM data model and storage capabilities. 

The existing storage mechanism allows you to add multiple “properties” to the data model in any OpenBOM objects – items, bill of materials, orders, etc. and attach files to these properties. 

By attaching these files to Bill of Materials and Items and later creating revisions you can manage a full revision based product structure with CAD files. This is a great way to collaborate on BOMs and manage released product documentation. 

OpenBOM Drive is a next step and it will expand file management capabilities of OpenBOM. 

Work-in-progress Collaboration 

We found lot of design activity is using files, but for large number of customers these files are not managed and they located everywhere causing engineers and companies to lost them and have a very inefficient data management and collaboration workflows. 

OpenBOM  Drive will allow to manage files by providing a storage system and revision control, which typically can be found in PDM systems. However, the mechanism to do so will be seamlessly integrated with existing file management system as a real-time virtual drive for all users to collaborate and share data instantly. 

You can simply copy and paste all your files on OpenBOM Drive and continue to work with these files in the same way you worked before (eg. using them in Solidworks design). OpenBOM Drive provides automatic locking mechanisms as well as a dedicated check-in / check-out function to prevent people from editing the same file simultaneously. When a specific file is updated, all other users will get instant access to the new updated files as well as revisions- no additional action is required. However, unlike storages like Google Drive, Dropbox and others, OpenBOM Drive will be seamlessly integrated with CAD Add-ins and linked to other information managed using OpenBOM – Items, BOMs, Purchase Orders, etc.

OpenBOM Drive will be available via Windows Explorer user interface for users working with desktop applications. 

For all users accessing data remotely, OpenBOM will provide a new Drive Document Dashboard allowing users to access files and connect them to other information managed in OpenBOM – Items, BOMs, Purchase Orders, etc. We will be previewing this user experience very soon. Stay tuned :).

CAD Add-ins and OpenBOM Drive

OpenBOM CAD Add-ins will provide integrated support for OpenBOM Drive functionality such as Check-in/ Check-out and other relevant commands. When BOM is created or Item is saved using CAD Add-in, the created item record is linked automatically to the Document located in Drive. For more information about OpenBOM CAD Integration check out our website – OpenBOM Integrations.

When Will OpenBOM Drive Be Available? 

OpenBOM Drive (Beta) is available immediately for a select number of users. If you would like to participate in our Beta program, please navigate to OpenBOM Drive Dashboard and click on the “REQUEST DRIVE ACCESS” button. We are processing all users interested to participate in OpenBOM Drive Beta and will contact you. 

Conclusion

The vision of OpenBOM from the early beginning was to use the power of cloud technology to simplify the way industrial companies, manufacturing businesses, engineers, contractors, and suppliers manage information and communicate. OpenBOM patented BOM collaboration provides unique capabilities to everyone to manage product information and to “stay on the same BOM” by using seamless BOM collaboration. We are excited to expand OpenBOM with a new file storage service and collaboration service that will provide a seamless way to manage any file (CAD files, project specifications, requirements, test reports, etc.) and collaborate in real-time. 

REGISTER FOR FREE to check out how OpenBOM can help you. 

If you’re interested in exploring how OpenBOM Drive can help you, please contact support @ openbom dot com. 

Best, Oleg

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