The holiday season is almost here and I’m super excited to share with you more work the OpenBOM team delivered to you in the final OpenBOM production update this year – December, 22nd, 2023. There are so many things in this update. I’d like to put the main headlines. Here they are
- Change Management enhancements (yay!!!)
- Design Workspace Manager publish to File Explorer function
- CAD integration enhancements (eg. Fusion360 Electronic BOM support and more)
Change Management Enhancements
I know that I put the following spoiler alert in the last update about change management, but it was important and many of our customers asked about it. The enhancements make OpenBOM functionality in change management much more robust and productive.
Change Management enhancements are a crucial aspect of OpenBOM’s advanced feature development. The highly requested Change Order template configuration will enable businesses to customize change processes to meet specific customer requirements, define desired attributes, and manage the list of approvals. Alongside other enhancements in change management, these improvements will enhance the robustness and flexibility of OpenBOM.
Here are three key additions to OpenBOM’s Change Management:
- 1. Change Order Templates
- 2. Flexible Change Order Data Model (Properties)
- 3. Notification System Enhancements
Let’s explore these enhancements in greater detail.
Change Order Templates Flexible Data Model
One of the most important enhancements is to be able to define multiple “types” of change orders. In such a way, any company can define different change processes (ECO, MCO, etc.), to customize different attributes that need to be added to the Change Order and define what workflow (people who will need to approve changes) will be added.
As you can see in the picture above, you can create multiple change order templates.
By configuring the approvers and data attributes, each company will be able to create a fully flexible definition of the change order process. Typically different ECO, MCO, but also change processes related to simple documentation changes, etc.
Enhancements to the Notification System
Last, but not least, enhancements are the improvement of the notification system. It will allow users to notify users about change orders they should be “approving”. Also, it will allow for better control of who is getting specific information and notifications for each change order.
In the video below, you can see how the new Change Order templates can be created and used for a simple process of management of part changes.
OpenBOM Design and Workspace Manager Improvements
OpenBOM Design, a new free service we offered earlier this year, provides a robust, simple, and free platform for any engineer, team, or manufacturing company to manage their CAD projects and use the smart sync feature to keep files synchronized between local folders and cloud storage. With these OpenBOM Design Smart Sync, you’re getting the best of both worlds – working on local project files (your favorite CAD systems such as Solidworks love it) and keeping track of your projects online by storing it in the cloud (unlimited storage is provided by OpenBOM Design).
Smart Sync is all about keeping your design projects synchronized seamlessly between your local folders and the cloud. It ensures that you and your team always have access to the latest versions of your design files, no matter where you are. File locking mechanism combined with check-in/check-out feature allows users to overwrite changes made by someone else.
In this release, we bring multiple enhancements to OpenBOM Design and Workspace Manager.
- Improved Smart Sync speed
- Improvements of messages
- An optional simplified user interface (minified UX)
- Exclude temp files for Solidworks automatically
Workspace Manager Publish Feature
We are introducing a new Workspace Manager Publish feature. A publish feature allows information about design projects available via file explorer and web user interface. The first release (Dec 22nd, 2023) focuses on Publish to File Explorer.
Now, with the Publish feature, OpenBOM Design is taking collaboration to the next level. Instead of just syncing, this feature allows you to share read-only access to your design files directly through Windows File Explorer. It’s like having a window into your project without compromising security or control.
Use Cases for Publish To File Explorer
The Publish To File Explorer feature opens up several exciting possibilities. Here are a couple of key use cases that OpenBOM has in mind:
Shared Library of Standard Components (files)
Imagine you have a collection of standard components (eg. fasteners library), templates, or design guidelines that your team frequently uses. With the Publish feature, you can create a shared library accessible through File Explorer. This makes it easy for team members to access and reference these resources whenever they need them, without the need to go through a complex cloud-based system.
Read-Only Access for Design Contractors
Collaboration with external design contractors often involves sharing design files while maintaining control over modifications. The Publish feature allows you to provide contractors with read-only access to specific files or sets of files. This ensures that they can view and work with the necessary materials without the risk of accidental changes.
Demo video of Workspace Manager Publish
Check out the video with the first preview of the OpenBOM Design Publish feature:
Please note: Workspace Management Publish function at the moment is only available for OpenBOM paid subscriptions (Team, Company and Enterprise).
Export Function: Add Revision information in Filename
A very useful function that can be used in the OpenBOM export function. Here is the use case. When you work with a contractor or supplier who is not using OpenBOM to share data, you can export BOMs, catalogs, and associated files. Once exported, there is a problem in identifying these files with a correct revision (especially when sent via email). Here is a function we bring now- to include a revision in the exported file name.
I’m sure you will love the feature. We bring it based on the request of the customers.
Export derivative files from top-level BOM
Another export improvement (or maybe bug fixing) is to always include all file attachments from the root top-level assembly BOM. Now it happens automatically – all files from the top assembly item in the catalog are exported too.
OpenBOM Design Digital Thread and CAD Integrations
Every modern product today requires the integration of various disciplines, including mechanical, electronic, and software design. This shift necessitates a more comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to managing the complex data structure and lifecycle of information involved in product design and manufacturing processes. For the last two decades, traditional PDM tools evolved into siloed solutions that focused on a specific CAD System. You can get a separate data management system for Solidworks, and Altium or you can get GitHub which is amazing for software development. However, pulling all these things together requires more than running all these siloed environments separately.
This is a vision of the digital thread design that we developed at OpenBOM. As part of the implementation of the Design Digital Thread, OpenBOM introduced a Design Dashboard that allows connecting multiple design services (CAD systems) and importing information seamlessly with a single click. An example of the first integration to support it was Fusion360 and AECBOM (Autodesk Revit) of these integrations. Check our press release here. In this release, we introduce extensions of these services and add more services.
This is a quick overview of improvements and new products we delivered in December 2023
- OpenBOM Autodesk Platform Services integration for Fusion Electronics
- Enhancements to Autodesk Fusion360 Mechanical Design
- Integrations of Workspace Manager in desktop CAD add-ins
- PTC Onshape improvements
- Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS improvements
Let’s talk about them more in detail.
Autodesk Fusion 360 Electronics BOMs in one click
Create a BOM of your favorite Autodesk Fusion 360 Electronics Design including Reference Designators and thumbnail images. For the first time, you can browse to your favorite Fusion Electronics design in your Autodesk Cloud storage and create a complete BOM with a single click!!
Watch the video:
OpenBOM For Autodesk Fusion 360 (STEP from Fusion 360)
We brought more features to the Autodesk Fusion 360 for Design. Create complete multi-level BOMs of your Fusion cloud design directly from the OpenBOM Design Dashboard without opening Fusion. Includes all properties and metadata, thumbnails, and (optionally) create STEP files for Part and/or Assemblies.
Check the video where we demo it in work and compare it with a traditional Autodesk Fusion 360 Add-in.
All OpenBOM Integrations for Desktop CAD Systems
All OpenBOM integrations with desktop CADs now support both OpenBOM Drive and WorkspaceManager directly from the toolbar. Based on your credentials and licensing, you will see the appropriate toolbar.
This is another example of OpenBOM making it easier to manage your Engineering CAD data.
The process of creating derivative files in Onshape was improved and made more reliable. For very large assemblies and BOMs, we now manage the queue better and predict the demands on the Onshape API in such a way that a/ creates the proper files, and, b/ removes the burden of the translations from the regular processing services. So the operation just runs better.
Be aware, that for large translation jobs, it may take up to one minute per file (based on the Onshape loads at the time). So be patient and check back. The files will be there.
Dassault Systemes 3D EXPERIENCE Solidworks
Two of our latest Dassault Solidworks controls, Order BOM like CAD & Enable BOM/Featuremanager Cross Highlighting can be controlled in the settings as shown below. Be aware that if you toggle Cross Highlighting you must restart Solidworks for the change to take effect.
Other fixes and improvements
As always, we squashed some bugs and made various changes and improvements.
- Fixed a case where processing stopped when encountering an empty Onshape document
- Fixed a case when Onshape properties were not updated from OpenBOM
- Properly handle the case when Onshape translation API returns a 429 code
2023 was a great year for OpenBOM. To conclude our second update for December 2023, I’m excited that we’re bringing a really powerful set of features that will quickly become a game-changer for OpenBOM’s growing number of customers. Change management brings the needed feature and OpenBOM Design and CAD integrations introduce a new paradigm in PLM integrations.
Improved CAD and engineering integration is a foundation of reliable and robust engineering to purchasing digital thread. Change Management enhancements give OpenBOM customers the capabilities to manage more complex processes.
I hope you liked the improvements and features. At OpenBOM, we’re excited about new capabilities to integrate with a variety of CAD and other design systems. Combined with our Workspace manager it provides a solid foundation for OpenBOM Design Dashboard.
Heads up and spoiler alerts for 2024:
- More “change management” features are coming including approval routing
- Improvements in BOM compare features and reporting
- Filter improvements
- Variants and product structure configurations
- Onboarding support for new users
I will be coming up with a separate blog about our 2024 plans.
Have a joyful holiday season and Happy New Year!
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