OpenBOM: What’s New September, 17th 2023

Oleg Shilovitsky
Oleg Shilovitsky
19 September, 2023 | 11 min for reading
OpenBOM: What’s New September, 17th 2023

Welcome to OpenBOM’s September 17th, 2023 update. The summer is over and we are coming with a really big announcement at OpenBOM. We are making significant enhancements to OpenBOM data modeling, integrations, and file management capabilities of OpenBOM. 

Simplicity Matters. At OpenBOM, we learned a great deal about simplicity. Our vision from the early beginning was to simplify the way engineers and manufacturing companies are managing information. I shared my 5 Lessons About Simplicity I learned Building OpenBOM Over 5 Years. For the last year, we learned a lot about how engineers and our customers are managing files and now we are coming up with a new way to manage design information by introducing Design Projects functionality and new cloud integrations with design systems. 

Customization and data model flexibility is one of the key elements that are needed by our customers to support their processes and specific data management goals. From the early beginning of OpenBOM, we’ve been focusing on how to provide simple and configurable solutions to manage data. OpenBOM “spreadsheet-like” minded data management allows customized data records for existing objects and creates item classifications by defining multiple item catalogs. We are coming up with a new level of data management and data model customization and introducing Custom Objects. Since the current release, you will be able to create new data object types (think about Products, Requirements, Tasks, Quality Processes, etc.). The new custom objects are coming also with a new property type – object reference to manage links between objects. 

Integration with a growing number of cloud services online is becoming more and more important. Therefore, we introduced a new way to integrate with design data using cloud services and we created a new Design Dashboard in OpenBOM to get access to all these integrations. We start with supporting Autodesk Platform Services (APS). The number of integrations will be growing. 

As always, we pay attention to all customer requests and make many enhancements to our existing CAD integrations. 

Here is the list of top headlines in the last OpenBOM production updates:

  • New Design Dashboard 
  • Design Projects with Workspace Manager 
  • Cloud design system integrations (Fusion360, AECBOM) 
  • Custom Objects 
  • Object Reference Property
  • CAD Add-in enhancements 
  • SOC2 Progress 

HEADS UP: OpenBOM Subscription update

Please note that OpenBOM will be changing subscriptions on October 1st, 2023. It is related to the introduction of the new Design Projects functions and only will impact FREE subscribers.  No existing subscribers will be affected. We will be reaching out with more information later this week. 

We are more active on our community website and we are using it more for direct communication with OpenBOM customers. We will share more about our roadmap and coming features there. Subscribe to the OpenBOM community where you can get live updates about what is happening at OpenBOM as well as communicate directly with our team of experts. 

Let me dive into more details about recent updates. 

Design Projects (Free Solution)

With increasing file sizes, complex revision cycles, and the need for global collaboration, managing these files can become a cumbersome task. At OpenBOM we look at how to simplify everyday tasks for engineers and the entire team. We always look at how to provide a seamless way to manage information between engineers, all other members of the team and other stakeholders in a company, contractors, and suppliers. OpenBOM Design Project is a simple function designed to cater to these challenges. 

Design Projects –  a simple and shared cloud storage space to manage all design information, upload, download files, manage revisions, and share it between team members. 

A new design projects function allows you to create projects that can be shared automatically with team members. Administrators can create these projects and they will automatically show up in front of all users. 

A special Workspace Manager tool you can install on a Windows computer that allows you to keep your local folders in sync with your OpenBOM Design Projects. Look at the first demo preview of the OpenBOM Projects video: 

The Design Projects tool provides you with an easy way to store all your design information, load it to the cloud, keep it in sync with your local folder, share files, and manage revisions. 

Beyond storage and management, collaboration is the heartbeat of any successful design project. OpenBOM’s platform is built to foster real-time collaboration, allowing engineers from across the globe to work cohesively, share insights, and provide feedback. This not only accelerates the design process but also ensures that the best minds can contribute, irrespective of geographical constraints.

More information about Design Projects is here – First Look At Design Projects.

Please note that with new OpenBOM subscriptions in effect from October 1st, 2023, Design Projects functions will be part of the OpenBOM free plan. Stay tuned for an additional announcement coming later this week. 

Custom Objects 

When we started OpenBOM, we realized that one of the key elements of the platform is the capability to be flexible and configurable to adjust to various customer requirements and business processes. Managing product data is a critical part of any successful product development and manufacturing operation. In order to make informed decisions about where to allocate resources and how to meet production goals, manufacturers need accurate and up-to-date information about the products they produce. 

When it comes to the development of data management solutions for industrial companies, manufacturing OEMs, engineers, suppliers, and contractors, we know that flexibility is a key element of successful architecture. Flexibility is a powerful concept that is appreciated by engineers and IT professionals. As much as out-of-the-box functionality is appreciated, the requirements for flexibility are always coming up with the same level of priority. 

I’m super excited to share that OpenBOM is bringing customization of data models to customers at a completely next level. Like OpenBOM internally created items, catalogs, BOMs, Vendors, Orders, etc objects, you will be able to create any data types now in OpenBOM – Products, Projects, Requirements, Tasks, etc. 

The new Custom Object dashboard is available and you can create any data type. Note – you must be an admin to create a new data object. The feature is available for Company Subscriptions only. 

More information about it can be found in OpenBOM Custom Object documentation. 

Here is an example of a custom object dashboard with two examples of custom objects – products, requirements, and tasks. Example- Requirement Custom object: 

Example- Projects Custom object: 

Object Reference 

Custom Objects introduces a new mechanism to link between Objects in OpenBOM. First, it will be only available for custom objects and later will be introduced to all objects in OpenBOM. The relationship between objects will be later explored in OpenBOM Graph Navigation. 

The purpose of this property is to support “linkage” between different objects in OpenBOM.  This property contains information about custom types and lists of objects. Everything in OpenBOM is an object. You can define custom objects (eg. Products, Requirements, Specifications, etc.) Once these objects are defined, the Object Reference property allows the selection of one of these object instances (e.g. a specific product) and keeps the “link” in the value. 

To define Object Reference, there is a need to select what Object (type) it will support. Unlike just Reference where you can put any URL, Object Reference can only support a pointer (link) to a specific object type. 

In the picture below when you create an Object Reference, you need to select a specific Object Type. 

…and now you select a specific object type. 

Once you configured Object Reference, a user can select a value and by doing so, create a link between two objects via the Object Reference property. 

Cloud Design Integrations – Autodesk Fusion 360 and AECBOM

OpenBOM’s innovative Design Service Dashboard is a game-changer. This platform isn’t merely a data aggregator; it’s a nexus that connects a myriad of data services. By drawing from diverse CAD systems (MCAD, ECAD), software tools (JIRA), and cloud storage mechanisms, OpenBOM stands as a leader in data transformation. It carefully processes this vast amount of data, extracts product structure, BOM, and related information that become the foundation of strategic decisions, spanning from procurement strategies to nuanced product development.

Also, from the same dashboard, you can get to AECBOM connecting to Autodesk Revit Data for takeoff service.

New Design Dashboard 

OpenBOM introduces a new way to integrate with cloud CAD systems that will soon become a game changer and aggregator of multi-disciplinary design information. This platform is a data aggregator and real-time connector to CAD data services. By drawing from diverse CAD systems (MCAD, ECAD), software tools (JIRA), and cloud storage mechanisms, OpenBOM stands as a linchpin of data transformation. 

OpenBOM Introduces a New Design Dashboard that allows you to integrate multiple design data sources. For more information, read our documentation about Design Projects. 

The coming release introduces a connection to Autodesk Manufacturing Data (MFG) Data model and Autodesk Revit (AECBOM).

SOC2 Progress

OpenBOM is taking security and our internal processes related to handling data very carefully. Today, OpenBOM is at the latest stages to pass SOC2 Type2 certification. Our team was working with auditors and all needed providers to validate and secure the OpenBOM platform to be compliant. Stay tuned to our announcement later in September. 

CAD Add-in Enhancements 

OpenBOM for PTC Onshape

A number of very important features as well as a few fixes are delivered in this release.

Standard Items support: Full support for Onshape Standard Items Category settings.  Create a Category for your Standard Items, assign it to an OpenBOM Catalog and you can assign part numbers and organize your standard items (eg.  hardware, fasteners, etc) easily and quickly in OpenBOM.

Support for Part Number assignment and Catalog assignment is now supported!

Save Item: Also supports Categories and PDF (and other neutral file) generation.

Save Onshape Revision to OpenBOM CAD_Revision: Do you ever want to save the value of a parts Onshape Revision to OpenBOM WITHOUT actually updating the Item Revision in OpenBOM? Of course you do.  This option will map the Onshape Revision property value to a new OpenBOM property called CAD_Revision.   By doing so, you can keep track of an item’s CAD revision separately in OpenBOM.  

Other Onshape improvements include DXF export for Versions, STL & STEP export for configurations, a better property chooser that eliminates duplicate properties, faster BOM generation, and better messaging.

OpenBOM for Autodesk Inventor 

We continue to bring the best integration features to Autodesk Inventor and this release is no exception.  Two important new features are highlighted in the video below:

OpenBOM Property Chooser:  The new property chooser offers easier export of important Inventor properties to OpenBOM.  Previously, this operation required knowledge of the internal Inventor Bill of Materials function, with this update, you can now choose which properties to send to OpenBOM using a more modern property chooser.

 Additionally, properties may be specified as BOM properties, a special corner case of property management where you may want to send a value to an item’s BOM reference rather than the item catalog reference.  This value is almost ALWAYS BLANK unless you know exactly what you are doing.

Watch the video that demonstrates these enhancements. 

STEP export:  Export your CAD Files as STEP

https://share.getcloudapp.com/2NuWRn2E

OpenBOM For Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS

Two important updates are export format options are included in this release, we added support for Parasolid (X_T) export and the ability to specify the desired STEP version on export (AP203 or AP214).  See below:

A short video on how to export STEP and X_T files is here: 

Quantity as Length supports formulas: Another nice improvement was made to the “Quantity as Length” option support for formulas and dimensions in the Length value.

Conclusion

We are super excited about new OpenBOM Features and Functions, I hope you also think so. It brings a lot of new capabilities, features and improvements. Thank you all for supporting OpenBOM! 

Stay tuned for Design Projects updates and new subscription plans. We will make Design Projects gradually available to everyone for free starting from October 1, 2023.

I’m excited about another great OpenBOM release with a rich set of new features to increase the value OpenBOM provides to a growing number of OpenBOM customers. 

I want to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who submitted your G2 review about OpenBOM. It is always great to read your reviews, with comments, feedback, and improvement requests. We all really appreciate your contribution. 

As always, if you have any questions, ideas, or feedback please feel free to contact our team directly via support @ openbom.com and also join the OpenBOM Community website. 

REGISTER FOR FREE and start a 14-day trial to check how OpenBOM can help you. 

We love you all!

Best, Oleg

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