Nexa3D Accelerates Product Development and Integrates BOM Management Process with Solidworks and Altium CAD using OpenBOM


Headquartered in Ventura, California, Nexa3D designs and manufactures a line of innovative laser sintering SLS and liquid photopolymer SLA 3D printing products directed at low to medium volume industrial market applications.

And for the past two years, they have relied on OpenBOM to get their bills of material right.

The company’s Director of Mechanical Engineering, Kenyon Whetsell, leads a team of engineers across a variety of projects which includes R&D, design for production, and mechanical hardware component design.

“We started as a small team dedicated to being lean and agile”, says Kenyon, “and we quickly learned that Excel and google docs did not meet our needs as our product structure spanned multiple engineering domains .”

Nexa3D’s product line spans the entire 3D printing activity, from printing, post-processing, curing and washing, and more. 

They needed a way to keep separate product BOMs reliable as they moved from design to manufacture.

“Our company needed the traceability and history we could not get with a traditional spreadsheet”, he says. “It was simply impossible, even with a small team, to keep data reliable and intact as we shared with procurement.”

The reliance on Excel also did not meet the company’s need to manage sub-assemblies.

“Even with a very capable team, and an extraordinary amount of effort, and many vlookup macros, Excel could not deliver what we needed, it was fragile and the logic would simply break”, Kenyon says.

“As the Nexa3D products matured we soon had a BOM administrator dedicating 20 hours a week to maintaining Excel BOMs. With OpenBOM we have no single admin. OpenBOM is largely self-sufficient, no dedicated IT person is needed. It just works.”

“Looking back to the decision to buy OpenBOM over two years ago it was rather simple. We needed a solution with low capital investment. SAP and Oracle were out as they require full-time admin. We were lean and agile and wanted a BOM solution that would grow with us and suited to our company. No overhead of a complicated system”, he explains.

“We looked at Arena PLM, it was a bit more than we needed and required more administration than OpenBOM, the onboarding time and cost was higher than we could justify.”

“OpenBOM was more mature and built a better BOM. So we decided to buy OpenBOM.”

“We knew we wanted to ramp up quickly without taking internal resources so we contacted an OpenBOM consultant, Razorleaf. The implementation was super easy and on time and budget.”

The company uses Solidworks and Altium as well as other CAD tools.

According to Kenyon, adding non-modeled parts to a BOM is much improved with OpenBOM.

“With OpenBOM we easily create a BOM from Solidworks and add non-modeled parts, electrical components, adhesives, and more in OpenBOM.”

Data from the BOM is used by the entire production team. 

“We use the OpenBOM cost rollups, especially in the development stage for NPI. We are always asking the question, how can we improve value for our customers?”

“I know it’s not high tech but the images in the BOM are a HUGE deal to everyone at the company. We are no longer staring at part numbers on a page. The item image greatly improves communication and reduces errors.”

“I can say the single greatest feature of OpenBOM is the properly formed multi-level BOM with sub-assemblies.”

And we love the flatten feature!! Can’t do that with Excel.

“Operationally, every engineer needs to view the BOM in different ways – single-level, multi-level, flat, with or without certain properties and columns, Composed of and where used, OpenBOM does all that and more.”

Additionally, Nexa3D relies on OpenBOM to enforce the company’s policy of change management via the principle of Form, Fit and Function

“OpenBOM manages our part and BOM revisions and dispenses part numbers according to our company standards. There is no longer a special spreadsheet that everyone uses to get part numbers, they come from OpenBOM in an organized way with no duplicates.”

“The Altium team gets part numbers from the electrical catalog, the MCAD team from the Mechanical components catalog and can easily fetch the next part number right from within Solidworks when designing a new component or assembly.”

Finally, OpenBOM’s flexible data model easily keeps track of specific information necessary for the company’s RoHS and REACH compliance.  

“We create a property for compliance specifications and inspection status for critical components. Our compliance engineers use this property to track QA specs and methods through the compliance process.”

To learn more about Nexa3D please visit

To learn more about OpenBOM please visit

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