Originally Published 5/31/2013
At the company where I work, we build a lot of welded steel frames. Tube steel, angles, channels etc. Nearly every piece of equipment we build has some sort of welded frame either large or small.
To make it easier on our welding shop, we try to format our drawings so that the parts lists show the cut length of each piece of steel. Our purchasing system gives a distinct part number, not to each cut piece of steel, but to the steel profile and size. For example: L1.5″ x 1.5″ x 1/4″ steel has a part number, regardless of the length it is cut to.
In order to avoid a parts list that takes up an entire sheet in our drawing set, especially for large frames, we decided long ago to sort our parts lists by both Part Number and Length parameters. Unfortunately, the Inventor BOM editor only allows grouping parts based on the Part Number parameter. The result is that if you have multiple pieces of steel, with the same part number but cut to different lengths, the Length column shows the value as “Varies”. Well, that’s not very helpful, so whattya gonna do?
It was actually some discussions on the Autodesk ® Discussion Forums that led me to this solution (workaround). First, a little background fact from Frame Generator. Every frame member generated by Frame Generator contains a parameter called “G_L”, which is the final overall length after all end treatments have been applied. Knowing that, I was able to put this formula into the “Part Number” field in all of my frame BOMs: =<Cost Center>-<G_L>.
“Cost Center” is a standard iproperty on all parts in Inventor, I chose that simply because we were not using it for anything else. So, I put the formula into the Part Number field, and put our Part Number into the Cost Center field. I do this ONLY on Frame Generator members, everything else I leave as is. What I get as a result, then, is a combination of the two values separated by a dash, as in: 123-45678-001-36.000 in. With these values combined, I can now group by part number and have them roll up common lengths into one row in my BOM.
So, that takes care of the BOM, now I need to make the Parts List in my .idw show this in such a way that each Part Number length combination has a row complete with a quantity of the number of pieces cut to this length.
For the columns I use “Item Qty” as Qty and simply change the heading of the Column in the Column Chooser screen of the Parts List editor. For Part Number, I actually use the Cost Center property, and again, change the column header to Part Number. For the Length column, I create a new property called “G_L” so it will pick up the value of that pat parameter.
I change the column header on that to Length, and the result is what you see above. To ensure that this is done for every frame drawing we create, I built all of this into a template file which is used for all frame detail drawings. I also added the formula to the Part Number column of all of my Frame Generator parts in the Content Center, so that it is automatically generated into each new component as it is created.
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