How to reuse an existing design quickly? – Use the copy tree tool
With the rapid growth of consumer market demand, shortening the research and development cycle time and improving the quality of design become more and more crucial for companies to maintain the strategic advantage.
Use Apple as an example, every year they will launch the new models, as shown below. Do you ever wonder why they can design a new model so quickly? Every year Apple release at least two new models, from concept to market, including all the hardware changes.
All of the iPhone models
Typically, a 3D assembly model consists of four types of components. The first one is purchased parts, like screws and springs. The second one is the modified purchase part, like customized OLED display and the sensors. The third one is the common design parts which can be used in many other models, like push buttons and sim cardholder. The fourth type is project-specific parts which only used in one model, like phone casing and camera module.
How to manage all those different types of parts? They need their own workflow, permissions, and storage location. When we have a new design we know how to quickly get those parts with the right version.
With SOLIDWORKS PDM, we can design the folder structure to store the 4 types of part files. The Libraries folder will store the purchased parts, modified purchased parts and the common design parts which can be used in many other models. Those files will be reused later on and we hope can search for them easily.
The Project folder storage the part only used in this specific project. When engineers need to design a new model, they can find similar parts in the Project folder, and then copy to a new project for design reuse.
Example: Folder structure to store different type files
But the problem is: only the parts used in the project can be found in this folder, another part files are stored in the Libraries folders, can we find all the other parts in different folders and reuse the design?
The answer is simple: Yes, we can use the SOLIDWORKS PDM Copy Tree tool to accomplish this task.
Copy Tree offers the same functionality as SOLIDWORKS Pack & Go, but it contains file management tools that are built specifically for use with SOLIDWORKS PDM.
In SOLIDWORKS PDM interface, select an assembly, click Tools à Copy Tree. As shown below:
SOLIDWORKS PDM Copy Tree UI
The User Interface is very similar to Pack & Go in SOLIDWORKS, but it has more functions for files manage. For example, you can select the files you want to copy, so you can select the files for the new project that need to be modified, the purchased parts don’t need to be copied, just use them as reference in this assembly, so all the projects in the PDM Vault will use the same purchased parts.
Tick the “Copy” checkboxes for files that you want to copy
For example, you can use the “Rename with Serial number” function for the select files or all the files. SOLIDWORKS PDM can set the serial number for the renamed files. This is a very userful feature as in the initial design stage, the engineer may name the files freely, and when the design is finalized, they can use this tool to rename the parts based on the naming rule defined in the ERP system.
Rename with Serial Number UI
Above just showcase several basic functionalities of Copy Tree, as you can see, Copy Tree is a very useful tool to reuse of your existing design and improve the product innovation efficiency. if you want to know more about Copy Tree or other SOLIDWORKS PDM functionalities, please feel free to contact us.