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Thread: Handling of customer / supplier Drawing

  1. #1
    Associate Engineer
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    Nov 2011
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    Handling of customer / supplier Drawing

    Wondering if anyone had any advice in terms of handling Customer / Supplier drawings?

    My current employer is looking to transfer supplier drawings onto their new EPDM drawings vault. My issue is that the company are looking to transfer the whole drawing and put this into their own drawing border. I only have 5 years of working in design from my previous employment but never came across this method and it seems slightly strange to myself. Is this common practice?

    The issues I have is that firstly we will have differing revision controls as the supplier uses alphanumeric and company uses numeric. Therefore any revised drawing will need to be constantly controlled via the company drawing border. This also could lead to confusion for the ERP engineer who looks after controlling the BOM on the company ERP system. As he doesn't come from a engineering background and hence seeing two differing revisions could lead to confusion here in terms of what revision is put against the part on the ERP. I think the correct thing to use would be use the company revision here, but then this raises the problem of what revision is then displayed in terms of raising a purchase order for the component. As if our ERP system displays our revision this won't mean a thing to the supplier.

    Other things which I think should really be taken into account: although drawing orientation shouldn't clash - this will rely on the correct one being selected originally. We have company in UK & US so need to establish if first / third angle and how supplier drawing orientation works will be problematic. Also general tolerancing and geometrics may differ between the borders, although these aren't machined in house again I think this would be slightly confusing. Finally we are currently using Solidworks, the drawing files we'd be looking to insert are pdf files, problem here being that inserting a pdf vector image isn't possible into solidworks, and it converts this to a simple bitmap image, so drawing clarity is then lost.

    At my old employers we used to literally just put a rubber stamp our part number on the printed drawing and scan this, for BSI purposes the engineer would also sign and date the drawing. This was fairly quick and easy. Plus any loss of quality in the image through being re-scanned was far less than that of vector-bitmap I have witnessed.

    The only other solution I could see would be a form of digital drawing stamp, if anyone uses this format I'd definately be interested to know the vendor. As this way although a physical signature wouldn't be captured, through the use of EPDM a digital signature would be present in the files history.

  2. #2
    Technical Fellow
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    Feb 2011
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    Are these drawings electronic (.CAD, .DXF, .IGS etc) or scanned paper?

    If electronic then why not just have an Alias system. Give each drawing it's own Alias with your in-house numbering system. When a revision comes in give it a dash-number to the original Alias. Print it with whatever border you like but reference the customer numbering and revision dates.

    If it is scanned paper drawings then it is nuts to scan them -- unless -- each new version from the customer is scanned over the preceding one so there is no record of the previous out-dated version. Well, other than backed-up archive versions that are generally not available to the user (draftsman) base.

  3. #3
    Associate Engineer
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Hi thanks for the reply,

    These drawings are being done electronically. They are done on Catia, which unfortunately isnít directly supported by solidworks. So currently the supplier is issuing us with a STEP file of the top level assembly model and dxf of just the top level drawing. They also issue us all the individual part drawings in pdf format (perhaps 60 drawings approx in total). All this data is communicated to us via FTP. This work scope / agreement was outlined with the supplier prior to my employment. Hence I have to live and work with what we have as it stands. The supplier agreed they would only update our part numbering on the very top level assemblies.

    At the moment I am not concerning myself too much with the STEP files, I will control the access to this to enable design engineers access to place the assy in the top level vehicle assembly for build checks.

    What I am concerned at is of all the individual drawings for these parts. I am in the process of setting up the EPDM folder structure and need to get these drawings available to everyone within the business so they can get the latest production ready copy of the drawing to hand. So what I have is a pdf of an assy drawing containing 95% supplier part numbers and 5% of the companys numbers. So the remaining 95% all require some form of identification to be put on the actual drawing itself. Ie if the file was on the shop floor a production engineer wouldnít know what the supplier part number refers to. So I canít just give it a dash-number file name as you mentioned as this would just identify the file name only, unless I have missed your point.

    As for the revisions that can be handled through the EPDM workflow, therefore there will only ever be the released revision of the drawing and users can if they wish only view the historic data which is kept behind the master part with full history of document changes etc for audit trail purposes. So we would effectively be scanning over the top of the original if you like.

    Hope this makes sense.

  4. #4
    Technical Fellow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Hunter View Post
    So the remaining 95% all require some form of identification to be put on the actual drawing itself. Ie if the file was on the shop floor a production engineer wouldnít know what the supplier part number refers to. So I canít just give it a dash-number file name as you mentioned as this would just identify the file name only, unless I have missed your point.
    Hi Daniel,

    It's a bit of a tough chore mixing any percentages of in-house and customer numbers and it is fraught with danger. That's why I suggested an Alias system that contained both numbers. You would need some software written that tracked the customer-number and it's associated Alias.

    The shop floor could call up the in-house Alias (your normal numbering system) and be presented with the latest customer's version of that part. You as custodian of the Alias system would be charged with the responsibility of the customer-in-house match-up being correct at all times. I can't see this being done just using Folder structure etc for the document retrieval. It would require some specific software to manage it all where the connections between customer and in-house numbers would be basically hidden from all the end users.

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