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using Windchill Attributes from ECAD Docs on Mentor Graphics drawings ?

NickD
7-Bedrock

using Windchill Attributes from ECAD Docs on Mentor Graphics drawings ?

There is a fairly straightforward mechanism for sharing Windchill Attributes and their values between MCAD files and their associated CAD Documents, either using Global Attributes (with names defined in CAPITALS) and implicit mapping, or 'soft ' Attributes defined in the Type & Attribute Manager and explicit mapping for specific CAD applications. There are also some Preferences that can be set by the users that appear to do much the same thing.

We really need to find an equivalent way to display some key Windchill Attributes, such as version number (Revision.Iteration), release level (Lifecycle state), modified_by (username), modified_on (date & time), etc... on our ECAD drawings and/or the other derived files that will be delivered for manufacturing PCBs.

In the MCAD integrations, the list of Attributes being shared can be customised with the so-called "download delegate", ie. com.ptc.windchill.uwgm.proesrv.c11n.ModeledAttributesDelegate, once it is declared as a Service in site.xconf as described in several of the Admin' manuals for using Windchill with Creo-Parametric, SolidWorks, etc.  The nice thing about this method is that the "download delegate" is a single file on the server and is triggered to run by WGM Upload events (or at least the second Upload...), and this even updates Attribute values in MCAD files in session.

In the manual "PTC Windchill® Workgroup Manager™ for ECAD® Administrator’s and User’s Guide" there is a section titled "Configuring Attributes and Parameters", which looks like it has just been copied from the MCAD application manuals in error.

I understand that ECAD Board and Schematic designs are sets of files that get ZIPed up to become the attachments on ECAD Documents in Windchill, whereas MCAD design files are attached one-by-one to CAD Documents, so the same mechanism is unlikely to work unless there is a way to add Attributes to the ZIP file, and then somehow pass them onto the design files when they are being edited in the WGM.

Alternatively, the 'ECAD derived documents' may be a better place to look for a solution to this problem, as the attachments on them, such as PDF files, may be more accessible. I am aware of the possibility of using watermarks that are updated on PDFs following a lifecycle state change, and the existence of some 3rd party utilities for working with customised watermarks.  There would also seem to be some good possibilities for adding and editing Attributes (ie. custom properties on PDFs, as described in many webpages, eg.  http://developers.itextpdf.com/question/how-add-delete-retrieve-information-pdf-using-custom-propert...)

If there is a solution with PDFs, then I think it might also be used instead of ZIP files for packages in data delivery, since it is possible to add file attachments to a PDF file (as described on : http://blogs.adobe.com/insidepdf/2010/11/pdf-file-attachments.html ) and use it like an electronic parcel not just an electronic piece of paper !

Has anyone made anything like this work with any ECAD applications, especially Mentor Graphics (Expedition, Design Capture, DxDesigenr), or Creo-Schematics ?

thanks in anticipation,

Nick

3 REPLIES 3
pcox
2-Guest
(To:NickD)

Nick, I'm assuming you're using Workgroup Manager for this?  I've looked for something similar too, but haven't found a solution.  Would be very interested in seeing if there is an easy way to accomplish this.  My attempts have been to look at hooks while checking in, to pull version, name, etc and update the design attributes before actually zipping up the content and loading it into the CAD Doc.

~ Pat

NickD
7-Bedrock
(To:pcox)

In another discussion thread "ECAD related Document Types ECAD Neutral"

https://community.ptc.com/t5/3D-Part-Assembly-Design/ECAD-related-Document-Types-ECAD-Neutral/td-p/7...

there is a link to Scott Claes' 2013 PTC Live Global presentation in which he described the ECAD Data Model in v10.x, with this diagram :

ECAD Doc Structure - from S.Claes 2013.PNG

As I understand it, the secondary attachments and/or viewables for ECAD Documents are typically (if not always...) created on the client-side during check-in, so I think that means there aren't any server-side publishing or republishing events to intercept or trigger from Promotion workflows that could update the secondary attachments or viewables, unless an ECAD cadworker is built to provide server-side publishing for the ECAD application(s) as well. I'm not sure yet what happens to ECAD Documents and Derived Documents when they are Promoted using our existing workflows, so I will need to do some tests to find out.

 

Is it possible for the Windchill server to republish the PDFs that may be attached as shown above (using a content definition on the ECAD-Schematic) or as primary content on an additional ECAD Derived document (in place of the Gerber.ZIP file shown above), without a cadworker by using some other kind of document worker ?

 

Or to put it another way, can a PDF attachment on an ECAD Derived document be treated as a source file and used to generate a representation/viewable ?

 

Another idea we had was to make a windchill_attributes.txt file in the PCB and SCH design folders and keep them exposed as secondary attachments by using content definitions on each of the two main ECAD Documents.  These text files could presumably have their file content updated by Hooks during check-in, but could they also be updated with information from Promotion workflows ?  If so, then that might provide a way to pass some Windchill Attributes back into the ECAD files during editing.

NickD
7-Bedrock
(To:NickD)

Please see my latest posting on the topic of over-staming PDFs from ECAD for a solution :

What are the differences between Watermarks and Stamps on PDFs ?

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