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Use of Material Files

21-Topaz II

Use of Material Files

WF4 & WF5

I'd like some feedback on how folks are using material files in Pro/E.
At this point, we do not use any material files in our models for a
variety of reasons. I'm curious how you have overcome these significant

1. There's no obvious indication that a material is assigned to a
model. The only way I've seen to tell (outside of the materials dialog)
is that a PTC_MATERIAL_NAME parameter is created and is restricted to
the value defined in the file.
2. While the material file will set mass properties values, there's
nothing to prevent a user from changing those values. So, if I assign
6061 aluminum to my part, a user can override the density to make it as
heavy as lead and there is no warning and that PTC_MATERIAL_NAME
parameter still says 6061 and the materials dialog still shows that 6061
is assigned. Again, since there's no indication that a material was
assigned to the part, so there's no way for the user to know ahead of

I guess a secondary question would be what value to I get from using
them. I know that I need them for running analysis in Mechanica, but
beyond that I'm not sure what I'd gain. We are not a manufacturing
organization with defined materials in house that we want to use,
although we might get such restrictions from our clients.

This was brought up because a user completed Mechanica training and
wondered about our material library, which is only what we got from PTC.

Doug Schaefer

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Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer

Pro/E Creo has poor methodology for material assignement and definition.

I really reallyreallylike the way Solidworks assigns materials. I wish PTC wouldfollowtheir lead on this...

In Solidworks:

*Right at the top of the model tree is the material is identified.

I resisted mentioning that same Mechanica trainee mentioned how easy it
was in SW ... 😛

Really, this and mass props should be no-brainer easy, that's what solid
modeling is all about. But I've used Pro/E for 15 years and it's never
been easy.

Doug Schaefer
Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer


I just add an Annotation feature with &materialand I can display the note or not as I wish.

Fast, fast....


I use the material definitions as follows:

1) to create the material density value for mass

2) to pass mechanical properties and dimensions (using
DS_ name prefix) to ANSYS Designspace.

3) to populate parameters for material and condition for
drawing info for material and HT condition

I believe that besides Mechanica benefiting from the material info, I
think that the material definition can also set the 'K' value for sheet
metal bending.

I don't see that the materials data is as well integrated or as easy to
use as in SW. For example, the appearance of parts in SW can be
directly dependent on the material type and condition.

You can have a 'cast' material with a cast part color and 'bump map'
finish. This is more than just 'nice' to have, as it gives you instant
feedback on the material and condition applied to a part.

I don't know if you can 'family table' different material callouts in
Pro-E, I don't think so.

Christopher F. Gosnell

FPD Company

124 Hidden Valley Road

McMurray, PA 15317

a mod/step in the right direction, yes.

still doesn't touch solidworks out of the box methodology in my opinion.

yes, in Pro/Creo/fire/engineer you can drive materials with a column in a family table.

ProE materials allow you to define the following in the material file:

* Cross section to apply

* Color to apply

* Highlight amount

* Texture, or color texture to apply

* Transparency, reflection.

* User defined parameters

When you apply the material to the part anything you've set up in the material file is applied. Color, texture, transparency, default cross hatch for section views, etc.

I haven't seen solid works, but the things you listed are there for you to set up in ProE.

David Haigh

I agree with your confusion Doug. The Pro/E material usage is heavy on the Mechanica side, but light on the manufacturing and other use-cases. (I don't want to bring up the units debate) While ideally I would prefer my solid model to be the end-all, be-all of how to make my part, it just won't work since the material is not controlled. This means the definition of my part material relies on an external source that my CAD model cannot access...and may be changed by purchasing without my knowledge.

Ideally I'd want all my 6061-T6 material to be defined and managed based on what we're actually receiving. While I can set up a standard material file for it, once it goes to the part level, it's managed by the part regardless of what my database (or ERP/MRP) says. Even if I can't do anything to the original material file, if I can replace it by a copy of that file that my higher level systems (PDM/ERP/MRP, etc). are not aware of, that means I probably still don't have control of my material files.

Another kicker is that assuming you do set up this 6061-T6 with your standard finish/coating, what happens if I anodize this part green after it's machined? I guess I could have a green 6061-T6 material (and a red, a purple, blue, etc., etc.). Does that mean I have to have a different assembly/Simp Rep./Family Table, etc. for each color of my product?

I hope this doesn't spark a rant or come across as negative. These are just some questions that have bugged me for quite some time and I can't say I understand why I haven't heard more concerns/complaints regarding the material subject.

Joshua Houser| Pelco by Schneider Electric |Buildings & Business| United States| MCAD Tools Administrator


Have to agree that there is a lot of room for improvement in the material files in Pro/E / Creo. We use them to carry parameters, hatch pattern, material characteristicsand forMechanica studies etc..As others have said though,I wish it would lock out the ability to change the density when a material file is assigned (or mess with the settings in the assigned material file). Even if it was a yes/no sort of thing that could be put in a config.sup. Other thing that has bugged me is the fact that while a x-section willuse the hatch pattern associated with the assigned material file (nice), ifa different material is later assigned and has a different hatch pattern, the section doesn't actually update, it keeps using the original material's hatch pattern.I like the idea mentioned here of using a annotation feature to communicate the assigned material file. One thing I've done that has helped our users is create a custom BOM report form - when the users run a BOM report in Pro/E it includes columns for the name of the assigned material file, density and mass of the part. Makes for a quick check of what may be incorrectly set when a mass properties report doesn't seem right.


Wildfire 3 m250, Windows 7


Anybody familiar with QBuild CADLink Software, good/bad experiences?

Its used to integrate ProE with an ERP system, to tie together BOM's,


Walt Weiss

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