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Having a single "Material" Business Object in Windchill

Having a single "Material" Business Object in Windchill

For being able to manage material in an homogeneous way in all modules of Windchill:

- Soft typable, Versionnable, Searchable, Lifecycle manageable to able to manage it as any other Windchill obejct.

- Should be able to Structure Material object to be able to represent Alloys or composite.

- being able to define mechanical , chemical and others characteristics

- Usable in Workgroupmanagers for storing CAD material files and search in in Libraries (more than one library.  not only one path like in

- usable to affect material to WTPart

- usable in Reporting with Bill of material and other Windchill modules (cost, mass, material repartition, ROHS, REACH, etc ...)

-searcheable to able to search WTart or CADDocument using this material

-material should be searchable also in Classification search (Material have to be classifiable himself.  to be able to create a "Material Library" with classified objects)

-able to see reference link to a material from a CAD or WTPart



This concept exists for most of major accounts (aeronautic, automotive.... OEMs)

It is implemented ootb in some competitors PLM


Catia V5 workgroupmanager has more features than ProE one  :

from the release notes of pdmlink 10.0

CATIA V5 users can now manage their CATIA Material and supporting image files in Windchill.

The CATIA Material can be made available to users through the CATALOG that can also be managed in Windchill.


When a CATIA Material is assigned to a CATIA model that is stored in Windchill, a ‘Material’ type reference

dependency relationship is created and maintained in Windchill between the CATIA Material and the CATIA Model.

The dependency relation in Windchill enables CATIA V5 users to search for all Parts that are assigned a specific material.


I agree with the idea, we need this asap because materials are fundamental. Its quite annoying to only have the ptc_material_name attribute published up and its really irritating that we cant lock down material assignment to company std materials. We certainly would also hope that we can choose to assign material at wtpart level or creo level. We will want a ui that aids basic materials seLection/comparison based on material properties over multiple domains.

Has anyone used the Granta materials selector for this problem?


interresting ... there's a Teamcenter integration ... but not for Windchill ...


Seems to have a Windchill integration now .... may be PTC can now buy Granta 😉


It should also work consistently for Options Modeler and Options & Variants.  Currently, there are problems using non-each units of measure in Creo Options Modeler that do not show up as problems in Options & Variants.  There are some other technical issues trying to create "make from" relationships using the current UsageLink as the only realistic option I am currently aware of in the Windchill bill of material for a part that "uses" raw material.


This idea is already 3 years old and still no comment from PTC. I wonder if something is coming in 10.3?

We have decided such problem by creating soft-type Material from WTPart and by developing couple of interfaces for assigning materials and for searching materials. Thus, our materials can be:

- classified,

- assigned to part structuries, Creo assembly structures, Creo details, Windchill parts, Process plans

Information about assigned materials can be displayed into drawings, BOM reports etc.

Material could be single, composite and specimen (blank).


Hi Denis

We have also done this kind of cutomization by sub typing the EPMDocument.  We are able to store MTL creo material files and use them directly from creo.

the EPMDoc material sub type hold seeral attributes like young modulus, volumic mass or different designations for the materilal ...

and create a custom drop down list to be able to choose the "same" material list from WTpart wizards . cause in some case we do not use CAD or do not put material in CAD.

As creo does not maintain a real "business link" between material and the part. we only handle it as an attribute. and does not display it in the WTpart BOM as a "made from" link.  even if it is an interesting feature


Hi Albert

Agree for Option Modeler and Option & Variants.  We use it quite intensively for some of our products.

Can you give me the technical issue about your "make from usage link" ?

Cause I think as for you. I absolutly want to distinguish a manufacturing BOM usage link to a Raw material (which is a normal Part with it's own material composition), from the material herself (which is just a "chemical/physical" description )

a question .  what about surface treatment ?  how do you manage it ?


Hi, Gregory! You "stole" our idea. Your data model is exactly like our. The difference is in soft type, and, I guess, in some user interfaces.


Please, do not forget about resource of material in MPMLink.


Hi Dimitry

can you explain your case for MPM ressources ? I don't understand for MPM resources

cause in my case "material" is the "physical and chemical" composition of the WTpart (Article). Not the Material with the same sense as "material master" in SAP for example.

For me , a WTpart is "made of" a material.  Which is different from the BOM usage link that mean "made from" (for example a finished WTpart is "made from" a child raw WTpart)

MPM resources are tools or skill that are used to manufacture a Wtpart,   The ressources (notably tools) can be themself WTPart (today an equivalence link between MPMRessource and WTpart - hope one day PTC will merge both objects),  themself made of a material...

Hi Gregory,

Dmitry means the process materials, which are assigned to operations into MPMLink Process plans. These process materials are used to perform MPMLink operation. It's OOTB objects resource with OOTB category "Process materials". The examples of such material are coolant, welding environment, etc. In our decision all objects of the material are created with usage of special wizard. He asks to extend the funcionality of this wizard. It's our internal talk. I can explain You more, if You are interested in.

Concerning your hope, I guess it's impossible to change data model.


Ah OK ...

in our case, will probably be managed as in my previous post. like a WTpart equivalent to the material ressource....  and the WTpart will hold the "made of" material....

PTC have already done this kind of data model merge in previous release.  like WTproduct and WTpart to get a single WTPart with "end item" attribute. ...

but in this case, "easy " .  no need to update the model ... MPMRessources are already subtypes of WTpart ...


Just no sense that we have to create 2 business objects for the same need in the same system ...  (.Today, we have done a customization that for each WTpart that we create and classify as a "tool" , create automatically the MPMressource tool and the equivalence link !  to avoid users creating twice the tool ....)

Concerning data model... Resource is not soft-type of WTPart, but hard-type...

Concerning "create automatically the MPMressource tool and the equivalence link ! ". Automatical creation MPMResource may cause some problems in business processes like "approval process" or "request for tool", imho. Do You use such processes?  Did You get such problems (or questions on such problems)?

Gregory, is it correct to discuss MPMresource questions in Your idea about materials?



we can opne another thread about MPM ressources

In fact we consider only the approval of the WTpart tool ... the equivalent MPMressource is only for us  "a technical homolog object" need in MPM process plan ...  we totally synchronise lifecycle , etc from the WTPart to the MPMRessources.  For us it is the Same object   (like in SAP)


Hello Greg

not seen anything about Windchill but this video from Granta was done with Creo

I am not that familiar with MIM (Material Information Management) system but this one seems to be quite powerfull.


Hello Chris

Thanks .  Have seen Granta guys rapidly at PTC Live.

We will organize a demo meeting with them to see Windchill integration.  Notably the "bridge" between Creo mtl Files, CAD Docs and WTparts ... (if exists)

only know that few peoples in our Organization already use another product from Granta. The one for "helping in material choice" .


Regular Member


In Schneider Electric we are facing the same situation with materials.

This issue actually agregates with another one related to color variants : typical example emergency push buttons that can have a plastic cap made of more than 20 different colors.

In this case we want to manage a single CAD design for the prt and the asm, while having 20 different WTParts and BOMs for each color.

Then the material used in CAD must be consistent and representative of the different colors used in the plastic material specification of the different BOMs.

We are also seeing little value in managing color variants with Creo Option Modeller. It can definitively be a topic for WIndchill Options and variants but we strongly expect to manage a single CAD design in such a case.

We think Creo Option Modeller is more valuable for assembly variants that have geometrical variations in the components.

I am curious to know wether this one CAD to many WTParts is faced by others and how it may impact your material approach.

Thanks for yoru answers,



Hello Philippe,

depending of the different business in our group : jewellry, exeterior watchmaking , and movement ,

we manage the material directly in CAD (so we are 1 to 1 between CAD and WTpart), or exclusively in WTpart (we are 1 to n between CAD and Wtpart)

In our case , where we are 1 to many ... we manage material and colour in the same way  (only handle on Wtpart side)

this idea is to, regardless of the methodology   (material in CAD or material in WTpart), having a homogensous way to manage and choose the material.

(and same issue for colour, surface coating ....)

We try to use Creo option modeler with the one CAD to many WTpart (for the same use case you describe : assembly variants that have geometrical variations in the components )

for us, the 2  mains problems are not necessary due to the mult owner link :

1- we are a Stock to order Business.  need to create each BOM instances of Finished Products (notably for ERP reasons).  And Creo Option modeler/Windchill Platform Option&Variant does not update correctly the generated instances (Windchill BOMs or Creo Assy)

2- when geometrical variations impacts the prt quantiites (our typicall case: prt assembled on a repeat region that increase the number of holes depending of the size of a ring... )

As we are in the same region.  May be we can meet ourselves to talk deeply around this topic ?

best regards



Hi Phillipe

While I see your point (why creating a CAD file for each colour), I have a different approach.

apart of the time it takes for your designers/draftpeople to create the CAD: what is the inconvenient in having a CAD file for each colour ?

This will not overload your server.

It is so easy and quick to generate very similar CAD using various programming tool that I see more advantages to having a CAD file for each colour than trying solve the issue the way you describe it.

In addition, having a CAD for each colour is a definitive advantage for visualisation.

In the past, we needed a lot of data for a User Acceptance Testing on product search capabilities. Defining a set of parameters (over 200 (not all application at the same time !!!) was not enough for people who never used PDM and parameters to understand the benefits.

My team wrote a script in Weblink. It took about 2 days to decide how to structure the data we wanted to make available and to write the code, we needed to set a few templates for each component/assembly type).  After that, it took about 60min to generate nearly 10 000 3D models having the appropriate parameters.

The UAT was a success as people could play with the new system and data very similar to what they would be using after go live (except it would take them a lot more than 60min to generate 10 000 production models lol)

I would expect Schneider Electric to have people with the required skills to program and automate many tasks so what seems an issue as being too much manual hard work is no longer an issue.

Regular Member

Hello Chris,

Thanks for your comments.

We have actually considered using a 1 to 1 approach with as many CAD models - and I agree that it is nice to show the real color in 3D.

The only difference is that we have only considered an approach without toolkits or customisations. Your point is interesting as it sounds like a small development.

Actually the decision is not made yet and we are working on it.

So far we considered only functionalities such as Family Tables (does not sustain different color display for each instance) or Inheritances (sustains a different color for each variant). and the productivity to create each color variant would be acceptable. But we were afraid of the possible productivity impacts when carrying out a design change to the whole family (would be fine with Family Table but slow with Inheritances). It seems even more difficult with the assemblies as Inheritances are not available in assemblies.

Last, when revising objects within a Change Notice in PDMLink, how to gather all BOM and CAD variants that go along ? For the inherictances, the links can be browsed, but how do you deal with assemblies ?

Possibly, I would expect the color applied to the 3D is based on the material choosen, and the material between 3D and WTPart to be perfectly aligned. Our original thought was that Creo no longer uses mtl file but rather would be able to point at a material object in the PDM material database and propagate automatically to the WTPart. Have you adressed those points as well ?

I am looking forward reading your answer,


Regular Member

Hello Gregory,

Thanks for your answer.

In your 1 to many approach, how are you managing the mass properties in the CAD ? If I had really different materials in a dynamic mechanism (ex gold, steel, titanium) I would expect to have 3 different CAD models because their momentum, acceleration and forces would be different.

We were considering this approach only for nuances of a similar material (example red / blue / green colors of the same plastic) but not for heterogenous materials.

In our approach, we were considering that each model with varied geometry (different size, different number of patterns) we would manage a number for each geometry. We have a Configure To Order business model in some of our Business Units that requires to regenerate the geometry based on order parameters for each order but this is another story : we are first trying to answer Assembly to Order variants.

And we are not yet using Creo Option Modeller : we are intersted in it, but it seemed quite complex, and my first impression was that it is missing many automations to have a full benefit of automated interference and measure checks.

I agree to meet - Would April be convenient ?

I am looking forward reading your answer,