Here's a bit of background to supplement my main question.
I work for a small engineering/technology company that has settled upon PTC/Creo/Windchill as its CAD/PDM solution. Due to our size, I've had to assume the role of Windchill admin, and while I have eight years of experience from the user side of Creo/Windchill (ProE/Intralink) from my previous company, I'm currently lacking most of the database, programming, and IT knowledge necessary to competently administrate.
One of the reasons we ended up choosing PTC as our solution for CAD/PLM was our reseller's insistence that we could integrate our semi-intelligent part numbering system into Windchill and have it handle the generation of part numbers. Now that we've had the "roll out" and I've had time to pour through PTC Help Center, PTC Community, and all the reference documents, I'm realizing this might be a bit more difficult than originally expressed to us.
Our part numbering isn't overly complex. We a (2) alpha character prefix followed by a (5) digit incremental number (examples: PA10001, PA10002, RP10001, RP10002). With my naive understanding of the backend of Windchill, I envisioned work status ("in work", "released", "obsolete", etc) and soft types ("part", "assembly", "drawing", "ecad", etc) dictating the prefix nomenclature and then Windchill incrementing the number portion.
My question(s) is basically .... is this possible? If not is there something close to this that would work? Does anyone use Windchill for part number control in a non-"out of the box" configuration? If they do, how is it implemented?
The documentation I've found through PTC hasn't been the most helpful or provide the depth an admin with my lack of experience would need, but please point me in the direction of any helpful literature.
MS SQL Server 2014 SP1
Welcome! I think we all started there and you will do just fine. To answer your question, you can implement a part numbering system with Windchill. How smart the number could be depends on how much time you want to spend on configuration/customization and how easy it would be for your users to follow.
As you have figured out by now, all the objects you store in Windchill are stored as types.Most commonly used types are EPMDocuments(All CAD, ECAD), WTDocument(Pretty you can store anything as WTdocuments - office document, pdfs), WTParts(Gear icon objects that represents a part which you source or make) and so on. You can even create subtypes under each of the main types as well. This is managed from Type and Attribute Manager in Site > Utilities. Each of the types can have its own set of attributes(data fields), numbering scheme, lifecycle states( work status as you said) , Access control policies.
When you talk about numbering scheme, you can have a running sequence for each of the types and of course you can have a static prefix or suffix in your numbering. This is controlled by Object Initialization Rule(OIR). OIRs are defined in a XML with element tags for each of the properties of the type that should be used while an object of a type is created. You can download the OIR xml, make modifications and upload it back to server from Object Initialization Rules administrator under utilities. Apart from numbering, you can define a bunch of other properties as well, like which life cycle template it should use, folder location where the object should be created and so on.
Now coming back to numbering, this is a sample OIR section that defines numbering. The numbers are pulled from Sequence in SQL server and define where it should start and how you want to increment it. If you don't want to use an existing sequence, you can create your own sequence. An entry similar to the one below will give numbers in this format PCS-00001, here xx_TEST_SEQ is my sequence in SQL/Oracle, the sequence is 5 digits with padding 0 and I have "PCS-" as prefix.
Also remember most of the settings in Windchill can be set it different administration levels, Site, Organization or Product or Libraryand follows a hierarchical order Anything you set in prod/library level would override org or site. Hope his helps.
Since you are working with a re-seller, most of the re-sellers offer Windchill Business Administration Instructor Led training session, I would recommend enrolling in one of them. These session include hands on on a training VM which will give you an opportunity to play with the setting without messing with your production or test systems.
Thanks for the in depth and thorough reply Binesh! I think I follow the overall process of implementation you explained, but I'm not quite sure I fully understand all the specifics. I'd like to take the information you've provided and play around in Winchill to see if I can work it out, but I'm a bit apprehensive that I might make an irreversible, catastrophic mistake. Any areas I should be particularly weary of? We don't have anything in our Windchill database yet other than the out of the box setup and a few projects.
You should set up a secondary system to do your development/testing on so you know what you are doing when it comes time to modify the production system.
A word of note on sequence numbers in the DB. These sequences are cached and increment by 1 only if they have been used recently. Otherwise, they jump to the next 10X number and then by 1's until the next pause.
At 9:50, you create 3 new parts and auto number. They come in as PA00050, PA00051, PA00052. Then you work on them and at 3:30, you need one more. It comes in as PA00060. (Assuming no one else has taken a part number between yours.)
This is sequence caching and it is enabled by default in the Oracle DB, not sure of SQLServer. If you must have totally sequential numbers, then you need to disable the caching of your sequence so the 3:30 part gives PA00053.
Numerous articles written on the subject of sequence caching:
Search the PTC Community for Sequence caching and you will see lots of hits.
One other thing I noticed is different prefixes; PA and RP. If they are different sub-types of documents, then each can have its own OIR and everything will work fine. If the prefixes are for a common document type, then I am not sure how to do that in a single OIR.
Welcome to the depths of WIndchill. Lots of people here will answer your questions.