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Importing and Exporting from Windchill


Importing and Exporting from Windchill

This process seems simple enough, but in Windchill it’s a nightmare. Here are the problems I get:

-I try to keep the instances out of my workspace for performance reasons. When I export from workspace, Windchill brings in every instance. My workspace goes from 2000 objects to 8000 objects. I have a custom view, that allows me to delete them faster, but this is time I don’t have.

-Import to workspace doesn’t work. It doesn’t recognize that the family table parts of the same name are in fact, the same parts.

-Importing deletes everything from session. It seems that the Pro/E core must be used to determine parent-child relationships.

-Some of the assemblies have hundreds or thousands of parts. This process is very slow. I have had this process take a week and as many as 23 premature exits in one day.

-If someone at my company renames the generic of a family table, I get incurable name conflicts and premature exits.

-If someone at my company creates one of the parts with the same name, I can’t rename my supplier’s part.

-to rename a part, I have to set my session to work offline with no server, rename the part, connect back to the server, and then save. This takes 20 minuets! 17 of the 20 minuets is just me staring at the hour glass.

-Once I have all of the models in my workspace I have to get rid of all of the name conflicts. Sometimes I use update, sometimes add works. Sometimes I have to delete all the instances, and then updates. I have thousands of these stupid name conflicts and each one need its own special attention.

-Some secret relations are created between parts. These cannot be found in the relationship viewer and are not ghost objects. It sometimes thinks that two totally unrelated parts must be checked in together. Sometimes I have to check-in parts that I would otherwise delete.

I am supposed to be a manager, providing technical guidance, not a Windchill-rat’s-nest-detangler. Of course it would be easier to have the supplier on our Windchill server, but that is not an option at the moment. Plus, they would hate me if I spread this curse to them.

Does anyone else work on large assemblies with and outside vender? If you could help me with any one of these problems I would appreciate it.

I am using Windchill PDMLink 9.1 with WF4 M110. We don’t use WTParts. Our network is a little slow


Here is some more background on what I am dealing with on a daily basis:

I use an offsite CAD service provider that creates Pro/E drawings for me. They convert a lot of 2D hand drawings. I send them a lot of family table parts, such as hardware through an FTP site. They create the drawings and models, and then send them back.

I eventually get the files into my workspace and check them in. The assemblies range in size from a few parts to 1500. The top level assemblies are about 4000 parts, but I don’t send these out.

You've got a lot of topics here so let me take a stab at it. Others please join in. There is a TPI on importting data into a workspace that predates the"Import to Workspace" functionality. I've documented this internally for my users but basically it follows Pro/E load order. First identify anything in the assembly that you know has not changed (like FT hardware). Remove them from the folder leaving ONLY new or modifed files. Load the top level drawing or assembly. You can use a search path for the questionable items or items you know have not changed. Pro/E will load all models if finds from that folder and ASSUME they are modified. If it cannot find a model, it will pull from Windchill. Next it will look at search paths. This will avoid the 8000 items in the workspace (all instances).

For family tables, please see my video on reducing large family tables. It explains a lot.

I've been playing with the workspace import more and more but I am not an expert. I know that it removes all items from session. That is by design. Same is true for switching workspaces. I remember a few PLMs asking my opinion on this matter many years ago. It simplifies the number of use cases to deal with and issues that can arise when bringing data in. I do believe that the options in the workspace import allow you to sift through the items you are bringing in but accepting defaults is not working out for you.

You might want to look into offline workspaces for your supplier. I have not used them but they are a way of taking data out and disconnecting for a while.

As for ghost, watch out for suppressed components, renames and external references. Drawings will keep a hold on old names, expecially assembly drawings. There is a conflict option, cleanup_drawing_dependencies that will allow you to remove them but only when bringing in the drawing from an outside folder. It will remove all missing references but you get no ghosts. Watch out for purple dimensions and missing leaders.

Here is the link to the FT video: Video Link : 1672

Here are my steps for bringing in Pro/E data:

  1. If there are CAD files that you are modifying that already exist in PDMLink, ensure that those are downloaded and checked out to the current Workspace.
  2. Put the CAD files you wish to bring into the workspace (new or modified) in a new folder on your hard drive. Backup works well to ensure the dependents are moved as well.
  3. Create a subfolder in this new folder.
  4. Move all CAD files except top level parent files or items that you know are new or modfied to that subfolder. This hides the common or questionable models from the retrieval process.
  5. Erase all models from the Wildfire session.
  6. Open the (Tools - Options) and create a "search_path" entry to the subfolder created in step 3. Apply setting. This is a temporary search path so it does not need to be saved to your local file.
  7. Open and browse to folder in step 2 and open the top level parent files. When Wildfire retrieves the dependents, any file that is in that folder will be loaded. Next it will pull from PDMLink. Any other files will be pulled from the subfolder due to the search path setting.
  8. Save models. This will save them to the workspace. You might see conflict messages about items already being in the workspace. This is ok. What you should look out for is conflicts related to milspec library parts. If you see those cancel the save and mark those models as read-only (Lock). Repeat the save.

It is important to know the Wildfire Retrieval order:

If connected to PDMLink Workspace:

  1. In Session (in memory) - not possible to reload a model once it is in memory.
  2. Directory where parent item was loaded from. If components exist in folder with assembly that is retrieve it is loaded too from that location.
  3. Active PDMLink Workspace
  4. Active PDMLink Server (CommonSpace) - This will cause Wildfire to download and add required model to the Workspace.
  5. Local Working Directory
  6. Search Paths and Pro/Library folders

If not connected to PDMLink workspace but using local drives:

  1. In Session (in memory) - not possible to reload a model once it is in memory.
  2. Directory where parent item was loaded from. If components exist in folder with assembly that is retrieve it is loaded too from that location.
  3. Local Working Directory
  4. Search Paths and Pro/Library folders
5-Regular Member



I experience the same issue with 11.2 Windchill Quality. Bassically I can see each data line transported "by hand" from my excel file to the windchill database. I've 270000 datalines in my excel sheet, containing all information (parentassemblies, part etc....) is extremly slow and unreliable. Looking into the SQL database, it seems like that the whole structure is represented in one single table.....that doesn't seem to be a good relationship (it should be at least two lists all parentassemblies, one lists all parts).


I haven't found a way to write directly the data into the Windchill SQL table (admin.system). There is somewhere a hidden check/relationship I haven't found yet, because if I enter the data in the SQL database and assign it to the project, it doesn't show up in the Windchill application.


Maybe I need to organize my excel sheet in a different form? Is there the need that the tree-structure of the assemblies is already in a certain order/sequence?

Kind regards,


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