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WTPart numbering: autonumber vs. manual?


WTPart numbering: autonumber vs. manual?

We are about to start creating WTParts and will be primarily generating them from Creo parts and assemblies. Our item/part numbering system is based on our ERP system, i.e. cad models and cad documents in Windchill use the 10 digit number from ERP as both the filename and number fields (with file extension... 1234.prt).

The question I have is how to Number our WTParts. Our consultant is recommending to leave the autonumber function in place and creat a new attribute field in the WTPart for the item/part number (which would then be manually populated with the corresponding ERP number). I can come up with several reasons I do not like this approach, and very few ideas on why this may be best (the consultant said flexibility was the main reason to go this way).

Reasons I think this may not work well:

- the WTPart Number attribute becomes useless information at this point and would be best to just be hidden from view, unfortunately all the default search and display screens use Number

- multiple WTParts could be created for the same Item since the WTPart Number field is automatically unique for every new one created, but the Item/Part Number attribute would not have that control

- doing a WTPart to CAD Compare is very odd since the WTPart side shows the autogenerated number while the CAD side shows the actual part numbers

I could list more, but those are some of the main ones.

So what am I missing? My consultant says every one of their customers does it the way they are recommending to us.


We have our system configured to allow for both. If the WTParts are auto created by auto-associating to the CAD doc, then they pick up the number from the CAD doc.

Alternatively, the users can create an auto numbered WTPart and name the CAD doc accordingly.

If we have to use a client numbering system , then users can create a manually numbered WTPart of required.

For in-house numbering all part numbers are generated automatically in Windchill.

A customer has a similar issue. They are a contract manufacturing firm that also does design work. This is what we did for them.

The admin uses an ERP interface to "take" a large block of numbers (10,000 at a time). The sequence counter for Windchill is then set to issue numbers from this range. These are the "suggested" numbers that are given to the user, and get populated as the number, name, and file name.

The users, however, are only told to pay attention to the name and file name. If they are doing work for a customer that requires the use of customer part numbers, the name and file name get changed.

So, the number is always unique in both Windchill and the ERP system (because they were reserved from the ERP system, they will not be assigned any other usage), but not every number gets used. There would be some concern about uniqueness if part numbers are entered in the ERP system without a record being created in Windchill, but that is a process issue. Otherwise, by making sure that both number and name need to be unique in Windchill, we can also guarantee that we will not create duplicate part numbers, even when working with customer data.

I don't think that creating a "item number" attributes is a good idea. As out of the box, the number of the WTPart is the standard unique primary key . And as you say, the most exposed attribute in Windchill

And the WTPart is clearly the PLM side twin of the ERP Item. So it should be the same number in both system

You can configure your Windchill in OIR's to allow manual or automatic numbering (for example based on a subtype or folder ...).

And for better integration, you can customize your own number generator (for example a webservice, depending of your ERP capabilities) to pick the number directly in the ERP sequence.

Or resolve it just by process. If your need is to build WTpart BOM from CAD, then publish it to ERP . The PLM becomes the ERP number generator ...

It's not a good idea to create extra attribute to store just the partnumber. Making the WTPart numbering schema manually do not require much efforts. Also it would maintain uniformity between you cad models and associated WTPart if you could choose the same number for both.

It's a basic principal of PLM even Windchill people recommends to follow.

If you manage your association between the cad docs and the WTPart smartly and choose appropriate link between them the second bullet you mentioned would no more problem.

Agree with Gregory, as the solution for this would largely depend on the process that you are to implement. If the parts/BOMs are created in PLM first, then the PLM numbers can continue as ERP item numbers.

I know its a very old post, so what solution did you end up implementing??