ENOVIA SmarTeam – AutoCAD
infostrait consultants have automated dozens of engineering offices with ENOVIA SmarTeam, and understand the specific “in’s and out’s”. Characteristics of these projects are: specialized interfaces with CAD applications, Xref use and management, links between drawings, parts and assemblies, organizational issues, cultural factors and the always difficult import of existing drawings with different and / or obsolete sizes and title blocks.
Manage drawings and Xref’s
Complications in the management of drawings occur when drawings are composed of different types of drawings. For example: an assembly drawing is a set of working drawings and Xref’s. A structured and phased approach in this case brings the necessary clarity for all concerned.
Step 1a: Prepare definitions of relevant drawings
The management plans should be tailored to the role and nature of the various types of drawings. First, a distinction is made between the types:
- Xref (“External reference” or external models)
An xref is a usually a graphics file (AutoCAD, Image, DXF, etc.), which is used by an organization as a basis for the final product. For example: a map with all the locks, existing buildings or a route. These files are stored centrally so that all engineers can base their work and production drawings on those xrefs.
- Working Drawing
A working drawing is placed on top of an Xref and describes a new object, which belongs geographically to the underlying basic drawing (Xref). For example: a new lock or bridge is placed on top of an existing map with roads and ditches.
- Production Drawing (total product composition or drawing)
In the design process the desired working drawing (s) and / or Xref (s) are frozen and approved. This creates a valid blueprint. Most organizations designate such as frozen drawing as the deliverable of the engineering department.
Step 1b: Definition and harmonization of methods
Good management of Xref, working drawings and production drawings requires an alignment of the desired working method. Again, the definitions are important, this time from the different work phases:
- Dynamic phase
This is the stage where the creation of a (composite) production drawing is in progress (before the review, approval and freezing of the production drawing).
- Review phase
In this phase a (composite) blueprint is “temporarily frozen” and undergoing a review (audit) process.
- Static phase
This is the stage where a (compound) production drawing has been approved. The drawing should absolutely not be changed any more.
Step 2: Decide on management procedures
After defining the types of drawings and the working phases, a decision should be taken regarding the revision control of drawings. Of course revisions and status of work and production drawings need to be tracked. For Xref’s, this is not necessary. There are a number of options which the two most common are the following:
- No revision management of Xref’s
Xref’s have no status, but are always “revision-less” or “the sole and active version”. There are no marked revisions. Revision based on storage date are regarded as non-acceptable, because a new storage date says nothing about the possible adaptation of an Xref.
In this situation it means that during the review phase one up to date status overview of all the Xref’s in a production drawing is missing. With manual processes and / or some technical tools that disadvantage is largely removed, but it is indirectly status management of Xref’s and therefore is no foolproof method. Another major disadvantage is that no old versions are kept, so there is no reuse of knowledge can take place.
- Revision Management Xref’s (in dynamic and review stages)
Xref have status and revision management. This means that of all the Xref’s statuses are immediately visible / clear. During the review or approval process, this information may be used to produce a drawing which can be disapproved.
If properly designed, this solution offers a comprehensive and direct management of Xref’s. In many organizations, however, this will turn out to be a new approach, which should be properly and carefully introduced.
The description of these solutions is not complete, but offers a first foothold. There are several advantages and disadvantages to appoint, and there are multiple possible procedures for each possible solution. It is also important whether – and when – drawings are “bound” (combined into one drawing). Besides previously mentioned solutions, TechniaTranscat has got less frequently used solutions available as well.
Managing Xref’s is a crucial factor for the functionality and success of drawing management. Revision Management of Xref’s is the most beautiful and best solution from an information management perspective. This does not mean that it simply is the right solution for every organization.
For more information about this topic please contact us.
The above information can also be downloaded as a pdf-file (in Dutch):
Management of drawings and Xref’s