SOLIDWORKS Costing an in-depth Review Part 5 – Task Pane, Manager, and Sensors

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This month, we have been delving into SOLIDWORK Costing. You may be intimidated at first by trying to learn something new. However, if it is going to help you to save time and development costs while increasing your productivity, it is well worth the effort up front. SOLIDWORKS Costing is a great tool and is very easy to learn. In this part of our blog series, we will consider the Costing Task Pane, the CostingManager, and the Costing Sensors.

Costing Task Pane

The most useful thing about SOLIDWORKS Costing is that you can determine how much it is going to cost you to manufacture your part. To make this possible, you have to set up your real life numbers for SOLIDWORKS to use in its calculations. To see this in action, let's open up the Costing Task Pane. With a part document open, make sure that Task Pane is checked in the View pull-down menu. Then, go to Tools > SOLIDWORKS Applications > Costing. The Costing Task Pane will appear on the right side of the SOLIDWORKS window.

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The Costing Task Pane allows you to set the input values for determining the cost of manufacturing a sheet metal, machined, weldment, or custom part. The Method pull-down menu allows you to change the type of component that you want to calculate. The Task Pane will change based on the method that you choose, whether you choose Machining, Casting, Plastic, 3D Printing, Structural Member or Sheet Metal. The Costing tools works with both single body parts and multibody parts. Note: Future blog articles in this series will go into further detail of these individual Task Panes. In this article, we are just giving an overview of the Task Pane.

Once a method is chosen in the Costing Task Pane, you are allowed to pick which template that you want to use, either one of the defaults or your own. Our previous blog article in this series has more information about templates.

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In the Costing Task Pane for Machining, you can see that you can specify the Material, a specific material cost, and the stock body size. The last options allow you to manage additional costs, such as the total number of parts that you want to manufacture, shop rate per hour, and any markup or discount percentages. Every time you make a change to one of the options, the Estimated Cost Per Part at the bottom of the Costing Task Pane updates. This is a great way to instantly see what effect your changes have on the cost of the Material and Manufacturing. Note that there is a Current cost and the Previous cost value. This allows you to quickly figure out the exact difference in cost of your latest change.

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CostingManager

When you go to Tools > SOLIDWORKS Applications > Costing, the CostingManager tab appears in the SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager tree. The CostingManager breaks down the individual setups and machining operations that are required to manufacture the part. The Costing tool analyzes the models features, like holes and faces, in order to identify how the geometry will be manufactured. Making changes in the Costing Task Pane also updates certain operations in the CostingManager.

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Applying Cost Overrides

SOLIDWORKS gives you the ability to add a cost override to any item in the tree. It is very simple to do. In the CostingManager, right-click an item to override and click Apply Cost Override. Note that you can also just double-click a cost value to override.

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Type the desired cost value and press Enter. The item now appears in italics with an asterisk to indicate that the cost is overridden from the template. In the Costing Task Pane, the Estimated Cost Per Part is updated using the new cost value.

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To edit or remove a cost override, right-click an item and click Edit Cost Override or Remove Cost Override. You can also right-click a folder in the CostingManager and click Remove All Custom Overrides.

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Moving Operations to the No Cost Assigned Folder

Another nice feature of SOLIDWORKS Costing is that you can move an operation so that no cost is assigned to it. This is helpful when you want to remove a line item from the estimated cost to manufacture the part. Consider this example. The Costing tool identifies pockets and holes individually to manufacture with the appropriate tools. But say that you have a special tool that allows you to manufacture a collection of pockets and holes with one operation. To use this special tool, you would charge a cost for the collection of features. In the CostingManager, then, you can assign that cost to one of the features. The rest of the features would not need to have specific costs. So, you can just move them into the No Cost Assigned folder.

Another example that you would want to move operations would be if that if your base part already contains a feature that is cast prior to manufacturing. So, this feature would need to be excluded from your costing calculations. This feature would need to be moved into the No Cost Assigned folder.

To move a feature, simply right-click an item and click No Cost.

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The item moves to the No Cost Assigned folder. The item appears in italics with an asterisk to indicate an override and has a cost of zero. You can also just drag and drop items into the No Cost Assigned folder. Note: You CANNOT drag and drop items from the No Cost Assigned folder back into any folders in the CostingManager.

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Working in the CostingManager

We just covered the cost portion. But you can also pick the Show Time button to see how long each operation will take.

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Click Show Cost to return the display of the CostingManager to the cost values.

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As we all know, there are multiple ways to do the same thing in SOLIDWORKS. The same is true with SOLIDWORKS Costing. There are different ways that you can control items in the CostingManager. As previously described, you can drag and drop items into other valid locations in the CostingManager. Selecting items works the same as it does in the SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager tree. Using the Ctrl and Shift keys on your keyboard, you can multiselect items in the CostingManager to apply a common option to the selected items. Some customers have machines that can make parts with fewer setups. To accommodate this, you can move items between various Setup folders. Another option you have that you do not want to forget about is that you can use the keyboard arrows to navigate the CostingManager. When you right-click a folder in the CostingManager, you can Expand All or Collapse All.

Costing Sensors

The last topic we will cover is Costing Sensors. The Costing Sensors can be used to track material, manufacturing, and total part cost. You even have the ability to set an alert if the cost exceeds a specified value. The process to create a costing sensor is very straight forward. In the FeatureManager design tree, right-click the Sensors folder and click Add Sensor.

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In Sensor Type, select Costing Data for the Sensor Type. In Data Quantity, select one of the choices: Total Cost, Material Cost, or Manufacturing Cost.

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To set an alert that notifies you when cost value deviates from your set limit, check the Alert option. You can choose from is greater than, is less than, is exactly, is not greater than, is not less than, is not exactly, is between, or is not between. Finally pick the numeric value that will trigger the alert.

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The sensor that you set up will appear in the Sensors folder in the FeatureManager design tree. Note that the sensor value will automatically update when the costing data is updated.

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We hope this series gives you some good insight into the SOLIDWORKS Costing product. Please check back to the CATI Blog as the Dedicated Support Team will continue posting new articles to this series as we continue to dive deep into this topic. All of these articles will be stored in the category of Daily Dose…..of SOLIDWORKS Support and links to each article with their release date are listed below:

Neil Bucalo, CSWP, CSWS-MD
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.
www.cati.com