SOLIDWORKS Costing an in-depth Review Part 10 – Reports, Adding\Removing Info, Limited Access Templates

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In this SOLIDWORKS Costing series, we have been breaking down each of the functions in the SOLIDWORKS Costing Tool. SOLIDWORKS has provided a very nice and easy tool to help us calculate how much it will cost to manufacture our parts that we design in SOLIDWORKS. SOLIDWORKS Costing takes a look at the geometry and automates the cost estimation and quotation process. In this article, we will take a look at creating reports, adding and removing information, and Limited Access Templates.

Creating Reports

One of the nice features of SOLIDWORKS Costing is that we can create reports of costing results. Not only can we create the reports, but we can customize the report with our company's information and that of our customer. The purpose of the report is to help us to determine how various design decisions impacts the cost of the part we are designing. As designers, we make decisions daily based on how much it will cost to manufacture our parts. Manufacturers can accurately create quotes for customers based on the results that SOLIDWORKS provides. What if the design changes? No problem. We can see the see the new, updated cost immediately, along with a detailed cost breakdown. All of this information is great for us to use, but it does not stop there. Let's look into how to generate automatic cost reports.

The first step is to go to Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations and specify our file location for our costing report templates. In Show folders for, select Costing Report Template Folder to add or delete a location. Note that the default costing report template folder is our SOLIDWORKS Installation Directory\lang\language. For more information on Templates, please refer to SOLIDWORKS Costing an in depth Review Part 4 – Templates.

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Before we can create a report, we obviously have to have already opened a part and calculated the cost. If you don't know how to do this (Tools > SOLIDWORKS Applications > Costing,) please refer to our earlier articles in the blog series first. There are links at the bottom of this article. Once we have calculated the cost, all we have to do is to go to the bottom of the Costing Task Pane and click the Generate Report button.

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That will bring up the Report Options dialog box. We can see various options such as if we want the report to be a Word Document (*.docx) or an Excel Spreadsheet (*.xlsx). We also can specify what file name and location we want to use. Now earlier, I mentioned that we can customize the report with our company's information and that of our customer. We can add some additional company information and quote information as we see fit. Just expand Company information to add our contact information. We can even add our company 's logo to the report. (Note that the .jpg, .gif, .png, or .tif image size can be up to 300 x 150 pixels.) We can also enter information about the customer quote we are preparing, including the quote number, our customer's company and contact information, and who prepared the quote. All of this information that we enter will appear in the report headers. Once we have set up the options, we can check Show report on publish to review the report we generate.

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Click Publish to create the report. That's it! How easy was that?

Adding Costing Information to File Properties

SOLIDWORKS Costing allows us to assign cost-specific custom properties to our SOLIDWORKS documents. We do this by adding cost-specific custom properties to our part files. With our previous file already opened and the cost already calculated, we can click File > Properties. Now, this is the same process as adding any custom property to our file. In the Summary Information dialog box, select either the Custom tab or the Configuration Specific tab. We are able to add a Costing-specific custom property by pulling down a new Property Name and selecting one of the choices that starts with Cost. We have the choice to use Cost – Material Name, Cost – Stock Type, Cost – Template Name, Cost – Material Cost, Cost – Manufacturing Cost, Cost – Time of Cost Calculation, Cost – Stock Size, and Cost – Total Cost. Make sure the Type is set to Text. In Value / Text Expression, select the cost property that corresponds to your Property Name selection. In other words, since we selected Cost – Total Cost for the Property Name, we will pick Cost – Total Cost under Value / Text Expression. SOLIDWORKS will automatically add in the equation and calculate it for us. This value calculated by the Costing tool will be displayed under Evaluated Value.

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Removing Costing Information from Parts

What if we need to send a file to a customer and we do not want them to be able to see our Costing data? Well, SOLDIWORKS Costing allows us to easily remove the Costing information from our parts. To remove the Costing information, we must save a copy of the part without the Costing data. If our part file is linked to an assembly, the copied file will be a separate file that is not linked to that assembly. This is especially true in SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM, where the new copy is not referenced by the assembly. This may sound a little complicated, but in reality, we are just doing a Save As on our part file. So, if we have our part file opened and the cost has been evaluated, save the part as usual. But then do a File > Save As. In the Save As dialog box, we will see an option Save without Costing data. When we select this option, notice that _nocost is automatically added to the file name and the Description changes to Save without Costing data. When we click Save, a copy of our part is created without the Costing information.

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Creating a Limited-access Costing Template

We can create a limited-access Costing template to share with other users. Note that we can select limited-access templates in the Costing Task Pane, but we cannot view or edit them in the Costing Template Editor application. Creating a limited-access Costing template for a part is a straightforward process. If we already have our part opened with Costing running, go over to the Costing Task Pane. Select a template to save and click Launch Template Editor.

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We can also access this program from the Windows Start menu by clicking All Programs > SOLIDWORKS version > SOLIDWORKS Tools > Costing Template Editor version.

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In the Costing Template Editor application, open a template. Pull down the Save menu and click Save As Limited Access Copy. Note that we might have to click Save As instead of Save. In the Save As dialog box, all we do is type in a File name and click Save. That's all there is to it. Close the Costing Template Editor application and send that file to whoever we wanted to share the limited-access Costing template with.

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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.