Stable Balloon Numbers

In the beginning (1995) Jon created SOLIDWORKS that had the ability to assign balloon [item] numbers to parts…and these numbers could be added to the bill of material. And Jon saw that it was good.

The problem was that if you changed the order of your parts in the assemblies the balloon numbers changed. This wasn’t terrible because the drawings and BOM always stayed up to date, but a little bit bad because if you passed your BOM information to external systems it was difficult to match line items up from one revision to another.

Throughout the years things got a little better – balloon items no longer changed when you reordered the components in an assembly, but if you deleted a component, all the components in the list below would move up in the BOM order taking the deleted component’s place – and its balloon number.

And we wept.

Then in [I think] SOLIDWORKS 2009 along came this little BOM table property!


Select this little golden nugget to prevent BOM item numbers from updating when you change item numbers elsewhere.

I’ll grant you that we have had very good control of our Excel based BOM tables for a while now, but I haven’t used Excel based tables since we’ve been given the ability to update component’s file properties in the SOLIDWORKS based BOM table.

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