Over the past few years I have had an opportunity to work with many SOLIDWORKS customers who have implemented SOLIDWORKS Inspection into their QC departments to help streamline their ballooning and report processes. I wanted to share some insight on Inspection and how it can be used to generate machine/manufacturing specific reports along with the standard first article reports to be used during the process of a part being created. This is just ONE simple way you can configure the product to meet your quality department demands.
Inside of SOLIDWORKS Inspection (this will be relevant to the stand-alone application), begin by navigating to the options button located in the drop down menu from the Inspection icon.
Once the options window is open and under the application options tab, you will see a field for list on the left hand side that allows users to define their own custom fields. Here we are going to use one of these existing custom fields to overwrite and create a “PROCESS” field. Using the green ‘plus’ symbol on the lower right hand side you can start to add specific drop downs to this list like machine names, station names, station IDs, etc. In this example I am using the machine manufacturing information to define each station that will then be tied to the GD&T or dimensional information that is created on the part from that manufacturing process.
The second step for setting up these custom fields is to map the newly created field to your template. Luckily there is an easy template editor built right inside of Inspection that will help with this process. From the same drop down field where the options are found you can select the template editor to start mapping this information over, this will prompt you to select the template in which you want to customize.
Once the template is open you will need to create a new column in Excel to add the “PROCESS” information. You will find the newly created field under CHARACTERISTIC TOKEN in the template editor. from the drop down list select the item you with to add, or in this case “PROCESS” and select insert to add to the first cell in the newly created column. Keep in mind this is the only cell it needs to be added to, don’t worry about dragging this down the sheet. This newly created column and the machine information that will be added gives a quick way to filter to specific machine information in your final report. Adding additional tabs in the template will allow you to go one step further and have a tab specific to each machine filtered out and still retain the form 1 and 2 information along with a full first article tab as well.
Creating the additional tabs is easy, just right click on the tab you are editing and use the “Move or Copy” option to create a copy of this tab. Again, this will allow for a final report to have tabs specific to multiple filters.
The last step is to save the template out or overwrite the existing one. The one key ingredient in this step is to SAVE AS a .XLT or Excel Template file. If you save this as an .XLS file the information form inspection WILL NOT carry over to your excel sheet.
That’s it! When you are ready to publish your new inspection report any ballooned dimensions/GD&T call out that has an attached “PROCESS” field will carry over to excel. From here simply filter to that specific machine on each tab and you have a process sheet that you can deliver to each machine station.