I'm all about powerful tools that many don't know about hidden in software packages. I feel like it's a treasure chest waiting to be found. Once such feature that deserves the spotlight today is the Solid Edge Design Manager. Design Manager, as mentioned, is a very powerful tool that can serve multiple functions---fix broken links, replace files, copy files, copy designs, fix filenames, etc...
Design manager is a stand-alone application that will list the Parent-Child links of Draft, Assembly, & Part files and where the "linked" files reside on your computer/server. Think of it as a site-map for your files that make up your assemblies/drafts. As mentioned previously, it can serve a few roles:
Fix Broken Links
This is the biggest function that I find helpful. A few days ago, I opened an assembly that I had not opened in a while and was shocked when I seen some parts that were not supposed to be in there and to see many mates and relationships broken. It became apparent to me that Solid Edge was bringing in the wrong files!
It hit me as to why; about a month ago, I done some file management and moved a bunch of files around in my Dropbox account where I keep all of my Solid Edge Files. The folder in question was a cultivation of a few years of projects with a client and had become a mess. Wellllllll....I moved some key files into a different folder than they used to be in. SO when I opened the assembly file, Solid Edge looked where it knew they were and they were not there.
The second thing Solid Edge done was substituted some parts that had identical file names in its place that were elsewhere in my business Dropbox. So that was where my surprise came in seeing parts I knew were not supposed to be there! An amateur Scott would have freaked out, but experienced Scott pulled up Design Manager and quickly replaced out the broken link file with the correct file. I then opened up the assembly, and it was all good!
Most users would just go to Windows Explorer and rename their files to whatever the new name needs to be. Experienced CAD users know that is a hug no-no! Renaming files that are linked to an assembly or drawing will INSTANTLY break the link to that drawing or assembly. So the next time it's opened, it WILL NOT be able to load the parts it used or represented because they have a new name.
Instead, use Design Manager to quickly open the assembly, and rename the file(s) all while maintaining the parametric link to the renamed part. It would be as if it was never renamed.
Editing Property Text
As you can also see in the picture above to the right, many property text fields are shown. Within one dialogue box, multiple property text fields can be edited across multiple files. This works great if you have many files and do not want to open each file and manually edit each property text.
Another aspect it is great for is creating entire new assemblies/drawings of similar entities. Often as designers we are asked to create something that is like another but different. We too often already have manufacturing drawings, assemblies, etc of said entities. To increase productivity, we often "Save-As" and reuse drawings and assemblies.
Using Design manager,, again in one dialogue box, we can quickly copy a design to an entire new location, reuse parts from their current locations (like fasteners, common parts, etc..). ALL while maintaining the parametric links! After a few clicks you have a copy of a drawing or assembly and you can make changes to it.
Pack & Go
This is a feature that is used across a few CAD programs, basically it finds all files in an assembly/drawing and places a copy into a common folder or zip file while maintaining parametric links.
How to use It
- Open up the Solid Edge "open dialogue box and right click on any top-level assembly or drawing file, and in the context menu, click on "Open in Design Manager".
-OR find it in your Start Menu as a dedicated program
Hopefully this helps you manager your files better!