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Top-Down Design Tools

Managing Complex Assemblies

Top-Down Design Philosophy

2006 PTC

Traditional Design Approach

Bottom-Up Design
Design of individual components independent of the assembly Manual approach to ensure that components fit properly and meet the design criteria Components and those placed in sub-assemblies are brought together to develop the top-level assembly Errors are manually identified and modifications to each component are made to make the adjustment. As assembly grows, detecting these inconsistencies and correcting them can consume a considerable amount of time Top Level Assembly
Component Design

Component Design

Component Design
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Possible example Bottom Up?


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Top-Down Design Philosophy

Top-Down Design
Method of placing critical information in a high-level location Communicating that information to the lower levels of the product structure Capturing the overall design information in one centralized location

Design Information




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A more integrated approach.

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Top Down Design Stages It is a concept.

6-Stage Process

Conceptual Engineering Phase

Layouts and Engineering Notebook


Preliminary Product Structure Phase

Pro/INTRALINK, Model Tree


Capturing Design Intent Phase

Skeleton Models


Manage Interdependencies Phase

Reference Viewer & Reference Graph


Communication of Design Intent Phase

Copy Geoms, Publish Geoms & Shrinkwrap


Population of the Assembly Phase

Automatic Component Constraints & Component Interfaces

2006 PTC

The Bobcat example

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Stage 1
Conceptual Engineering Phase Layouts and Engineering Notebook
Understand Existing Situation High-level Requirements Space Allocation Define New Space and Motion 2D Sketches 3D Models Rapid Iteration & Convergence Animations Capture Key Design Intent Parameters Notes Spreadsheets Proprietary Data
2006 PTC

Stage 2
Preliminary Product Structure Phase Pro/INTRALINK, Model Tree
Quickly define product hierarchy

Before any of the components geometry is defined

Intuitive, automatic mapping to start models

Templates ensure all designs share the necessary common elements such as layers, views & parameters

Foundation for efficient task distribution Assembly Population Environments

Pro/E menus and Model Tree pop-up menus Pro/INTRALINK and PDMLink

Component Creation Methods

Empty Components; Copy from start models Automatic assembly of default datums Unplaced, Partially- & Over-Constrained Components


2006 PTC

Stage 3
Capturing Design Intent Phase Skeleton Models
What needs to happen? Capture conceptual design parameters within the context of the assembly Capture & control critical object interfaces in a single, convenient location How? Skeleton Models Centralized pathway for communication Facilitate task distribution Promote well-organized design environments Enable faster, more efficient propagation of change Special Treatment in BOMs, Simplified Reps, Drawings, Model Tree & Mass Property Calculations Uniquely supported Scope Control Setting


2006 PTC

Stage 4
Manage Interdependencies Phase Reference Viewer & Reference Graph
Tools to Manage References External Reference Control

Top-Down Design methodology is followed design management rules directly into the design proper design reuse



Pro/INTRALINK Model Tree Global Reference Viewer Reference Graph


2006 PTC

Stage 5
Communication of Design Intent Phase Publish Geoms, Copy Geoms & Inheritance
Publish Geometry Features Provides ability to pre-determine the geometry to be referenced by a Copy Geometry feature Allows designers to define their interfaces to the rest of the design Copy Geometry Features Allows copying of all types of geometry Surfaces, edges, curves, datums, quilts, copy/publish geometry Retains copied geometry name and layer settings Dependency on parent geometry can be toggled Can be Externalized External Copy Geometry Build relationships on external models independent of an assembly Useful for coordinate system assembly practices Inheritance Inherit model geometry for one-way associativity Shrinkwrap (included in Foundation Advantage Package)
2006 PTC

Stage 6
Population of the Assembly Phase Automatic Component Constraints & Component Interfaces
What tools are available for populating the assembly? Assembly Tools

Drag & Drop Placement Component Interfaces

Component Creation

Within the context of the assembly Mirror Parts or Subassemblies


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How does Top Down Design relate to company goals?

Four Goals from Upper Management
1) Cycle Time Reduction. 2) Increase User Satisfaction with Software. 3) Margin Increase. 4) Cost Reduction.


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Why should you use it?

Reduced design time Reduced errors (right the first time) Increased quality Better project management visibility Concurrent engineering Confidence in top-level regeneration Knowledge of how modules interface Top-level change control


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Example: to design an alternator...

What information should a designer need to work with most times?
Complete Top-Level Assembly Neighboring Subassemblies


540 MB

All Skeleton Models in Top-Level Assembly

70 MB
Subassembly, with Skeleton Model containing all required information ~ 20 MB
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What does an example look like?

Three Phases



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Product Definition


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Product Definition: Engineering Layout

What it is:
First thing done in design cycle Used to evaluate key interface points Used to evaluate key components of project

What it is Not:
Three dimensional solids Fully detailed


2006 PTC

Advantages of Using a Layout

Document design information in one centralized location Document design information before creating solid models Investigate design options without involving the entire assembly Easily make design changes because all of the design information is contained in one location

Is now very important for NiGEL, right now!!


2006 PTC

#2 Product Definition: Assembly Structure

What it is:
Virtual Assembly / BOM Used to organize assembly & assigning of design tasks Used to input non-geometrical data up-front

What it is Not:
Three dimensional solids Fully detailed Fully constrained
2006 PTC

Advantages of Defining Preliminary Product Structure

Defining the product structure prior to defining geometry can assist you in organizing the assembly into manageable tasks that can be assigned to design teams or individual designers. Associate specific library parts (that are to be used on the project) with the assembly at the start of the design, preventing confusion later.


2006 PTC

Advantages of Defining Preliminary Product Structure

Cont Submit the assembly to Pro/INTRALINK or PDMLink and assign models to the appropriate vaults or folders. Individual designers can focus on specific design tasks instead of on how their design is going to fit into the overall structure. Input non-geometrical information such as the part number, designers name, etc., at a very early stage.


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#3 Product Definition: Skeletons

What it is:
Zero-mass geometry Exact location detail Minimized geometric detail

What it is Not:
Three dimensional solids Fully detailed


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And Definitely Not This!!


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Advantages of Using Skeletons

Provides a centralized location for design data Simplifies assembly creation / visualization Aids in assembling mechanisms Minimizes unwanted parent-child relationships Allows you to assemble components in any order Controls propagation of external references


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Central source for information

Benefits of Communicating Information From a Central Source Task distribution Concurrent Modeling Managing External References Tools Declaration Publish Geometry Copy Geometry
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Top_level.asm Top_level_skeleton.prt Sub_assy_1.asm


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3D Design Finally!

The foundation is set but topologically modifiable its time for 3D.

With Reference Control Manager, you are safe to create your parts directly in the assembly.


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More Than Meets The Eye!


Family of Tables

Interchange Assembly

Layout Declarations


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Power of Top-Down Design

To Achieve Advanced Automation, consider using:




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Miscellaneous Tips
Separate Part Versus Assembly for Skeleton Features
Avoid constructing assembly-level skeleton features since the system requires that you perform all edits of these features in Assembly mode.

The components can become an obstruction and degrade performance. Furthermore, you cannot easily reuse skeleton features at the assembly level in other subassemblies. By using a separate part file, you can edit the feature in Part Mode and reassemble it into many different assemblies.

Geometry Features
Place all static information in a skeleton as early as possible and place all dynamic information later in the design process cycle.


2006 PTC

Miscellaneous Tips
Datums for Skeleton Models
Consider renaming skeleton datums to sk_

Use simplified reps and transparency prolifically to make viewing easier Use display states to highlight different items at different times Use surfaces to clarify meaning of centerlines & axes

Dont be afraid to use simple hand sketches before delving into complex situations its NOT illegal


2006 PTC

Pro/E Wildfire Enhancements

High-performance Assembly Modeling

Lightweight Components Represent common components with lightweight graphics for optimum display speed Accurate mass properties and BOMs Customizable symbolic representations Flexible Components Represent multiple states of a single component in an assembly Addresses critical need for consistency between BOM and assembly model Intelligent Regeneration Assembly regeneration is up to 80% Faster!


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Highlights of Top-Down Design

Capture knowledge, or design intent, allowing you to concentrate on significant issues by making the software perform tedious, repetitive calculations.

Enable the framework for interchangeability of components allowing for high-velocity product development by supporting rapid iterations of product variations.

Create a concurrent design environment by spreading project design responsibility across many organizational levels.


2006 PTC

New in Advanced Assembly in Wildfire 3.0

Data Sharing Dashboard
The Data Sharing dashboard consolidates the Merge, Cutout, and Inheritance features in a modern user interface. Enhancements to Data Sharing features in a new dashboard offer many benefits:

Allows changing of multiple feature types at any point Offers a user-friendly user interface with easy access to commands Supports object-action workflow for increased productivity Consolidates Data Sharing features, such as Merge, Cutout, and Inheritance


2006 PTC

New in Advanced Assembly in Wildfire 3.0 (#2)

Top-Down Design with Mechanism Assemblies
You can now design a skeleton model that includes motion. Motion skeletons are available in Assembly, allowing motion to be incorporated into the model at the beginning of the design process. There is no longer a need to recreate an assembly to include a mechanism analysis. You can create mechanism bodies and connections as a motion skeleton, then run a simple kinematic analysis to ensure that the skeleton provides the appropriate degrees of freedom. You can then create and assemble components to the motion skeleton. Motion skeletons are defined in the same way as normal assembly skeletons and include reference control settings. They do not appear in the assembly bill of materials.


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The preliminary TDD for NiGEL


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