Get Into The Habit Of Using The Inventor Assembly Bill Of Materials

We all need an accurate bill of materials (BOM) at the end of the day, and most of us don’t even use the fantastic bill of materials option, which is available in the Autodesk Inventor assembly environment.

I always use this option when checking to make sure that I haven't forgotten any information, which could include things like a description, stock number or any other info that I might need in my BOM. This will help save time so that when it comes to the drawing side, the BOM will be correct with no missing information. If you add or change any information in the assembly BOM, it rights back to the properties of the file.

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The assembly BOM can be used to:

• Edit and create new iProperties and bill of material properties
• Edit the bill of materials structure for components
• Set quantity overrides for components
• Create consistent item numbers or detail ID’s for components for the generation of parts lists and other associative lists from the bill of materials.

The Assembly BOM can be set up the way you need it to be by using all your relevant information.

Set up your assembly BOM

Open a new assembly file and select the bill of materials icon on the manage panel:

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Select the choose column icon to open the customization dialog box. Drag the properties you want up to the other column headers to add and drag the ones off that you don’t require.

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In the example I removed unit QTY, stock number and revision. I added material, mass and moved part number column.

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Once you are happy with your BOM, select done. Select the file tab and select save copy as template to save your changes to the default assembly template file. The next time you create a new assembly the assembly BOM will be set to your settings.

Please note that the same settings will also need to be selcted for the structured and parts only tabs.

Now that I know that my BOM has all the correct information, my bill of materials will show the required information when I place it on my drawing sheet

Assembly BOM:

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Drawing BOM:

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Take care when editing the drawing sheet BOM, as a lot of users who will have a description or any other property missing for their parts in the drawing BOM then double click on the drawing BOM to edit it. The info that they add to the drawing BOM will be a static value and won't link back to the iProperties of the files. As shown below, static values will be highlighted in blue:

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When you need to edit properties on the drawing BOM do not double click on it; instead, right click on it and select bill of materials, which will open the assembly BOM in the drawing environment.

Also, please note that adding or removing columns on the assembly BOM will not add or remove columns on the drawing BOM. The drawing BOM is normally set up in the styles and standards to come through with the correct columns and headings.

Bill of material views

By default, on the assembly bill of materials you will have an additional two views, structured and parts only. These views will be disabled at first, so to enable them select the tab right click on it and select enable BOM view.

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Structured View:

In a structured list, assemblies and subassemblies can be expanded so that their constituent children can be seen from the top of the assembly structure down. A structured list reports the structure of the assembly, which does not always correspond with the real design. This is reflected in the bill of materials structure display, where structure properties are applied. Phantom and Reference components are hidden from the list, and child components are promoted from phantom assemblies.

Parts only view:

A parts only view presents bill of materials data where the structure is ignored. Components in the design are displayed as single lines regardless of the parent/child relationship. The only influence that structure has on this list is in quantity calculations and display of phantom/reference components. If a component is a phantom or a reference it is not displayed in the flat list. The quantity of child components is multiplied by the quantity of the phantom parents. For example, a parent with a quantity of two owns a child component with a quantity of 10. Therefore, its total quantity in the flat list view is 20.

In a parts only list, components that are assemblies are not presented in the list unless they are considered inseparable or purchased. For parts only views, purchased or inseparable subassemblies are treated as parts, and they are promoted through phantom parents.

If the display filter is set to display bill of materials structure, inseparable and purchased assemblies do not display their children in parts only view. The only exception is that all direct child components that have a bill of materials structure of purchased are promoted outside inseparable assemblies in the parts only view. The inseparable assembly is still displayed as a single item. All other child components are hidden in the view (for example, the assembly cannot be expanded).

This was just a brief overview of what can be done with the assembly BOM, so do get into the habit of checking the assembly before you move over to the drawing. There are also a number of other things that can be done with the assembly bill of materials.

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