DarkVision Technologies was looking for a way to create better assembly drawings using Autodesk® Fusion 360™; they had recently transitioned from SOLIDWORKS to Fusion 360, but Fusion 360 does have the same level of support for custom properties or bills of materials on drawings. They adopted Bommer to add custom BOM properties to their parts and to generate custom tables for their assembly drawings. Bommer was easy to install and configure and enabled an “update once, use everywhere” bill of materials workflow that saves their engineers time and effort. Using Bommer, DarkVision achieved:
- Significant time savings over manually managing a bill of materials in Excel, or invoking SOLIDWORKS to create their drawings.
- A fundamental shift in workflow that emphasizes populating bill of materials data early, to prevent guesswork and lost time later in the project.
- Repeatability and a net reduction in the opportunity for engineering and manufacturing errors to occur, by reducing the number of changes required to update a bill of materials.
DarkVision Technologies is a company that builds downhole imaging solutions for looking deep inside oil and gas wells. They had recently transitioned from SOLIDWORKS to Fusion 360 as their primary CAD tool. As they were starting the development phase of their new product, they quickly found that Fusion 360 made it difficult to extract a complete bill of materials, did not support the custom properties they needed, and did not allow them to build assembly drawing tables that listed all of their required parts. “We were counting up all the parts in Fusion 360 and starting to build our assemblies, but the problem was Fusion didn't have really any BOM features outside of naming. And I don't think it was even numbering the parts at that point,” says Jake Rose, mechatronics engineer at DarkVision Technologies, “And there was a lack of assembly drawing functionality, the biggest one being the ability to list all of the components and vendors and other information that you can’t actually put into Fusion.” Without additional tools to help fill these gaps, Rose anticipates that they would either have to transition back to SOLIDWORKS for their drawings or manually maintain a bill of materials Excel, separate from their CAD data.
How Bommer Helped
Bommer is a plugin for Fusion 360 that provides an in-app bill of materials editor, custom properties, and a “two-click” export process to help users quickly and easily build and extract their bills of materials. After a brief trial period, Bommer was implemented by both Rose and his CTO, Graham Manders, to enable them to capture their bill of materials data for each part and create drawings using that data. Because Bommer is fully customizable, Rose was able to set up Bommer to capture and manage the data they needed. “Being able to track multiple vendors and prices and have that information follow the part around into whatever you inserted it into has been very useful. Being able to specify which parts needs to be custom made or off the shelf, and being able to print out a list of those based on whether they're off the shelf or custom is also super useful, ” says Rose. “I like that I can fill out all these fields and then choose which of the fields turns up in the BOM itself. So, at the same time, I can put down information that's useful to me during ordering that doesn't necessarily need to go down on the BOM for the assembly drawing.”
From the beginning, Rose envisioned collaboration with his teammates as a key driver in leveraging Bommer: “When we first integrated it, I made a point of making sure that people, when they brought in components, even if they weren't sure whether it was going to be in the final assembly, to at least populate those fields in Bommer. So that two weeks later when you go ‘Oh, yeah, it's time to order this part.’, you click on it and say ‘Where did this come from? Oh yea, there.’” says Rose. Additionally, “it's pretty straightforward to bring on new teammates. It's really quick to get set up and get into and then because we've got the Bommer templates here, that sets up all the fields already. It's a snap.”
Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans
By adopting Bommer, DarkVision Technologies was able to fill many of the bill of materials and assembly drawing gaps they observed in Fusion 360 and realize tangible time savings as a result. “The fact that you can go in and update the information on the part, and it’ll then update on any BOM you have that part in certainly saves time,” says Rose. “It all comes down to doing it once and having it update of several places. A big time saver.” According to Rose, managing their bill of materials is now a “fairly small percentage” of their total project time, “But that's part of the reason we want to use Bommer, because we don't want to spend a lot of time messing around with this bill of materials and other part information tracking.”
Driven by the ease of using Bommer to update their bill of materials, Rose and his colleagues adopted workflow changes that further reduce the opportunity for time waste and error. “I make an effort to fill in Bommer information just as a favor to myself down the road. It's nice that I can go and fill in the information and then not have to think about it again until I need to need to find that information. I don’t lose track of the information because it's attached right to the part”.
Rose expects their usage will continue to grow in the next 12 months, as they start the next design cycle and their next big project. They will also continue to iterate on their workflow around Fusion 360 and Bommer: “As far as things changing from now, it's going to be getting some heavier use, and there's going to be more stuff being brought in to see if it'll work,” says Rose, “with a lot more information to keep track of.”
Jake Rose - Mechatronics Engineer, DarkVision Technologies
Jesse Rosalia - Co-founder/CEO, Bommer, Inc.
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