OK I'll try this group also, please please stay on topic!
My company manufactures material handling equipment (lifts which personal can't ride). They cut, machine and weld up a bunch of structural steel, paint it and assemble purchased components to create product. See
- No gap can be created between joining pieces for shop fit up. Structural steel is hot rolled from the mill and the tolerances on the OA heights and flanges can be quite generous (5/32" height wise and ¼" on the widths). I typically cut back 1/16" on all steel butting against a flange and let the fabricator fill the joint with weld (obtaining better penetration also).
- Many of the weldments are orientated to the top side, to support the load; it must be flush with a plate on top for ease of loading with pallet jacks and fork trucks. Since we optimize materials for strength vs. weight, many times the internal members are smaller than the external structural members. I cannot shift the internal profiles to match the top side without multiple sketches on multiple planes or multiple profiles offset at different heights.
- Unlike structural steel parts created with sketches and features, I can't suppress filleted edges in weldment profiles. I typical create configuration with all fillets suppressed to speed up the assembled steel parts or for quicker FEA analysis.
- Internal member's sizes and lengths are dependent on other internal and external member's sizes. So with weldments, I require multiple sketches to have these members have relationships to other members. These extra sketches must reside below the referenced members in the feature tree.
- We don't cope steel as complex as Solidworks extends faces to another member, we typically just notch a rectangular cutout in the corner to match the flange and fillet in channels and beams. No custom copes in weldments.
- Parts can't have display states, only assemblies. multi-bodied parts can hide bodies, but not with weldments. How can I show just one of the structural parts which require machining? I was able to detail out the part, but only after hiding the edges of all the other parts I didn't want shown. With display states, I can create a separate state for each part which requires machining. With multi-bodied parts, I can create separate configurations for each part which requires machining. All weldments require some type of machining or modification for stuff can attach to it or it can attach to other stuff.
There might be other issues, but I've only played for a short time. Please feel free to comment or ask questions. I hope to resolve these issues before we jump on board without a paddle.
Keith Streich Engineering Department Pflow Industries, Inc.