Universal product naming/numbering?

Say you are building a machine for use in house.
It has a mix of parts that are buy outs.... and a lot of parts home made in the shop.
What methodology should one use to name or number the parts.... both buy out and made in shop?
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You'll get a million contradictory answers to this. Here's what I've done...
- use generic sequential numbers, maybe with some sort of a prefix to identify general categories, like 12-34567 where 12 stands for some classification like purchased parts, manifolds, sheetmetal, made-from, raw castings, circuit boards, etc. Then the 34567 is just a sequential number. Use a database, spreadsheet, mrp, erp or pdm to correlate the sequential number to a description. Don't try to make the whole number intelligent.
- don't use descriptive filenames. There's a reason why the government uses a SSN instead of your name. Descriptive names get duplicated, sequential numbers do not.
- don't put the rev in the filename. I've seen people advocate doing this. It can be done, but it requires a lot of work to keep it working right.
- unless parts are really just made for a single project, don't put project info in the filename. One of two things will happen: you will wind up with copies of the same part with different names or you will wind up with parts in a project which have a different project name.
- use custom property fields like "Description" for descriptive names. Did you know you can show descriptions in the assembly tree instead of filenames? Did you know you can see the description in the File, Open dialog?
The filename is for the computer to keep track of things, not for the user.
The description is for the user.
You can fight the filename/description battle saying "but 12-34567 doesn't mean anything to me, 'mounting bracket' does", but that will bite you eventually.
Anyway, good luck,
Matt
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Matt's advice is excellent, and Hayduke's also makes sense, but allow me to disagree slightly and expand a bit as well. I typically DO include descriptive names in fabricated part/assembly filenames, but only FOLLOWING a sequential part/drawing number. Matt is quite right that you're much better off without a part/drawing numbering system that assigns any special "intelligence" to numbers . . . to do otherwise is to invite loads and loads of unexpected work, especially when some meddling manager decides he doesn't agree with your number assignment and decides he wants the number changed. Such an action, of course, would affect your next Assembly, the Drawings for both the component AND next assembly, and your BOM (and thus perhaps also your ERP system). If drawings are released and change paper is required that doubles or triples the amount of work. In addition you have to be CERTAIN that you catch all next Assemblies (and Drawings and BOMs for those next Assemblies) where the component is used that had its number changed, and often that's not as simple as using SolidWorks Explorer to find the "Where Used". You might be surprised how often you'll end up being asked to change a part/drawing number, or realizing yourself that somehow the number assigned isn't quite appropriate and "has" to be changed. It's a losing proposition . . . BIG time.
It's much better and easier to have the number simply be sequential, possibly starting with some prefix which can indicate the project to which a unique part belongs, but even that can bite you in the butt if you use fabricated parts across product lines. But a descriptive name FOLLOWING the sequential part/drawing number doesn't really hurt anything -- doesn't affect how filenames are sorted in Windows Explorer or in an Excel spreadsheet generated from a BOM (etc.); doesn't cause problems -- but it CAN make it much easier to identify the kind of component you're dealing with just by looking at the filename. It can make it much simpler to find things you need without opening Assemblies or assembly Drawings to figure out what is what.
Likewise for vendor parts, descriptive names FOLLOWING other designations are useful and don't hurt anything. I typically start with the vendor's name (e.g., McMaster, Southco, Cherry, Vlier, Swagelok, etc.) followed by the vendor part number followed by a short descriptive name (e.g., "o-ring, half-inch OD, sixteenth thk"). As I usually do the initial sourcing for parts I can almost always remember where I found the o-ring or fitting or electronic component I used, and thus the vendor name in the filename is helpful in finding things. If a purchasing agent wants to second-source the part later there's nothing to prevent it -- information can even be included in Custom Properties to identify allowable substitutions -- and the presence of the original source and part number allows me (or your engineering department) some control over just how "creative" Purchasing can get with substitutions. That is to say, when they cross the line of fit/function/reliability it's a little more obvious and you can a little more easily put a halt to improper use of substitute parts which aren't good substitutes.
Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton Watermark Design, LLC www.h2omarkdesign.com
matt wrote:

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Can you give me an example of your method above?
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I'd like to print out yours and Matt comments onto several hundred sheets of paper, roll them up take it around to a client of mine and beat him senseless with it!
The client in question has an intelligent numbering system. A custom program that was developed in house assigns the numbers. There is only one person that thinks he understands the system. There are always exceptionsALWAYS it has become a days worth of work for this person every week, to issue numbers and mange this system.
Originally everyone was supposed to use the system and get there own numbers. Now only one person issues the numbers, because the rest of us continually made mistakes. The irony is, the person who issues the numbers and understands and believes in the system is continually coming to me and asking me to renumber parts because something needs tweaking in the system. ARRRRRRRRRRHGFFGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH --- This is an incredible waste of their money, and then they wonder why a particular project is taking so long.
OK Im off to get a coffee and take a big deep breath.
Regards,
John Layne
Solid Engineering Ltd
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Yup, yup, I hear ya. The first thing I do when I get with a new client who wants to know my recommendations is tell them what I think about unintelligent "intelligent" numbering systems, and 2 out of 3 times they hear it and ignore it. And 100% of the time that they ignore it they run into the same problems I told them they'd run into.
In one ear and out the other. What can ya do about people who already know everything?
'Sporky'
John Layne wrote:

. . . (clip) . . .
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On Tue, 21 Jun 2005 20:30:31 -0400, Sporkman
I feel for you Sporky -

People who think they know everything are a real pain in the bottom to those who do know everything!! :-)
Sorry - I couldn't resist
TTFN
Jonathan
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This is the big "key" isn't it?
So you can put "some" intelligence in the filename..... but not very much huh?
Maybe its bets to put no intelligence at all in the file name at all? Use pure sequential numbers? Or ate least UNIQUE numbers?
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says...

There are reasons for doing sequential (guarantee no duplicates) and reasons for NOT doing intelligence (stuff Sporkman talked about). The point is that if you at least have a sequential portion of the filename, you won't have duplicates, but then if you choose to also put descriptive info in there too, maybe it will be more user friendly.
My point is that you're better off being clever with the tools and separating the information. Of course this is WAY easier to do if you have a PDM system and can search on either filenames or descriptions.
Like I said, there are a lot of conflicting points of view about this topic, and everyone thinks they're right. If you're deciding a system that other people are going to use, you'd better grow some thick skin, cuz SOMEbody ain't gonna like it, which in the end is tragic, but that's the way it is.
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Where can one find information on good part numbering systems?. For instance the DND has part numbers for everything from spaghetti and meatballs to condoms. We have a very good part numbering system that was developed about 29 years ago and still works excellent. But I haven't seen anything on the net. What do other companies do?
matt wrote:

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Rather than purely sequential numbers, we often increment the next part number by seven. It seems to reduce the common problem of miskeying similar looking part numbers.
says...

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Indeed - the only real requirement - Uniqueness!
No duplicate names or numbers of any sort. That's all a good system needs.
Intelligent systems work just fine if you have a standard product. Don't be fooled. Sometimes intelligence in a part number _IS_ a great thing. BUT on the other side, the value falls off fast if the "thing" cant be easily described in a few numbers (read Parameters). Equally asinine is using a "coded" (intelligent) system where the part number practically describes how to build the darn thing.
Were I king of the world, I would use simple sequence for _most_ design. However if I were a ball bearing manufacturer, you bed your booty that I would have a CODING based number system that described the bearings I was making, the beauty of sequence numbers aside. This is an actual reason why you want to get an 80R13/P170 tire for your car and not tire number 12877-88-5777 revision B. Perhaps I'm taking this out of context, but there are are times when coding makes absolutely great sense, other times when it is the silliest thing on earth. The absolutely worst thing is to have a system designed by someone with no appreciation of taxonomy and no knowledge of when to apply a coded or a simple sequence to a type of work.
Take this for example: http://www.danly.com/idanly/products/18122.html
This describes springs - partially smart, partially dumb. Take the number 9-1604-26
9 Describes it as a spring (its a company abstraction) 1604 describes the size, 16 16th's = 1" diameter x 04 1/4's = 1" long 26 Describes the strength again (another company abstraction)
Imagine this system on an "meaningless" sequential basis. What a laugh and a waste that would be. There are lots of places where a coded system is a good thing. There are other times when it makes no sense. Go look at ansi p-type bushings - they are coded and this is far superior to a sequence based system. In both these cases, there is no duplication of any part number and the parts are all unique. Many perforators are sold this way as well - they are ordered more by specification than by part number and the spec defines the geometry. Go look at pem hardware and you will see a nicely devised coded system, doing it another way would be suicidal for that product line.
On the "other side" a sequence based system is the absolute best for custom machinery and I have seen the type or product code prefix work nicely. My present employer has a quasi type-code, sequential number + description in our solidworks names and it works really well. We are not is a business where a coded system makes sense.
The real trick is playing armchair taxonomist and determining what style of numbering meets your business needs. What is economically sound and requires the least amount of work to sustain? That's the big question. Nobody outside your business can really do a good job of answering that for you.
But we stray away from you real question . . .
Later,
SMA
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Good advice!!
Thanks so much for your input!
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Agree!!
Its good to hear someone else "confirm" what my gut has been telling me abt this problem!
I was using a file naming procedure based on the date I created the mode;/drawing of the part.
Example.... say I modeled a bearing today. The drawing/part number is:
2005-06-22-01
where the last two digits, the "01" are just a sequential number
So if I did another drawing today it would end in "02". And so on. I figures I cant do more than 99 drawings in one day. <G
What abt that system?
And...... should the drawing number and the part number strive to be the same number?
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I don't know how a date helps you much, but if it does then there doesn't occur to me to be any problems with it. You've got your unique numbers and it isn't "intelligent" in any sense that would cause somebody to ask for you to rename the file . . . UNLESS they wanted you to update the filename when you make a change on a new date (in which case ABANDON THAT SYSTEM quickly -- that's as bad as having a revision in the filename, or maybe even worse).
Regarding having the NUMBER in the filename the same as the part number -- certainly that's VERY helpful and I recommend it highly. In the very least that means that Windows Explorer can be used to find a file that reflects a particular part in a BOM, and there are other benefits as well. But in many companies' systems a dash number suffix (e.g., -1 or -2) can be added to the NUMBER in the filename to reflect similar but slightly different parts . . . like left-hand and right-hand parts or parts with and without a hole or other feature. Most parametric CAD software's ability to create "configurations" of parts or assemblies can be leveraged that way so that you have ONE drawing file (with multiple sheets) to reflect ONE component model file (with multiple configurations). The way I do it, I don't add a dash number to the number in the filename unless I have multiple configurations, but you COULD do it so that you ALWAYS add a -1 suffix, and then if you add a configuration later it simply takes a -2 suffix. In one way that's less problematic in that you don't have to change the part number of the original part (by adding a -1 -- because it's already there), and that also prevents you from having to change the next assembly (affect to the BOM).
Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton Watermark Design, LLC www.h2omarkdesign.com
snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

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well the deal with using the date and a sequential number is that it is always a "unique" number. No way can the method for mating the number allow the number to be created more than once.
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The only problem I can see with that system is in the case of a multi-user environment. A prefix with your initials should take care of that.
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In addition to what he said over the years I've created a library of Commercially available parts we get from vendors, like Hub City Gearboxes and the like. For now at least, all those parts are in a their own respective folder with their OEM part numbers.
Because we don't have a great system I include the OEM part number in the assembly drawings, because 1) that's the actual part I ordered, and 2) it will be easier years from now for the guy in purchasing to get an interchangeable part from that number that from a generic 'in-house' number.
I'd prefer a better system, but we do what we can with what we've got...
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snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

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I guess what I'm wondering is if there is some kind of ISO standard on this UPN thing?
I mean what do the bar code numbers on products you by tell you? Are they "smart".... or just dumb numbers hooked up with a database somewhere?
Example,,, is the part name for Crest toothpaste sold at Walmart the same number as Crest toothpaste at Kmart? Given its exact same product of course
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snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

UPC-A is a 12 digit, numeric symbology used in retail applications. UPC-A symbols consist of 11 data digits and one check digit. The first digit is a number system digit that usually represents the type of product being identified. The following 5 digits are a manufacturers code and the next 5 digits are used to identify a specific product.
UPC numbers are assigned to specific products and manufacturers by the Uniform Code Council (UCC). To apply for a UPC number or for more information, you can contact the UCC at 8163 Old Yankee Road, Suite J, Dayton, OH 45458 Tel: 937-435-3870
Taken from the following web site:
http://tinyurl.com/9kd9y
Dave
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