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SolidWorks 2014 What’s New – Chapter 9: SolidWorks Costing


Having never had the opportunity to use the costing tool, I’m probably not the best judge of what makes a good enhancement. What originally put me off about the Costing tool was the enormous effort it would take to set up a proper template. In SolidWorks 2014 however, it seems that most of the enhancements are aimed at allowing users to start using Costing immediately. For example, the costs of machining operations can be defined by a basic “cost-per-volume” calculation, while the cost of sheet metal can be defined per bend.

What you’ll find below are those improvements that SolidWorks though deserved a gold star. Check out the full SolidWorks 2014 What’s New Document for the full list, and the video below.

Honorable Mentions

Costing Options

You can define or override system-level costing options in the Costing Options dialog box, such as changing template types. This is also where you can apply fixed custom costs to sheet metal features and removed material (volume) features (See “Simplifying Cost Estimates” below).

Estimating Sheet Metal Part Costs from a Machining Template

Using a machining template can be more accurate when costing sheet metal parts with special features, such as countersinks, or other features that do not pass completely through the thickness.

Creating a Limited-access Costing Template

A limited-access costing template can be used to determine individual part costs, but the cost information contained in the template can not be viewed or edited. This allows other users to generate cost estimates, while keeping proprietary cost information safe.

I imagine this will be very useful for both manufacturers and their customers. A machine shop can publish a limited-access template on its website (or even create a SolidWorks add-in), and allow customers to create their own quotes in real time. The business can then focus more time on manufacturing work, and the customer doesn’t have to wait for the information they need.

Generating Costing BOMs

You can generate assembly or drawing BOMs that display component costs. A new pre-defned BOM template is avalable, which includes a cost varaible. When inserting a new BOM, select the Costing BOM template (bom-costing.sldbomtbt).

Organization of the Setup Folder

The CostingManager Setup folder for machined parts has been reorganized to display setup costs for operation setup, custom setup, and loading or unloading parts. This provides more accuracy when estimating part costs.

  • Operation Setup includes fixturing, setup, and programming.
  • Custom Setup includes painting, anodizing, or other custom operations.
  • Load and Unload Setup includes the loading and unloading of parts into and out of fixtures.

Simplifying Cost Estimates

You can estimate the cost of machined parts by assigning a fixed cost per unit volume of removed material, rather than calculating the cost based on tool sizes and removal rates. Assigning a cost per volume of material removed results in an approximate cost analysis without taking the time to set up a detailed template. Separate costs can be assigned to roughing, semi-finishing, and finishing processes based on offset values.

The same concept applies to sheet metal parts. Applying fixed costs to sheet metal parts eliminates the need for a fully defined template, and instead just tallies up the tool paths and bends for an approximate cost.


Estimating Post-machining Costs for Cast Parts

When you finish a cast part, you might have costs associated with post-machining operations, such as drilling or milling. SolidWorks costing now allows you to define material to be removed from a cast part, and estimate the related costs. Material to be removed is defined by creating new bodies that overlap the original part where post-machining operations will occur. One way to do this is to subtract the final as-machined part from the as-cast part, using the Combine or Intersect tools. The resulting bodies can be mapped to milling and drilling operations (for the most accurate estimate) , or by assigning a cost per volume of material removed, as described above (for the quickest estimate, which does not require a fully-defined template).

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Once the as-cast and as-machined parts are aligned, you can create a multi-body part based on the differences in geometry, and calculate the costs incurred for removal.

Check out the video below for an overview of the enhancements to Costing in SolidWorks 2014.

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