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Pro/Engineer   July 2004   Tip-of-the-Month

Setting a Material Parameter to Read from a Material File

How can you get the name of a material assigned in a model to appear as a parameter?  Perhaps to be used on a drawing?  It is pretty easy to create a "Material" parameter and enter a name, but how can you get it to automatically read it from the material file?

Going back one step . . . .

In Pro/E you can assign material properties to a part by telling Pro/E to read them from a material file.  In a materials library you can create files for all the different materials you use.  (ie. One file for Aluminum_6061-T6, one for Nylon_6-6, one for Generic_Mag . . . .)  You can be as specific or generic as desired.

Material File
Figure 1.  Sample Material File

Side Note . . . .

PTC still has not created a good way of handling the material parameter -- that is a good way of having Pro/E automatically read the material name from the file so it can be displayed (for instance) on a drawing.  However, there is a work around given by PTC that can work.  It is documented in a PTC TPI (on their web site, but I could not find it just now).  Basically, you put the name as the "Condition" value in a material file, then display that.

Continuing . . . .

To have Pro/E take the name from the material file, 3 things must be done:
(... in this order.)

  1. Create the material file with the value for the Material Parameter in the "Condition" field as shown in Figure 1.
  2. Assign the material to the part. Setup > Material > Assign > From File ...
  3. Create the following relation to read it:
Note:  In the sample of Figure 1, the name is the same as the title of the file, but it is the "Condition" field that is important.

To make this a little more automated, it is nice to have the "Material" relation already created in the StartPart.  However, another quirk with Pro/E makes it so you cannot create the "Material" relation unless a material is already assigned.

The trick around this is to have an "Unassigned.mat" material assigned to your StartPart.  This does three things:

  1. The condition field of the "Unassigned.mat" file is "Material_Unassigned" or "-----".  This is great on a drawing because it is easy to see a missing assignment.
  2. The above Material relation can already be created in the StartPart so when you assign a material to the part it will automatically update the Material parameter.
  3. Assigning a density in the "Unassigned.mat" file that is several orders of magnitude heavier than the norm will alert you to an unassigned part when you do a Mass Properties calculation, and it will allow the Mass Properties calculation to occur easily without asking for densities and/or coordinate systems.

Experiment with variations on this theme to accommodate your specific needs.  See the August 2004 Tip-of-the-Month for more information on using material files in model analysis.


Have a Wonderful Month !!
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