Part Numbering System

Hey everyone,

I’m trying to design a part numbering system for a pretty hefty assembly right now, but am having some difficulties, so I’m wondering if anybody here has handled a similar system before.

My goal is to have the system such that anyone familiar with the general layout will be able to come up with the same part number for each component, but I’m not sure that it’s possible. The rationale is that the final CAD will be linked with a Matlab code through a text file, and both the code and CAD are being developed in parallel. I would like to have the part name as “CM-BlMoBr-01” (for example) in the CAD, and the variable defining length in the x-direction to be “length_x_CM-BlMoBr-01” in the code. If I can get this to work, it’ll really improve the workflow as we won’t need to repeatedly exchange part and variable names.

I’ve done some googling, but haven’t found anything that can work in this way.

What I have so far is:

C - Conditioner assembly
M - Mechanical Component (vs fastener or electrical)
BlMoBr - Blade mounting bracket
01 - if multiple components have same abbreviation

Though really, the first two don’t really help except for alphabetical sorting.

Any input would be great.


As long as you define your ‘dynamic part numbering system elements’ in an accompanying engineering doc you should having it covered. Your BOM should show every single variation anyway, so all part numbers would be visible against each other.

Hey Scott, thanks for the input :slight_smile: I was worried less about the user, supplier, etc. interpreting it, as it’ll all be laid out in the doc, BOM, tech drawings, etc. I was more worried about setting it up so that there would be a “predictive” element to it, so that when the parts are referenced in the software, the guy doing the programming doesn’t have to come ask me for part numbers I may not have created yet.

In any case, I had a meeting with my team today about this. It doesn’t look like we can do this, so we’re just going to keep a spreadsheet in dropbox, that we’ll all have to check before creating a part number to make sure it hasn’t already been done.

This is a common issue in engineering groups. Having worked with many, I’ve seen so many part numbering systems, and had mind numbing discussions about such minutiae. It is a universal truth that every company use their own, there is no standardization in part numbering. There are two schools of thought in part numbering: embedded intelligence and dumb numbering.

You are of the embedded intelligence school; the bad news is that these always fail via myriad reasons but mostly gross complexity or ambiguity. You are developing another language that requires continued, multivariate use to engender fluency in your users. Failing that type of regular use, your coded intelligence part numbering system remains incomprehensible to occasional users. Eventually, all coded intelligence part numbering systems run in to ambiguity: parts that just don’t fit into the code, or unexplainable repetition.

All newer PDM systems use a dumb, sequential part numbering system: this is robust, inherently non-ambiguous, never fails computer filing systems with duplicate or uncategorizable parts and completely divorces computer understandable numbers from human understandable identifiers “Blade mounting bracket”.

I’ve worked with companies with multi-million dollar customizations of SAP, JDEdwards, MatrixOne, PDM systems, all having dumb sequential part numbering. Eventually, over a fairly short time, the benefits become obvious. Conversely, introductions to yet another company’s “length_x_CM-BlMoBr-01” or similar system (example 03._4300IVS-8x8x13-250hp-2P-445TSC-ODP-D2 from one of my clients, one of 128 high level part numbers sent on a job) is mind numbingly confusing. One company I work with maintains two separate part numbering systems because they lack the will to decide on one, blend, or develop new: revisions are beyond torturous on part number updating. My own company uses dumb sequential part numbering from a commonly accessible list similar to what you describe in your Dropbox; I don’t care what the numbers are used for (parts, assemblies, drawings, presentations, invoices), as long as they’re used, never failed in 8 years.

Thanks a lot for the insight pier! 03._4300IVS-8x8x13-250hp-2P-445TSC-ODP-D2 sounds tortuous… I read that 7 digits is the limit for repeatable data entry, so hopefully nobody is entering those by hand!

I can see advantages of both, and since the predictive element I originally wanted isn’t necessary with the communal document, I ended up taking the middle out, kinda making a hybrid between the two. The first two digits will represent the subassembly and component type to help with sorting, then the numbers will iterate (CM-01).