Working with OpenBOM multi-level BOMs and property configurations

I am often asked about multi-level BOM. It’s not a simple topic. I’ve been writing about multi-level BOM view several time before, here, and here. But as I’m getting more and more questions about it, I’ve decided another blog will be good to help our users trying to get into the nuts and bolts of multi-level BOMs.

The confusing thing about multi-level BOMs for engineers is they think about them as a reflection of their assembly-component structure from CAD. Although it’s okay to think of them as such, the important point to remember is that the OpenBOM model is more flexible and allows you to do many things you cannot do with CAD structures.

Single-level BOM is the basic model for a BOM

In OpenBOM a single level BOM is identified by a Part Number of the Root item (or BOM Part Number); it’s the one you think of when you build multiple levels. In OpenBOM, everything is built from single level BOMs. They exist independently and can have a separate set of properties. It is good to think of them as such because you can then think about multiple disciplines of data and product definitions connected to Part Numbers. So this means a Part Number as a BOM item could actually be a BOM Part Number. By doing this, OpenBOM automatically connects levels together into multi-levels.

Multi-level BOM is a view

In OpenBOM, a multi-level BOM is a view that visualizes all levels by pulling Part number to part number relationships. It’s that simple.

Properties in multi-level BOM views

Each single level BOM might have its own set of properties. They can be created as a result of an import or manually. What you see in a multi-level BOM is controlled by View configuration in the Info Panel. The list of properties in View configuration is controlled by an algorithm that identifies a common set of properties in all BOM levels. You can then create a view configuration for your multi-level BOM. Once done, you can see properties and multi-levels in your BOM.

When you open a multi-level BOM view for the first time, the configuration UI opens up (it will be eliminated in the next production update and all properties will be automatically selected). Today, properties for the view are manually selected by the user. You can select what properties should appear in a multi-level BOM view. All other properties will show up in the Info panel.

Conclusion. Flat (single level) BOMs are a fundamental building block for multi-level BOM view. OpenBOM gives you a flexible way to define each level. Also, OpenBOM automatically detects relationships based on Part Numbers. As a result of this, multi-level BOM is a powerful mechanism to create complex multi-disciplinary models and views of data.

Best, Oleg