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Creating Accurate SolidWorks Bill of Materials

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Creating an accurate Solidworks Bill of Materials (BOM) is crucial for efficient manufacturing and assembly processes. A BOM is a comprehensive list of all the components, parts, and materials required to build a product. It provides essential information such as part numbers, quantities, and descriptions, enabling manufacturers to streamline their production workflows and ensure accurate inventory management.

In this article, we will explore the key steps and best practices for creating an accurate SolidWorks BOM. We will delve into the importance of BOM accuracy, discuss different types of BOMs, and provide practical tips for creating and managing BOMs effectively. By following these guidelines, manufacturers can enhance their productivity, reduce errors, and optimize their supply chain management.

The Importance of BOM Accuracy

An accurate BOM is the foundation of a successful manufacturing process. It serves as a reference document for engineers, production managers, and procurement teams, ensuring that the right components are available at the right time. Here are some key reasons why BOM accuracy is crucial:

  • Efficient Production Planning: A well-structured BOM allows production planners to schedule operations, allocate resources, and estimate lead times accurately. It helps in optimizing production workflows and minimizing downtime.
  • Accurate Cost estimation: A BOM with accurate component quantities and costs enables manufacturers to estimate the total cost of production more precisely. This information is vital for pricing decisions, profitability analysis, and budgeting.
  • Effective Inventory Management: An accurate BOM ensures that the right quantity of each component is available in stock. It helps in avoiding stockouts, reducing excess inventory, and optimizing the procurement process.
  • Streamlined Assembly: With an accurate BOM, assembly workers can easily identify and locate the required components. It eliminates confusion, reduces assembly errors, and improves overall productivity.

Types of BOMs

Before diving into the process of creating a SolidWorks BOM, it is essential to understand the different types of BOMs that can be used in manufacturing. Each type serves a specific purpose and provides different levels of detail. The most common types of BOMs include:

1. Engineering BOM (EBOM)

The Engineering BOM, also known as the Design BOM, is the initial BOM created during the product design phase. It represents the product’s structure and includes all the components required to build the product. The EBOM focuses on the engineering and design aspects, providing detailed information about each part’s specifications and relationships.

For example, in the case of a bicycle, the EBOM would include components such as the frame, wheels, brakes, gears, and handlebars. It would specify the dimensions, materials, and other technical details of each part.

2. Manufacturing BOM (MBOM)

The Manufacturing BOM, also known as the Production BOM or the Assembly BOM, is derived from the Engineering BOM. It is optimized for the manufacturing process and includes additional information required for production, such as assembly instructions, manufacturing routings, and work center details.

The MBOM breaks down the product structure into subassemblies and individual components, providing a step-by-step guide for the assembly process. It may also include information about packaging, labeling, and quality control requirements.

3. Service BOM (SBOM)

The Service BOM, also known as the Aftermarket BOM or the Maintenance BOM, is used for servicing and maintaining the product after it has been sold. It includes all the components and spare parts required for repairs, replacements, and routine maintenance.

The SBOM helps service technicians identify the correct parts and quantities needed for a specific repair or maintenance task. It ensures that the right components are available in stock and minimizes downtime for customers.

4. Sales BOM (SABOM)

The Sales BOM, also known as the Marketing BOM or the Configurable BOM, is used for sales and marketing purposes. It represents the product’s features, options, and variations that can be offered to customers.

The SABOM allows sales teams to configure the product according to the customer’s requirements and generate accurate quotations. It helps in managing product variants, pricing options, and customization possibilities.

Creating an Accurate SolidWorks BOM

Now that we have a clear understanding of the different types of BOMs, let’s explore the step-by-step process of creating an accurate SolidWorks BOM:

1. Design the Product in SolidWorks

The first step in creating a SolidWorks BOM is to design the product using the SolidWorks CAD software. This involves creating 3D models of the components, assembling them into subassemblies, and defining the relationships between the parts.

During the design phase, it is crucial to ensure that all the necessary information is captured in the CAD models. This includes part numbers, descriptions, quantities, materials, and any other relevant attributes. Properly defining these attributes will facilitate the BOM creation process later on.

2. Create the Engineering BOM (EBOM)

Once the product design is complete, the next step is to create the Engineering BOM (EBOM) in SolidWorks. The EBOM represents the product’s structure and includes all the components required to build the product.

To create the EBOM, follow these steps:

  1. Select the top-level assembly in SolidWorks.
  2. Go to the “File” menu and choose “Save As.”
  3. Select the desired file format for the BOM, such as Excel or CSV.
  4. Specify the file name and location for the BOM file.
  5. Choose the BOM configuration options, such as including/excluding subassemblies or hidden components.
  6. Click “Save” to generate the EBOM file.

The generated EBOM file can be opened in a spreadsheet program for further editing and formatting. It provides a comprehensive list of all the components, their quantities, and other relevant attributes.

3. Derive the Manufacturing BOM (MBOM)

Once the EBOM is created, the next step is to derive the Manufacturing BOM (MBOM) from it. The MBOM is optimized for the manufacturing process and includes additional information required for production.

To derive the MBOM, follow these steps:

  1. Review the EBOM and identify any components or subassemblies that need to be excluded from the MBOM. For example, certain components may be purchased as pre-assembled units and do not require further manufacturing.
  2. Add any additional components or subassemblies that are required for the manufacturing process but not included in the EBOM. For example, fixtures, jigs, or tooling.
  3. Include any manufacturing-specific information, such as assembly instructions, manufacturing routings, work center details, and quality control requirements.
  4. Save the MBOM as a separate file, using the desired file format.

The derived MBOM provides a detailed breakdown of the product structure, assembly instructions, and other manufacturing-related information. It serves as a guide for the production team and ensures that the product is manufactured correctly.

4. Create the Service BOM (SBOM)

In addition to the EBOM and MBOM, it is essential to create a Service BOM (SBOM) for servicing and maintenance purposes. The SBOM includes all the components and spare parts required for repairs, replacements, and routine maintenance.

To create the SBOM, follow these steps:

  1. Review the EBOM and identify the components that are likely to require servicing or replacement during the product’s lifecycle.
  2. Add any additional spare parts or consumables that may be needed for routine maintenance.
  3. Include any service-specific information, such as service instructions, recommended spare parts lists, and maintenance schedules.
  4. Save the SBOM as a separate file, using the desired file format.

The SBOM ensures that service technicians have access to the correct spare parts and maintenance information, minimizing downtime for customers and improving overall customer satisfaction.

5. Manage and Update the BOMs

Creating accurate BOMs is not a one-time task. BOMs need to be managed and updated throughout the product’s lifecycle to reflect any changes or revisions.

Here are some best practices for managing and updating BOMs:

  • Version Control: Implement a version control system to track changes and revisions to the BOMs. This ensures that everyone is working with the latest version and avoids confusion or errors caused by outdated information.
  • Change Management: Establish a formal change management process to handle any changes or updates to the BOMs. This process should include a review and approval mechanism to ensure that changes are properly evaluated and implemented.
  • Collaboration and Communication: Foster collaboration and communication between different teams involved in the BOM creation and management process. This includes engineers, production managers, procurement teams, and service technicians. Clear communication channels and regular meetings can help in resolving any issues or discrepancies.
  • Integration with PLM and Erp systems: Integrate the BOMs with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for seamless data exchange and synchronization. This ensures that BOM information is consistent across different systems and departments.

By following these best practices, manufacturers can ensure that their BOMs are always up to date, accurate, and reliable.


Creating accurate SolidWorks Bill of Materials (BOMs) is essential for efficient manufacturing and assembly processes. An accurate BOM enables efficient production planning, accurate cost estimation, effective inventory management, and streamlined assembly. There are different types of BOMs, including Engineering BOMs (EBOMs), Manufacturing BOMs (MBOMs), Service BOMs (SBOMs), and Sales BOMs (SABOMs), each serving a specific purpose.

The process of creating an accurate SolidWorks BOM involves designing the product in SolidWorks, creating the EBOM, deriving the MBOM, creating the SBOM, and managing and updating the BOMs throughout the product’s lifecycle. By following best practices such as version control, change management, collaboration, and integration with PLM and ERP systems, manufacturers can ensure that their BOMs are accurate, up to date, and reliable.

Accurate BOMs are the backbone of successful manufacturing operations, enabling manufacturers to optimize their production workflows, reduce errors, and enhance their supply chain management. By investing time and effort in creating accurate BOMs, manufacturers can improve their productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

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