Inventor General

Posts: 317
Registered: ‎11-24-2005
Message 1 of 8 (465 Views)

How do you handle sending ‘electronic’ files to suppliers?

465 Views, 7 Replies
08-27-2011 12:58 PM


Hope you’re having a good weekend. I know it’s not really the best place to ask this question but it’s sort of related to Inventor so I’ll fire away;-)

We use Inventor 2012 to model parts and assemblies then create .idw files to produce a paper hard copy, wet signed manufacturing drawing. This paper drawing is our ‘master’ data. The signed drawing is then scanned full size and the resultant .pdf is added into our ERP system and then eventually released to everyone outside of Engineering.

The CAD side of things is not integrated with the ERP system and so we use Vault to control our electronic files.


More and more nowadays our suppliers are requesting our Purchasing department if they can send a .dwg or .dxf, to accompany the signed, scanned .pdf. This I have no problem with, as each drawing is clearly marked with its revision. For this, we burn the requested files onto 2 CDs and keep 1 CD in the drawing office. This is then logged in an excel spreadsheet so we can record the supplier, date, drawings requested and their issue. It’s laborious and a bit long winded but very unambiguous.


What I am more concerned about is the requests we are getting for model data i.e. .stp files usually for a casting or suchlike. These are more difficult to control as they are not marked or identified with any revision.


Do many of you guys/gals on here send model files out to suppliers? If yes, how are you documenting and controlling the revision of model that is sent out to them?

Also, if you have any suggestions for simplifying how we send .dxf drawings out it would be appreciated.


Look forward to some useful information.



Valued Contributor
Posts: 112
Registered: ‎09-24-2009
Message 2 of 8 (439 Views)

Re: How do you handle sending ‘electronic’ files to suppliers?

08-28-2011 04:52 PM in reply to: markc-uk

We put a standard note on the drawing, stating that the part is to be manufactured using a DXF file that has the same revision as the drawing.

We send out a DXF file named after the drawing number and revision, i.e.: DRAWINGNUMBERrev2.DXF

Posts: 317
Registered: ‎11-24-2005
Message 3 of 8 (391 Views)

Re: How do you handle sending ‘electronic’ files to suppliers?

08-30-2011 05:14 AM in reply to: DVDM

Thanks for the reply DVDM.


Does anyone else care to add their 2 pence worth?!

*Expert Elite*
Posts: 1,170
Registered: ‎06-19-2006
Message 4 of 8 (368 Views)

Re: How do you handle sending ‘electronic’ files to suppliers?

08-30-2011 07:00 AM in reply to: markc-uk

We don't send out native files, only dxf, dwg, pdf, or stps.  Our standard note on our print says that the stp file controls the geometry and that the 2d print is for tolerances and reference only.


We had our reseller write a program that generates the 2d and 3d files when a drawing is complete.  They are named PART NUMBERrREVISON NUMBER.FILE EXTENSION.  The program stores these files in vault.  We use a 2nd program that takes an assembly file and collects all the required component files (2d and 3d) into a single zipped archive.  That is emailed to the various vendors for bid. 



Inventor 2014
Vault Professional 2014
Valued Mentor
Posts: 403
Registered: ‎05-07-2007
Message 5 of 8 (344 Views)

Re: How do you handle sending ‘electronic’ files to suppliers?

08-30-2011 10:58 AM in reply to: markc-uk

For us we need a confidential agreement in place in order for a supplier to see our information even if its a PDF of the drawing.   For a supplied to get the actual CAD file, they have to sign a separate agreement to indicated what is the purpose behind this request.   Also in our Company we take extra steps (granted its a pain sometimes) to protect our Intellectual Property (IP) and to adhere to US Gov Export/ITAR laws.   As I hear more about US export restrictions from our internal expert, the more I wonder what other US Companies are doing to adhere to these rules.   So word of advice..  If your information is leaving US Borders, even if you didn't do it...  I would start investigating to make sure you are okay.   Sorry a little off topic...


So to answer your question...   We convert our Inventor models over to DWG format and provide that information.   If they need a true solid model, then we convert to IGES, SAT, or STEP format..   But we never send the actual model structure to them.

Posts: 317
Registered: ‎11-24-2005
Message 6 of 8 (312 Views)

Re: How do you handle sending ‘electronic’ files to suppliers?

08-31-2011 11:12 AM in reply to: Lancasterm

Interesting thought Lancasterm. We too have to adhere to ITAR regs and have to be very careful and mindful of 'technology transfer'.


How do record what models, and what revisions have been sent to what suppliers? Do you simply record it in a spreadsheet or something? Or do you burn the file onto a disc like we do?


Thanks for the input.


Valued Mentor
Posts: 403
Registered: ‎05-07-2007
Message 7 of 8 (285 Views)

Re: How do you handle sending ‘electronic’ files to suppliers?

09-01-2011 06:24 AM in reply to: markc-uk

For us..  Everything is handle through our Contract Admin (CA)/purchasing groups and the information is transferred based on the contract/end-user requirements.   So the CA's manage all of the transmittals or work with the assigned purchasing individual.


But In most cases, we send electronically through our Streamline (Buzzsaw) site and the site does the management of revisions and etc for us.

Posts: 17
Registered: ‎08-26-2011
Message 8 of 8 (277 Views)

Re: How do you handle sending ‘electronic’ files to suppliers?

09-01-2011 06:52 AM in reply to: Lancasterm

I've worked for two different companys that approached this problem very differently. In the first we refused to give anyone models, often time prints that were given to suplliers were incomplete or even slightly wrong and then we finished parts in house.The suppliers that did have our intelectual property were all under strict contract as were those of us in the engineering department.


My current company actually sends new prints or step files with each PO. In my department I work closely with just a few suplliers so I send them updated prints/files as we have new revisions come out but for everyone else when the PO goes out the purchasing people pull the print and or model off of our server and send it new each time. This leaves the responcibility on us to make sure the stuff on the server is the most up to date. Our internal database does include rev level listings as well but with us just instituting a new program those details aren't relaible yet.



Joe F.
Project Engineer
Traffic and Parking Control Company

You are not logged in.

Log into access your profile, ask and answer questions, share ideas and more. Haven't signed up yet? Register

Are you familiar with the Autodesk Expert Elites? The Expert Elite program is made up of customers that help other customers by sharing knowledge and exemplifying an engaging style of collaboration. To learn more, please visit our Expert Elite website.

Need installation help?

Start with some of our most frequented solutions to get help installing your software.

Ask the Community

Inventor Exchange Apps

Created by the community for the community, Autodesk Exchange Apps for Autodesk Inventor helps you achieve greater speed, accuracy, and automation from concept to manufacturing.

Connect with Inventor