File naming is important. A company needs to be able to identify and distinguish one item from another quickly. Most companies will have internal guidelines that explains their file naming convention that should be used. For my new CATIA students, figuring out how to manage the filename versus the part name for part/product files is always something that they find confusing.
First, let’s take a look at the CATIA interface. The part name is what you see displayed in the specification tree, whereas the file name is what is displayed in the top area (title bar of the CATIA software). This is true to both singular part files, but also for products (aka assemblies).
Initially, when you make a part file, CATIA will assign a very generic name of Part1, where the number value at the end will increase with each new part created. So, if you create 6 new part files, then the last default name is Part6. I stress to my students to always give their parts meaningful, descriptive names. Even if you are just tinkering with an idea of a design and want it to stay a very informal design, do not leave the name Part1; this renaming is generally where some confusion can occur.
Unlike some other CAD software systems that force the filename and part name to be consistent, you can have a scenario in CATIA where they are different. Now, just because it can happen, doesn’t mean that you should and most companies do not want this. So how can this happen? Imagine you start off with the Part1 default name and you are ready to give it a descriptive name. The process to rename most items in CATIA is to right click and change the part name in the Properties box. This in turn, will also update the filename to match the part name.
Next, you must save the file. When you go to save the file locally, notice that the initial name you have given it auto populates. However, it does allow you to type in a completely different file name in the save box.
Again, this can lead to come confusion. Most larger companies will have a PDM file management system in place and there may be fail safes built into that PDM system that prevent this from happening. Just be sure going forward to know the differences here between the file name and part name when saving locally.
One thing to mention here, there are some internal settings within CATIA that you can turn on that will automatically prompt you to enter a unique name when creating either a part or product from scratch. For a part file, the setting is found under Tools>Options>Infrastructure>Part Infrastructure>Part Document tab>enable Display the “New Part” dialog box. For a product, the setting is found under Tools>Options>Infrastructure>Product Structure>Product Structure tab> enable Manual input.
Trisha West is a technical training engineer at Rand 3D.