Use the Batch Importer

Administrators open this window using Tools menu ➔ Batch Importer... The menu command is shown when the user's role has Collections/Rules administrator marked.

You can import new parts, documents and files, as well as update your existing item records, using the Batch Importer tool. The tool also simplifies setup by importing collections of related information such as organizations, groups, materials, and user accounts.

After your data is imported, you can put it under change control by releasing the pending iterations.

Many attributes on the item's General, Attributes, and Notes pages can be imported in the Item Master import file. Lists of related objects — BOM items, approved sources, references, materials, and file attachments — are imported using separate relationship import files.

The Batch Importer is used to import correct data from another "known to be good" source (MRP/ERP, PDX packages, Access/Excel, etc.). Import files must always contain correct and consistent data. PDXpert uses this good-quality data to check rules, match collections, and construct relationships.

For every import using Batch Importer tool:

  • Save the database before importing.

  • Inspect the data before importing.

  • Monitor the import log for errors.

  • Review the data after import.

Do not "fix" failed items after they're imported into PDXpert. Failed imports may damage earlier items and relationships.

If any import row shows a FAIL:

  • Correct the import file.

  • Restore the database to its most recent pre-import backup.

  • Re-import the corrected file.

The Batch Importer tool can make and update iteration details only on an item's first pending iteration. The tool can update item-level values — such as part unit cost, custom attributes, materials and item files & external links — at any time. Collection members can be imported and updated without regard to item release state. Each import file's help topic tells whether it's a collection import, iteration-level import or item-level import. The item master import file contains a mix of attributes; the Item Master help topic shows the attributes that can be updated after the item's first release.

Importer controls §

Import data template §

This selection list shows all of the import options. Each of the options has its own import template and rules, and is described in the related help topic.

Select an Import Type, and then click the Import or Export button.

Add missing collection members §

When the checkbox is marked, a missing collection member is automatically added to the collection. For example, marking the Organization checkbox will add a new Organizations collection member when the imported row contains an Owner value that doesn't exist.

  • These options are used only when importing the Item Master file.

  • A new collection member contains only the name and the collection's default values. After importing, each new member must be configured.

When using these options, each imported row must have correct and consistent collection members. When the row value is imported, the current collection members are searched for an exact match. A new collection member is made when the imported member is simply misspelled or shortened; for example, even if Acme Manufacturing exists, importing Acme Mfg. isn't matched, and is created as a new member.

Using collection import templates (such as the Collection: Organizations import file), and leaving the Item Master import options unmarked, helps prevent unwanted collection members.

Copy Status §

Click this button to copy the import status to the Windows clipboard.

Import §

After selecting the Import Type, click the Import button to find and import the related import file.

The status summary shows the import progress, and predicts when the import will finish based on rows already imported. The estimate is adjusted based on other computer tasks; adding new items (slower) or updating existing items (faster); and item complexity (documents are faster than parts, custom attributes are slower, small files and web links are much faster than large attachments).
Cancel §

Click the Cancel button to stop importing the current file. There may be some delay before the server can respond.

Export §

After selecting the Import Type, click the Export button to export the related import template. The template contains the columns described in each import file help topic.

For your convenience, exported templates include most data you've previously imported. Important exceptions are:

  • The Item Masters export does not include any information for released iterations, such as current revision and lifecycle.

  • The List: Revision Files export contains only the column headers, and no revision file data rows.

  • The List: Item Files and Links export contains only the item file names, without the original file path location.

Exporting a file import template does not copy files from the library.

Data not included in the exported templates can be exported using one or more Transforms collection queries.

Future PDXpert releases may change (or exclude) data in exported templates.

Close §

Click the Close button to stop all importing and close the tool.

General import procedure §

Before importing your data, back up your database. The import tool can make big changes to your database, and can overwrite data on previously-imported items. You cannot undo the changes it makes; you can only restore your backup database.

You should be the only user logged into the system when using this tool.

The test software limits the number of items you can use without a license key. If you plan to import more than a few thousand items, request a software license key.

The PDXpert website shows an on-line tutorial with example data. Search the web for PDXpert import tutorial.

If you want to import a single bill of materials into an assembly's BOM, refer to the Import a CAD BOM topic.

  1. Make your import file(s) after reading the related help topics for these files.

  2. Click on the Tools menu and select the Batch Importer... command. The Batch Importer tool opens.

    The Batch Importer... command is visible only to users with a Role that has been marked with the Collections/Rules administrator permission.

  3. Select the Import Type for the data file: Item Masters …, List: BOM …, List: References …, List: Sources …, etc.

  4. When importing Item Master data, you can specify whether new collection members should be added during import. If you want collection members added "on the fly", mark the appropriate Create missing collection member(s) checkboxes.

    The checkbox setting may apply to more than one column of the import file. For example, the Person checkbox adds members using data in the Trustee, Person1 and Person2 columns.

  5. Click the Import button, which shows the Open File dialog.

  6. Navigate to the file containing your formatted data, and click the Open button. The import starts immediately.

    To stop the file import, click the Cancel button.

    You can copy the status log messages to the Windows clipboard by clicking the Copy Status button.

  7. After your file(s) have been imported, click the Close button to close the Batch Importer tool.

After import, each new item is available within the PDXpert client for further editing and may ultimately be released on a change form, exactly as though you'd added the record manually.

How to initialize your PLM database §

PDXpert lets you import these records and relationships:

  1. All item master records, which include home organization parts and documents, as well as your partner organization parts and documents.
  2. The relationships between your assemblies and their bill of materials components.
  3. The relationships between your purchased parts and each approved source part.
  4. The relationships between items and their supporting references.
  5. The revision files that are attached to the item records' Revision Files lists, and copied into the file Library.
  6. The item attachments and external links that are attached to item records' Item Files lists, and copied into the file Library.
  7. The materials used to formulate a part.
  8. The contact details (name, abbreviation, website, address, phone) of your partner organizations.
  9. A list of persons who are contacts or account users in your system.
  10. Lists of custom collection members.

Obtaining the import file templates §

Each import file template can be exported as a CSV file.

  1. Open the Batch Importer tool: Tools ➔ Batch Importer...
  2. Select the appropriate format from the Import Type dropdown list.
  3. Click on the Export button, and save the file.

When there is no data in the database, the exported files contain a single row of column headers, as specified in the import file specification help topics.

When data is in the database, it may be included in the export. Use this data to validate how PDXpert interpreted your import file. You can make the simple import template by deleting all data except the first row of labels. You can also use the exported item master data as the basis for on-going updates of item properties (such as part cost).

Preparing your database and item master import file §

Your data files must conform to the import file format specifications. The import procedure can use default values and add new collection members "on the fly". To avoid data errors and make this task as efficient as possible, read the other help topics on importing data before using this procedure.

The Batch Importer can detect certain errors in your data, such as inappropriate data types. It cannot detect problems such as recursive (cyclic) BOM errors, assembly items added as children of component parts, or a part supplier with an inconsistently-spelled name. A careful inspection of import results is your best protection against incorrect data.

If you don't normally have access to the computer containing the PDXpert Application Server, it may be useful to install a copy of the PDXpert Application Server on your local computer. After you've performed these import tasks, you can move the final database and library files to your production server, and uninstall your local PDXpert Application Server.

  • Collect all of your item data into a single ItemMaster.csv file. Item data is everything that has a part or document number, from whatever source: home items and partner items; individual components, consumables, subassemblies and top assemblies.

  • Ensure that file headers are correct (use the Export templates).

  • Within PDXpert, enter or update any data that will remain constant throughout the import procedure. This would include, for example, entering the software license registration key (if any), entering company name & abbreviation, and setting up user accounts.

  • If your items include custom attributes, add the Part Types or Document Types collection members as needed, and then define their custom attributes before importing the related items. If you're importing custom attributes that reference a custom collection, then all members of the collection must exist before your import.

General procedure for importing each file §

You should be the only user logged into the system when using the Batch Importer.

  1. Load your data into the import template.
  2. On the Batch Importer tool, select the correct import format from the Import Type dropdown list.
  3. Click the Import button, and navigate to your import file. When you accept the file, its data is immediately loaded into the database.

Collection members import §

Collections organize similar data that are applied to parts and documents. It's most efficient to import the collections in this sequence:

  • Organizations are your vendors, customers, regulatory agencies, and other entities that own the specifications of parts or documents.

  • Persons are PDXpert users as well as observers of the change workflow.

  • Groups organize your persons into specified responsibilities and interests.

  • Materials are the chemicals and substances that must be tracked for regulatory compliance.

  • Custom collections apply a well-specified set of tags to your parts' and documents' custom attributes.

ItemMaster data import and validation tasks §

The trial software limits the number of items you can use without a license key. If you plan to import more than a few thousand items, request a software license key for your trial.

During the import, the Batch Importer often supplies a reasonable value if the imported value is empty. The default values are shown in the Item Master import format: ItemMaster.csv format column definitions help topic.

Repeat these steps until your imported item master data is accurate and complete:

  1. Review and, if necessary, select the default member of each collection used in the import file, as shown in the Data type column of the Item Master import format help topic. If the import file has a value that isn't yet a member of a collection, and that value should be used as the default member for missing import values, add the missing member and set it as the collection default.

    You must specify a valid collection member in each imported item row that doesn't use the default collection member.

  2. Compare the set of existing collection members to your import data, and edit any mismatched data. For example, if your import data uses the abbreviation EA for each, decide which you want to retain, and then edit the ItemMaster.csv file or modify the PDXpert collection member name.

  3. Back up your database. If you're not satisfied with the import result, you can restore this backup and improve the data for another import.

    See the Back up the database and library help topic.

  4. Import your ItemMaster.csv file containing parts and/or documents that are owned by your organization as well as those owned by partner organizations.

    Review the status results to identify (a) the collection members that were added, (b) which items used default collection members, and (c) which rows were not imported.

    Examine the collections to ensure that all new members are correct. In particular, look for "almost duplicate" collection members. If an imported value has minor variations or errors (like each, EA, eahc), these show as separate entries in your collection. Modify your file to eliminate all but the preferred item.

Until you have a final "almost perfect" imported dataset, it's usually easier to restore your database backup, update your import file and/or PDXpert collections, and re-import the ItemMaster.csv file. See the Restore data from a backup help topic.

Import your items' relations, materials and file attachments §

These files establish bill of materials, source and file relationship between items, and specify relationship properties. All items in these files are simply matched to document and part records in the database, and do not make any new item records. Your import of the ItemMaster.csv data should be complete before importing the relational data files.

Items, not iterations, are matched. Your imported data establishes relationships between the pending iteration of each matched item.

Before importing each of these files, take a backup of your database. If you're dissatisfied with the import, you can restore the backup and then edit and re-import the file.

For each parent item row, you can leave many of the columns empty and use the Batch Importer's default values. Blank (empty) values are specified in the relational import column definition tables.

BOM (bill of materials) import §

The BOM import file identifies the parent-child (or assembly-component) relationship between two items in the PDXpert database, and adds to this relationship a find-item number, quantity, unit of measure and other data. Before you can import the BOM file, both assembly parent and component child must exist.

Parent items and child items must only be parts. If you want to add documents to a parent item, import the relationships using the ItemReferences.csv file.

If you override any of the default values, ensure that each set of assembly records have no duplicate Find numbers, that each Quantity is a positive number, and the Unit (if provided) is compatible with (and preferably identical to) the Default unit of measure selection on the child item's record.

Sources import §

Each purchased part-manufacturer source (parent-child) pair can be given a rank, or preference, on the import row. Since a purchase part in your PLM database can have more than one approved source, you can use duplicate Rank values for interchangeable sources. For example, if there are three equally-qualified primary sources for one purchased part, the import file has 3 rows with the same rank value 1 for each row.

Add child source parts only to parent purchased parts. A document record cannot be a source parent.

References import §

An item-reference (parent-child) pair links the supporting children to the referencing part or document. For example, an assembly part may have reference documents that show the assembly procedure, inspection procedure, and calibration procedure. Each of these documents are shown on the assembly's References list after the relationships are imported.

Files file §

There are separate import formats for revision files, and for item attachments and external links. An item in your PLM database can have more than one file attached to either of the file lists.

Each listed file is copied from the location specified into the PDXpert library, and the file attributes are extracted, then listed on the item record's appropriate Files list.

An imported file attachment must be a fully-qualified folder and filename to a local drive or a network share. If the file is not found at the location specified, then no file is attached.

Final tasks §

After you've imported/updated all of your part and document data:

  1. Check that new collection members have correct attributes. Your Sequences: Identifier collection should be updated to ensure that future item numbers won't conflict with your imported items' identifiers.

  2. Re-index the database: Tools ➔ Index Status... and click the Re-index button.


Help Guide Contents [as PDF]