This is the third post in follow up to the single sentence summary post where I am summarizing the key features of Flatter Files.  This post will summarize assemblies.

Assemblies are a collection of drawings that provide a simple way to organize all of the individual drawings needed to complete a task.   The result is a single view of all of the drawings needed such that you don't have to look up each drawing contained in the bill of materials.  Each drawing in the assembly is automatically updated anytime a drawing is revised such that you never have to worry about ensuring your assembly contains the latest version of each drawing.

See this post for a detailed discussion of assemblies.

Revision Control

This is the second post in follow up to the single sentence summary post.

Revision control in the context of Flatter Files is focused on providing a review process and revision history that actually improves the workflow instead of merely causing paperwork hurdles that result in decreased productivity.  When editing begins, the drawing is checked out.  The CAD professional can either do this manually with one click or it can be done automatically when the drawing is first saved.  When a drawing is checked out, anyone viewing the drawing will be notified that it is checked out.  Once editing is finished and the drawing is automatically uploaded the CAD Professional simply checks the drawing in and selects a reviewer.  The reviewer is them sent a review notification.  Once the reviewer accepts the drawing a new revision is created.  The revisions are permanently saved and anytime a drawing is being reviewed all previous versions can be viewed by a simple click.

See this post for further details regarding the overall workflow for the CAD Professional.

Automatic Drawing Uploads

In the one sentence summary post, I mention four features that are key to the Flatter Files product.  The next few posts will briefly describe each of these features in a single paragraph.

Automatic drawing uploads will keep your drawings up to date without having to manually upload them.  A desktop application is installed onto at least one computer that has access to your drawings and access to your CAD software.  The application runs entirely in the background and it's main purpose is to convert your drawings to a PDF file using your CAD software and upload the resulting PDF along with appropriate drawing properties to the web application.  This process can be configured to occur every time a file changes, on a schedule, or only when you the user manually tells it to.  The new version of the PDF file that is uploaded is not displayed to viewers until the drawing revision is approved.

One Sentence Summary

Flatter Files is a web application to help CAD users communicate their drawings to viewers more efficiently by utilizing automatic drawing uploads, revision control, assembly grouping, and link based external sharing.

Drawing Communication

Flatter Files is an application that is focused on improving drawing communication within your organization and with third parties outside your organization.  Historically, the design team handles the drawings and is also responsible for making sure everyone has the correct drawings.  This can be very difficult when drawings are changed or when many drawings are needed to complete a project.  You may have a large bill of materials that contain the part numbers and you must make sure you have the correct drawing for each of the part numbers. Once multiple revisions are introduced, this can become quite a headache to keep organized.

Flatter Files does two specific things to greatly improve drawing communication between the design team and others involved in the project.  First, all drawings and subsequent revisions are automatically uploaded to a central hub that can be accessed.  This requires no additional work by the design team and yet results in full viewing access by simply logging into Flatter Files.  The drawings found are ensured to always be the latest approved revision and if someone views a drawing that is currently being modified they will be notified.  The second thing Flatter Files does to improve drawing communication is it groups your individual drawings into assemblies.  An assembly provides a single view that contains a collection of drawings that are needed to complete a task.  The assembly remains up to date as the drawings are revised.  This eliminates the need to search for all of the related drawings and make sure that you have the latest version.  Instead, just locate the assembly.

These two specific features will greatly reduce the amount of time required by the design team to keep the drawings current and will give everyone in your organization access to the most current information without having to ask for it.

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