The Linked Configuration Models functionality makes it possible to combine different Configuration Models into one Configuration Model. With this functionality, it becomes possible to configure parts multiple times in the same configuration or to add the same part more than once by filling in the number you want.
It is also possible to make sure certain requirements are filled in once. These requirements do have dependencies and restrictions in all the underlying Configuration Models. This saves a lot of time because the requirements don’t have to be filled out in all the underlying Configuration Models one by one.
Originally, the functionality is developed in order to configure complete production lines. For example, an agricultural system consists of a weigher, transporter, packaging machine, and palletizer. These machines make up the complete production line, and therefore, the machines do have an influence on each other. For example, the transporter should have the right height to be connected to the packaging machine. To cover the restrictions and dependencies between the different machines you want to combine them with the Linked Configuration Model functionality.
In the first years of Elfsquad, including Linked Configuration Models was the only possible option for the Linked Configuration Models. As we saw a lot of interest in this specific functionality, we wanted to expand the number of use cases we could support with this functionality.
From this insight, the Linked Configurations Model functionality is further developed. To make sure, we didn’t continue with something that would lead to complex functionality, we started from scratch. Therefore, a separate Linked Configuration Model functionality was created.
Because all the Configuration Models can be maintained separately, it is really maintenance friendly. For example, a conveyor Configuration Model is used in many different projects or systems. Once something changes in the conveyor, it only has to be changed in the conveyor Configuration Model and it will be changed for all the other Configuration Models in which the conveyor is used.
Because the main project requirements can be filled in in the main Configuration Model, it saves the user a lot of time.
With project configurations, the manufacturer often supplies several machines in one project or system. For example, to equip one factory hall. The machines are configured separately from each other. However, the machines still have dependencies and restrictions that influence the other machines or that will lead to certain choices in the Bill of Material in general.
Over the total scope of the project, different pricing parts can be added. Think about project management hours, assembly costs, engineering activities, installation, and transportation.
One of the advantages of making the project quote in Elfsquad is that the quoting can be done fast. Imagine a tender, a potential customer asked for a specific solution. As a manufacturer, you have to respond fast. In this case, you have the chance to become the reference supplier with a quote that corresponds with what you will invoice in the end. Every supplier that comes later and offers a lower price has to prove its quality. Every supplier that comes in later and offers a higher price will be compared with your offer. Once specific options are missing in your quote the customer will come back to you and ask if you can offer it. The customer will compare the updated offer with the other offers but you are already in contact with the potential customer. Isn’t that a win?
Although the functionality was developed for the above use case, the functionality was developed in a generic way. This can be seen in the use cases that deal mainly with interior and exterior solutions. Think about kitchen cabinets, roof dormers, windows, doors, and terrace roofs. Often you need multiple parts with the same characteristics but with different dimensions. For example, a kitchen has many different cabinets. All should have the same color and pattern. However, the fridge cabinet and the cabinets above the sink can have different sizes.
With the Linked Configuration Model functionality the color and pattern can be configured in the main Configuration Model and the sizes per cabinet can be configured in the underlying Configuration Model that is added multiple times.
Products or systems might consist of different parts. These parts might all have their own 3D visualization. Once you want to show the customer what it looks like these 3D visualizations have to be combined. The Linked Configurations functionality gives you the opportunity to upload a 3D model per Configuration Model and combine them with attachment nodes.