Dynamic positioning with Options and Variants in Windchill.

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Anders Kullenberg

Dynamic positioning with Options and Variants in Windchill

Dynamic positioning is a topic related to managing configurable products. I usually connect this with lots of documentation and not seldom, even worse, incomplete documentation.

It may be challenging to have lots of variants with many options available. How do you keep track of and manage that? There are many factors to keep count on, like how you combine them and which restrictions apply. How do you document this efficiently? How do you take care of the different variations within the product structure?

To manage this, profound product knowledge is often required. I often perceive this as cumbersome. And if you have deep knowledge, you may have more valuable stuff to do than manually handle and keep track of all options.

Windchill addresses these issues within what is called Options and Variants. Here you can create configurable product structures. It allows you to generate or filter down specific variants and will become a complete Bom.


First, let me do a short recap of the configuration concepts within Windchill.

  1. Modules: These are variant stable modules or building blocks comprising a collection of components that you put together. With access to many different modules, you can easily combine the different variants for your product.
  2. 150 percent Bom: It could also be called “The overpopulated Bom” or “Configurable Bom”. This is where you combine your different modules in a structure that you use to generate variants.
  3. Controls: The third concept we call Controls. Here, you have options and rules that define how you can combine these options. Assign these controls with the 150 percent Bom.
  4. Configurations: This allows you to generate variant specifications, the recipe for a configuration. That we can call the 100 percent Bom: the specific Bom for each variant.


The new dynamic positioning is a so-called positioning architecture that you can define. It has three key concepts.

  1. Configurable modules: This is a selection of all different variant stable modules that you have. In the positioning architecture, they represent each occurrence of those. For instance, you have four wheels in a car. You will then have all four occurrences of the wheel in the positioning architecture.
  2. Interface: This coordinate system represents the relation between different configurable modules: a wheel attached to an axle, for instance.
  3. Locators: These are coordinate systems you map and use to calculate the relative position of each interchangeable variant stable module.


With Dynamic positioning, you can look at all the different variants you have for each product in the correct positioning using no CAD tool. It allows you to see the product in different states and shapes. This is a giant leap forward in functionality and will save you much time and pain.

So, what do you need to take part of and use these functionalities? First, you need Windchill with all necessary components in place, like Part, CAD, and Change management.

With that said, these are the steps:

  1. Implement Options and Variants.
  2. Modularize your product. Define the variant stable modules and the options, choices, and option sets you have. Then you create your overpopulated 150 percent Bom.
  3. Implement Dynamic positioning.
  4. Identify the mechanical interfaces between the different modules. It is a good practice to drive communality in interfaces and use as many modules as possible with the same interface.
  5. Set up guidelines for the coordinate systems.
  6. Create locators based on those guidelines.
  7. Define the positioning architecture.

If you are more curious about this and you would like to see it demonstrated, you can watch me present it on this webinar -> Dynamic Positioning with Options & Variants

Anders Kullenberg, Head of Business Consulting, PDSVISION


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