Legacy Part Requests

This documentation page references Altium NEXUS/NEXUS Client (part of the deployed NEXUS solution), which has been discontinued. All your PCB design, data management and collaboration needs can now be delivered by Altium Designer and a connected Altium 365 Workspace. Check out the FAQs page for more information.


Parent page: Creating a New Component

The number of design components available to an engineer when capturing their next design can vary from a few hundred scattered across individual symbol and model libraries to hundreds of thousands, stored in a dedicated company parts database. But no matter how many components are available to hand, there will always be more that aren't, and that need to be created and added for reuse.

For a small design house, an engineer will simply change 'hats' and become the Librarian – whipping up required components that are missing from their design arsenal. However, for a larger organization that employs a dedicated library department to grow and maintain the design components – accessible to all engineers and designers in that organization – it makes sense to submit requests for new (missing) components to that department. Providing an elegant solution to this, Altium NEXUS, in conjunction with your connected Workspace, offers the Part Requests feature.

An engineer can simply put in a request for one or more parts to be created, and get notified when that request has either been completed, and the component(s) made available or rejected (and why). The requestor supplies as much key information to support their request as possible (manufacturer and part number(s), description(s), any relevant datasheet (PDF or URL)). Stub components can even be created that the librarian can then run with (and finish off).

This document takes a look at the Part Requests feature from within Altium NEXUS, including starting a request and viewing a request. For information on configuring the feature (nominating librarians, customizing states) and using it from your Workspace's browser interface, see Part Requests (for an Altium 365 Workspace or a NEXUS Server Workspace).
This document looks at the legacy Part Requests feature and functionality available when connected to a NEXUS Server Workspace. More powerful Part Request functionality based on Workflows is enabled by default. To use this legacy approach, enable the Legacy Part Requests Active option, on the Admin – Settings – Vault – Legacy Part Requests page of the Workspace's browser interface. Once this is done, an additional page – Legacy Part Requests – will appear as part of the Workspace's browser interface.

Creating Part Requests

Part Requests can be created and maintained within Altium NEXUS, through the Explorer panel.

Initially, a part request is visible to the original requestor, and all members of the nominated librarian role(s). Once the request has been assigned to a particular librarian, only the requestor and that librarian will see it, and receive notifications about it.

Adding a Request

A new part request can be added from the Explorer panel's Part requests folder selected on the panel's Folders tab, using the button at the top-right of the panel. Also, if the search for a component is unsuccessful, the button will become available, above the results window on the Search tab of the Explorer panel. To add a new part request click this button and choose the New Request (Legacy) command from the subsequent menu. The New Part Request dialog will appear, in which to define the request.

Be sure to use the New Request (Legacy) command, if you're wanting to request a part using the legacy part request functionality. Entries in the menu that do not have the (Legacy) suffix are activated process definitions that are part of the Part Requests theme and based on process workflow technology.

Adding a new part request directly from within Altium NEXUS, through the Explorer panel.
Adding a new part request directly from within Altium NEXUS, through the Explorer panel.

Use the controls in the dialog to supply as much information as possible:

  • Manufacturer – this is a mandatory field to indicate to the librarian who actually makes the part.
  • Manufacturer Part Numbers – this is a mandatory field indicating to the librarian the specific part number(s) of the parts you need them to make. Multiple part numbers must be separated by a comma (,).

    The Manufacturer and Manufacturer Part Numbers fields are the two key pieces of information with which the assigned librarian can find the correct part(s) being requested. Hence the reason they are the only two mandatory fields. All other information is a bonus and/or allows your input on what certain attributes of the component should be (for example parameters, and component type).
  • Description – this field can be used to give a rich description of the part (typically taken from the manufacturer datasheet).
  • Request Id – an ID is automatically generated with, and assigned to, the request, enabling users to easily track the request's progress.
  • Required To Date – use this field to specify the date by which you need the component(s) to be ready. Either type the date directly (in the format dd/mm/yyyy) or click the button to the right to access a pop-up calendar window, with which to specify the required date.
  • State – this read-only field is used to specify the status of the request. The default state for a new request is New.
    While there are five default states in which a request can find itself, you are free to customize these states, or add more, to suit company requirements. This can be done through the Workspace's browser interface.
  • Assignee – this field shows which librarian is currently working on the request. The drop-down field lists all Workspace members who are part of the nominated Librarian role(s), the latter of which is nominated through the relevant admin page of the Workspace's browser interface.

    This field should typically be left unspecified, unless a librarian is creating the request and knows who should work on the part from the outset. Initially, all librarians will see the request, and then one can step forward to assign the request to themselves. Librarians can also pass the request between each other, for example, if another has a little additional bandwidth to accommodate the request.
  • Component Type – this field can be used to specify the type of component being requested. The drop-down list will include all types currently defined on the Data Management – Component Types page of the Preferences dialog.
  • Attachments – this area can be used to attach any useful files related to the requested part. For example a PDF datasheet, an image, or a document. Click the button to locate the file(s) through a standard dialog.

    Files of any format can be attached and can be up to 2GB in size.
  • Part List – use this area to specify any existing component(s) in the Workspace, which you have created as temporary stub components. Click the button and browse for the required component accordingly. The librarian can then run with this to fulfil the request. If no stub part exists, the librarian will simply create a new component in the Workspace, along with requisite domain models (if they do not already exist).
  • Parameters – this area can be used to add a set of specific parameters required for the part(s). Click the button and use the subsequent fields to provide a name and value for the parameter. If no parameters are specified, the librarian will likely fall back to addition of the parameters in a related datasheet for that part, in accordance with organizational policy.

Once all information is defined as required – and essentially the Manufacturer and Manufacturer Part Numbers (which are mandatory) – click the OK button to effect creation of the request.

Viewing Part Requests

At any time, a user can view the part requests that they were responsible for initiating (Requestor), or are responsible for working on (Librarian). This can be performed from the Explorer panel. For both the originator of a part request (Requester) and the user(s) defined in roles associated with the Librarian role (Librarians), requests are presented through the Explorer panel using a dedicated Part requests folder.

Example Part Requests in the Part requests folder. A user will see the parts they have requested. A librarian will see the parts that they have been assigned to work on, as well as those that have yet to be assigned.
Example Part Requests in the Part requests folder. A user will see the parts they have requested. A librarian will see the parts that they have been assigned to work on, as well as those that have yet to be assigned.

The number next to the Part requests folder name indicates how many requests there are.
For a designer/engineer, the folder will present entries for only those parts they have actually requested. For a librarian, they will see part requests specifically assigned to them, as well as part requests that have yet to be assigned to a particular librarian.

Selecting a request in the upper region will display an information stream in the lower region. This information provides a running summary of any event occurring in relation to that request, including any comments made by the requestor or librarian. Each entry in the stream consists of the following elements:

  • Created At – the date and time at which the event took place.
  • Created By – the user responsible for the event (either the requestor, or a librarian).
  • Description – an entry that consists of an auto-generated message, along with any comment included by the requestor/librarian.

Editing an Existing Part Request

To edit an existing part request, either double-click on its entry in the upper region, or select it and choose the Edit command from the region's right-click context menu.

Accessing the dialog with which to edit an existing part request.
Accessing the dialog with which to edit an existing part request.

Make changes as required, then click OK.

Controlling Data Display

Take a look at the following sections for more information on working with the data presented in the Part requests folder.

Additional Operations

The right-click context menu for the upper region also contains the following useful commands when working with part requests:

  • Operations » Create Component – this command allows you to quickly create a shell Component Item from the part request, giving the assigned Librarian a starting point with which to craft the required component. The temporary Component Editor will open in Altium NEXUS in its Single Component Editing mode – ready for direct editing of the component. Define the component, add domain models, and save to the Workspace.
  • Operations » Export Data – this command allows you to export the data from the upper region. The Select columns for data export dialog will appear. Use this to determine the data you wish to export. The dialog contains all possible columns for the grid, with those that are currently displayed in the panel enabled for export by default. After clicking OK, the standard Windows Save As dialog will appear. Use the dialog to define where, and with what name, the exported file is to be saved. Use the Save as type field to choose the format of file – either Comma-Separated Values Files (*.csv), or Excel Files (*.xls).
  • Close » Completed – can be used (typically) by the librarian to quickly mark the part request as being complete, without having to open the request for editing.
  • Close » Rejected – can be used (typically) by the librarian to quickly reject the part request, without having to open the request for editing.
  • Close » Cancelled – can be used by the librarian (or requestor) to quickly cancel the part request, without having to open the request for editing.
A command is also available from this right-click menu to create a new part request. This would typically be used by the designer/engineer requiring a missing part, but could also be used by a librarian to kick off a new part directly.
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