Warning: This is Part 3 of a 4 part series on merging Autodesk Fabrication Databases. Autodesk Fabrication software is extremely powerful and flexible but that also makes it very fragile. Use the below guidance with caution. I highly recommend backing up your configuration before attempting anything I’ve recommended. It never hurts to have a firm grasp of how Autodesk Fabrication functions from an administrative perspective. Consider yourself warned!
Method 3: Service Export/Import
This method is very similar to Method 2 above except that it works on a full service and all the items within it’s service template. If you have an existing service you want to post from one Database to another, this is a great method. Even if you just have a library of multiple ITM’s, it’s very common to create a transport service. That service holds those ITM’s and can be used as a means to get ITM’s from one database to another. Here are the steps.
From CADmep, type EXPORTSYS at the command line or in ESTmep or CAMduct, while in the Takeoff screen, select Takeoff -> Services -> Export as shown below…
This displays the Export Systems dialog. Use the Browse button to select the location and name of the *.IEZ export file. Select the service(s) you wish to export and click the Export button.
Importing is a similar process. Type IMPORTSYS from CADmep or from the Takeoff screen in ESTmep or CAMduct, select Takeoff -> Services -> Import as shown below…
You are prompted to select an *.IEZ file for import. The file will be read and display all the services that were exported. Select those you want to import and click Import.
Because IEZ imports can contain a lot of data, it’s likely you may have a lot of duplicates. Upon import, you are prompted if you’d like to Import ALL or NEWER item. Select as appropriate for your situation as shown below.
If Estimating data is found, you are also prompted to Replace or Keep existing tables. Because the database you are importing to is likely your current desired database, I’d recommend to Keep existing tables and only Replace if you intend to bring over labor and cost data in the Import. Once again, choose the option that best suits your needs as shown below.
Like in Method 1 earlier, if the import finds a service or template it thinks is the same, it’ll prompt you how to proceed. I highly recommend NOT selecting the “….To All” options as it’s common for the database index to cause false matches and mislead you.
You are prompted once the import is complete. As with Method 2, if ITM’s imported through this process contain new database entries, you’ll need to find those and make them permanent in a similar way.
Pros: > Easiest way to import large numbers if ITM’s and their related database entries. > Easy way to import Services and Service Templates Cons: > Slowest of all process do to all the verification the Import process needs to do. > Can Import a lot more data than you intend. > Can not pick and choose individual database entries to import
Stay tuned for Method 4 in my next and last post in this series.
Warning: This is Part 1 of a 4 part series on merging Autodesk Fabrication Databases. Autodesk Fabrication software is extremely powerful and flexible but that also makes it very fragile. Use the below guidance with caution. I highly recommend backing up your configuration before attempting anything I’ve recommended. It never hurts to have a firm grasp of how Autodesk Fabrication functions from an administrative perspective. Consider yourself warned!
You shouldn’t find yourself merging parts of different Fabrication databases very often. If you do, you may want to revisit your database management workflow and practices.
However there are a number of legitimate reasons you may do it. Most common is the database you’re using now isn’t the one you used a few years ago because you started over. It’s common for a Fabrication database to be a mess. They’re hard to learn and understand and while you learn, you do a little damage unknowingly. Maybe it’s turnover of the staff managing your configuration. Each new person will say they know how to manage Fabrication and what you’re doing is wrong. So they fix it. In the end, you end up with a mix of database management “Styles”.
And last but not least, it’s because trades men and women manage your data. Don’t get me wrong. Your trade staff are hands down the most qualified to manage an Autodesk Fabrication configuration. This is why the task gets assigned to them. But ultimately, what do companies “want” them to do? Detailing and modeling….run piping, plumbing, sheet metal, electrical, etc. Management more often than not pushes them to get back to modeling because management really doesn’t understand the importance of a good database. This leads to shortcuts and mismanagement through no fault of those doing the work. They’re doing the best they can given the constraints their under.
Whatever the reason, if you need to merge parts of different Fabrication Database configurations together, I’ll explain four different methods in the coming posts.
Method 1: Importing / Exporting Database Items
Export/Import Database is the most commonly used method. It’s also the most widely know. In 2014 and earlier versions, many of these were separate commands for each part of the database. In the 2015 version, they were wrapped up in a single command. This process allows you to export and import the following items…
Ancillaries (except Kits)
To initiate the Export process, type DBEXPORT at the command line in CADmep. In CAMduct or ESTmep, select File -> Export -> Database Export from the menu as shown below…
Once you start the command the Database Export dialog is displayed. You can switch tabs and select various database entries to export.
Once you’ve selected the items you wish to export, click OK and save the export file.
This *.IOX file contains everything you selected for export. You can then use this file to import those settings into another database configuration. The process for importing is very similar. Type DBIMPORT at the command line in CADmep or pick File -> Import -> Database Import in ESTmep or CAMduct from the menu shown below…
Upon initiating the command, you’re prompted to select an *.IOX file for import. Select the file you wish to import and click OK.
After selecting the file, you are presented with a dialog just like the Export dialog. In this one, you can navigate the various tabs and select what you would like to import.
There is no good way to see what’s available for import without checking all of the tabs. Only items included for export will be displayed. You can pick and choose to import some or all of the items that were in the export file.
If an item you are importing already exists, you can choose to Skip, Duplicate or Overwrite the item. A word of caution, if your configuration has not been managed well, be very careful selecting the Apply to All button. There are times when the items Fabrication thinks are duplicate are indeed different items. This can be due to database corruption or misaligned indexes or any number of other reasons. If you’re concerned, select Apply for each item one at a time to verify the duplicates aren’t unexpected.
Pros: > Easy to use > Most common items supported > Dependent items (e.g. Ancillaries attached to a Support) are included even though they are not displayed. Cons: > Not all database areas supported (e.g. Materials, Ancillary Kits, Notches, etc.)
For Autodesk Fabrication Part users, this is a Hotfix you’ll want to get applied. Since the first release of Fabrication Parts in 2016, there’s been ongoing issues with MEP Systems modeled with Fabrication Parts.
The issues is that to add/remove or update Fabrication services, you need to reload your configuration. This often would cause “disconnects” between parts. Often this would happen for no good reason or explanation as the parts involved may not have even had changes to them.
This has been a difficult issue for Autodesk to resolve because it’s been difficult to reproduce. Since the 2016 until now, Autodesk has slowly made the issue better but it’s still not eliminated. With this hotfix in 2019, Autodesk is taking another stab at it and hopefully it’ll be eliminate. IF not fixed once an for all, hopefully it’ll be another small incremental step better.
You can review the release notes for all Revit 2019 updates here. Look for the notes under 2019.2.1 Hotfix and you’ll see the following note…
“Resolved an issue that could cause MEP Fabrication elements to disconnect when reloading a Fabrication configuration.”
Downloading The Update
The Update is available from the Autodesk Desktop App provided it’s working for you. (Note: Mine seems to lockup or crash repeatedly since installing the Autodesk Desktop Connector. Uninstalling and reinstalling the Desktop App seems to only resolve the issues for a short while)
Alternatively you can download from the Autodesk Accounts portal if you have download permissions given to you from your contract administrator.
If you’re running 2019.0.0 versions of Autodesk Fabrication, you should be aware of this critical issue.
When using purging the fabrication database, the command will delete all of the content on your service templates leaving them with no buttons or content.
There are several ways to access this command. In CADmep, PURGEDB is accessed from the toolbar…
You can also type PURGEDB from AutoCAD’s command line.
From ESTmep or CAMduct, the functionality is accessed from the FILE -> Setup -> Manage Database menu.
The Purge Database command itself displays the following dialog…
Again, in version 2019.0.0 versions of fabrication products, this will remove all content from all of your service templates. Do NOT run the command. Want to see for yourself what happens? Watch this Screen Capture…
This will only be a risk if you are logged into your database with Administrative privileges. In the event you have had this already happen, the only way to restore your services is to restore them from a backup of your database or to rebuild them all manually.