I'm sure this has been asked before,
What is the best PDM system for Solidworks (or best bang for the buck).
I want to be able to manage all drawings, parts, assemblys with full web
I would like to be able to enforce some standards and naming conventions
into this config as well as permissions.
Something else that would be of great benefit would be an accessible
database format that I could use for creating some additional custom web
I believe most of my other requirements are standard throughtout the entire
Thanks in advance for everyones feedback.......
Of course you're going to get the obligatory "DBWorks can do that"
answer, so I'll just leave that to the ng resident shill.
You may even get someone who says something about SmarTeam, but SmarTeam
should be the first one eliminated from your list. Many more bad
references than good ones. Ask people about their upgrade experiences
with it. Consultants love SmarTeam because it is a virtual license to
rape and pillage.
Someone selling Conisio might chime in. "New" kid on the block, has
caught the imagination of non-solidworks users, worth looking at, but
not really a PDM system for purists or control freaks.
I would recommend that you take a look at Product Center. Good product,
good SolidWorks integration, good customizability, and great tech
support. Even if the product sucked, which it doesn't, it would be
worth signing on just for the tech support. Competitive sales people
will try to make you question the financial viability of its parent
company, but the product is a good one and has been around for a good
PDMWorks is a nice simple SolidWorks file management tool which has a
decent interface and good functionality for its price. It's probably not
suited to what you are wanting to do, although it might do parts of it
adequately. It does have an available web-based client interface, but
it's not based on a real database. It does have an API, so you could
write custom apps for it, but it's not incredibly extensive. If it
works for you, you could save a ton of money. It might be worth
We all know that Matt really likes PDMworks as its his "bread and butter"...
What I would tell you to do is look at several PDM's created just for
Solidworks, and look to what you want in a pdm today and what you want in a
pdm 6 months from now or one year from now..
So by all means take a look at PDMworks and DBWorks and etc.... just
remember that Matts PDMWorks does not have a database...
I didn't say it wasn't a PDM system. I said it wasn't for purists and
Any PDM system that claims it requires as little as 5 minutes of
training is being more than a little misleading or is overestimating the
My last look at it was a couple of years ago, but I remember being
disturbed by how the vault was structured, it seemed very loose. It
definitely struck me as a system centered around making things easy for
users, not around data management. Not that that's bad, it's just that I
don't think PDM purists and control freaks would be happy with it.
Also, the interface is significantly different from other products. As
I remember, it worked mostly through the Open dialog and Windows
Explorer. Again, not necessarily bad, but definitely different, and
certainly something that might make a purist admin who spends a lot of
time trying to get people out of the habit of using Windows Explorer
To the original question, I view Conisio as an "alternative" option, not
really "best of breed".
We have a multitude of parts as design table parts which of course
means configurations. Each has to be treated separately and the whole
has to be kept track of also.
How is it to interface to our item master software? It has it's own
Heck, what is the URL for the Product Center web site?
IMO DBworks is the best solution for the buck. If you have someone with
VB/VBA experience you can get it to do just about anything. Other wise,
define what you want your PDM to do and DBworks can be setup to suit your
needs. It's worth paying a knowledgable person to set it up. They claim it
works "out of the box" but by the time you figure everything out you've made
basic mistakes that are more work to fix in the long run. The interface is
nice and completely configurable. Probably the nicest thing is it
generally works in the background and does not screw with your files. You
can do a search in this newsgroup for a little info or go to mechworks.com
and read about it.. Good luck.
ProductCenter administrator here. here is my $.02 worth.
this is one of the more complex programs that are available. now that
i have it stable i spend very little time supporting it, maybe an hour
a week. yes it is expensive, but for those that have it, will go no
other place for this need. let me explain the benefits.
automatic PDF generation on approved files, this is very nice.
workflow, very powerful
filetypes, easily setup to accept any format.
database is Oracle, for those that use Oracle MRP.
can be setup with full security to allow access from inside and outside
take a dedicated source to start and organize system. once setup done,
full BOM support out of SWx to PDM via XML.
incredible support, most within minutes of posting.
intregral viewing capability via AutoVue
vault encription and compression.
this is the full package, no limitations, just your imagination.
now off my box.
i have spent alot of time with ProductCenter folks along with other PDM
admins to make this one heck of a package. i admit that when i started
using it 5 years ago i had my doughts. now that we have refined this
PDM package to fully support SWx it has become very user friendly. i
admit it is expensive, many dollars out of the pocket to start and to
maintain. worth it, YES every penny of it.
of note: during my implementation i was involved with a CAB group for
this porpose. the other members in the CAB came from Smartteam and
DBWorks to ProductCenter. they stated that ProductCenter was way
beyond the abilities of where they came from. but this was a few years
ago, things change constantly.
hope that this helps, iQ
control is a concept that i embrace.
and to answer the confugurations questions, ProductCenter fully
controls these, with revision control and separate part tree
change is not just something in my pocket, it is a daily, sometines
Yeah - it can deal with them handsomly and as I recall lock them as
released. They do it with a thing called stubs (at last look). Their
integrator has the ability to look at "derived" parts, where used,
parts defined in context of other parts and so on. Their SW integrator
is pretty good and will allow you to control things to a very fine
level if you choose too.
I would like to second Product Center support as stellar - they have
professionals that understand the product and know worlds more than the
users. Often not the case - in some cases I know more than "them"
after 3 months - and I'm often slower than your average beast.
Product Center is a great enterprise wide solution, but may be a little
overkill for departmental (single workgroup) control. Bang for the
buck may not be there at some levels - I recall (floating) seats going
for 5K-8K, etc and you need a server license, etc. - the backside needs
a little support. If I had to control docs with a PDM tool this would
be my tool of choice. It has all that one needs to control docs and
It's a damned fine product.
(former Product Center admin & user - 2+ years)
No - it puts them into an encrypted vault that even your admins cannot
hose - good in my mind - keeps ALL human monkeying from happening.
When you extract a file it comes out with the same name that you
If you are good at oracle/sql, you can manipulate the "metadata"
database portion of the vault (possibly destroying the name or altering
it), but this is not a common occurance. We id have some small issues
with check (un-saved variables) in that required sql and a work around
- but this might have been fixed. Generally, error occurence was low
once people learned how to use the PDM system and error recovery was
always within reach.
I second all of IQ's sentiments. Expensive but worth it all.
Engineering time wasted is even more expensive, so is missing and AFU
It can. It's an all or nothing choice, so it tracks every configuration of
every part. After setting it up to run that way originally, we decided,
since we had only a couple of parts that needed control of the
configurations, that we would turn it off. (We decided to split those few
parts up into multiple parts rather than multiple configurations.) New parts
and assemblies don't track configurations. Unfortunately, all of the parts
and assemblies which originally tracked configurations still track them, so
we are stuck in a weird in-between mode.
Tripod Data Systems
"take the garbage out, dear"
Yes, you can control the release of configurations independently.
We haven't been that thrilled with it, but it's mainly a user interface and
training problem. We got some early training when we weren't actually able
to use it, so we developed some bad habits when we started using it. Some of
that is being ironed out now, but I still find the user interface not very
intuitive. It seems like the UI was developed by people from a non-Windows
world, so they forget to use all of the normal Windows ways.
They do have some very knowledgeable people and they are usually trying hard
That would be my impression. We bought it to integrate with our MRP system.
If you don't need that kind of integration, if you want PDM, not PLM, then
it probably won't be a good choice.
It's very easy to get above $100K. The fellow in charge of choosing our
system came up with a $250K plan. That got scotched and we ended up with the
stripper version that was, as I recall, just under $100K. Now we are adding
back in functionality a piece at a time. No doubt we will end up spending
well over the original plan.
I'm not at all impressed by the workflow. We just implemented the ECO
capability and it has been a real nightmare. We are going to have to do
massive customization to get a good system. A lot of that can probably be
blamed on poor implementation on our part (the guys in manufacturing who
were running the show wouldn't listen to the non-degreed but very
knowledgeable woman in R&D), but it seems like a fair amount of the blame
can be laid on ProductCenter.
You're probably right, but I have a very sour taste in my mouth!
I think we needed to hire you about a year or two years ago when we started
down the PLM road, Sean. The nice guy that manufacturing put in charge of
choosing and implementing the system knows nothing about CAD or design and
Tripod Data Systems
"take the garbage out, dear"
Its these kind of "little" details that can have huge implications.
What are the implications of going all configuration as parts? I would
like to have flexibility to have configs as parts, derived configs for
things like FEA or exploded views or fast drawings without fasterners.
If PC went this route how is this kind of thing dealt with?
HI Jerry -
Yeah - the on ramp was steep indeed and the initial ickyness did
People were involved, so things went bad (TM).
On a few occasions, I destroyed an assembly - my recourse - no problem
- Return Unmodified and pull a new copy down. That sort of "security
from myself" was a huge benefit. Concurrent change on a single
document became impossible - this was a total godsend and people could
collaborate on a complex assembly in realtime without asking the other
guy for permission or 'BIFF, could you load that model read-only again
for me, again please, one more time again please) . These were the up
sides - many more benefits were there.
I do agree with you - the on-ramp is nightmarish, but once you are up
to speed, it runs well. It took us 3-6 months to be adequate and 1
year or better to be "good". I hope the ICK falls off fast for you -
the tool is very capable, but it also need a good implementer who
understands it capablilities and flaws. I took a stand early on to do
no customisation as this invariably made things work less well and made
future maintenence harder. Personally, I would suggest that a company
run at least a couple quarters under the plain vanilla paradigm, get an
understanding and then customize if needed.
The hardest thing I had to convince people of was this - You will be
required to work differently - it will no function as you wish - if you
are willing to work another way, you will be rewarded 5x what you put
in. It was a real no-pain no-gain scenario. The good news was that you
did not max-out the PDM system after 3 weeks, sitting there asking "Is
that all there is?".
Best Wishes -