PDM systems

I've always previously used CAD systems that had integrated data management,
where it was not possible to use OS file commands on the data.
I'm now using SW2004 with no PDM system and am finding it an error-prone
chore, and am therefore hoping to persuade my employer to buy a PDM system.
I'm trying to get my head around how this will affect the way the system (5
seats) is currently used, and I've got a few questions......
1. If you use a PDM system with SW, what happens to the various OS file
commands that can normally be used (e.g. save as, save as copy, SW
Are they greyed out, or can users still create and save data outside the PDM
2. What happens when you check items out of the vault?
Does it make a local copy of just the items that you have marked as needing
to be modified, or does it make a local copy of all the referenced items?
(e.g. in an assembly you wish to change, does it copy all the parts ).
If the latter, how are the referenced items protected from modification?
If I currently try to protect the files for standard parts or finished
projects by making them read-only, I get a load of warning message boxes
when I open ass'ys or drawings that reference these files. I'm presuming a
PDM system won't have the same problem, but I'm wondering how it achieves
3. Where is all the metadata stored?
Is all the "file properties" information copied from each item into the PDM
database when it is checked in?
4. Do the commonly-used systems (e.g. PDMWorks) allow you to (for
example)search the database for all the assemblies with a particular
"manufacturer" property, expand the hierarchy to show all the items in the
assembly, select a part from the list and show all the other
assemblies/drawings that reference it?
5. Does anyone have the user manuals for their PDM system in Word/pdf format
that they could send to me to have a read - the info you get on the vendor
websites is next to useless.
John Harland
Reply to
John H
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Hi John. We use PDMWorks, so I can at least answer some of your questions if that is your PDM solution you choose. Overall, we are very happy with it.
I'm not familiar with how other PDM systems work, so my answers here will all assume you are going to use PDMWorks.
John H wrote:
Adding PDMWorks does not change anything on the client side with the exception of access to the Vault (where PDM documents are stored). Local users can still save, saveas, copy, use SWExplorer, etc. The Vault is a repository for all the latest versions of files which you will want to share between your designers.
This will require a shift in the design philosophy (which is well-documented in the PDMWorks help files) which means the designers should NOT copy parts from user to user, but rather grab whatever they need from the PDM system. This promotes consistency and guarantees that you maintain revision control.
The "Check Out from Vault" nomenclature has been "eliminated" from PDMW2006.. it is more logically renamed to "Create Local Copy and Take Ownership" (basically the same thing).
When you create a copy of an assembly to your local machine, you are allowed to select which items (parts, subassys, etc.) you wish to download from the vault as well. Normally, you'll want to grab all the sub-components as these should be the latest versions anyways.
You also have control over which components you want to "Take Ownership" of, which means that if you have ownership of a document in the vault, nobody but the owner has the ability to make a revision to that item.
Again it's a matter of making sure that your designers always use the parts downloaded from PDMWorks and NOT make copies on their own local machine or from other's machines.
Yup. Makes it very easy to search through. :-D
Yes to everything. The ability to search through the Vault is probably the single-most powerful aspect of PDMWorks. Of course, making sure your designers check-in documents with plenty of good descriptive data is a must. Garbage in, Garbage out.
If you have SolidWorks already, there should be a help file for PDMWorks installed. That's a good place to start.
Reply to
dbWorks has the manuals on line. Synergis has a lot of specific data about their system on line.
Reply to
In my research, either of these products would work well. I would not recommend implementing PDMWorks though. PDMWorks uses the file structure to maintain and organize the document management information. Better systems use a external database to store and manipulate data pertaining to your documents. The big difference, speed and the database systems don't mess with the file structure so others can still access project directories if you don't have enough licensed seats for the software.
Just my 2¢
Reply to
Keith Streich
Not sure what you mean by that Keith. The Vault for PDMWorks (where all the document information is stored) is NOT directly accessible for the users - all information must be handled through the PDMWorks client, which is a front end to the PDMWorks database. PDMWorks does not "Mess with the file structure" no more than another system would, assuming you did not screw around with the Vault once it was up and running. The documentation even states that the shared Vault folder should be hidden from EVERY user since it really doesn't contain any usable data anyways.
You are right about the licensing thing though - if there are not enough licenses (floating), it's a real drag to not be able to get to the data.
Reply to
That was the point I was attempting to make. PDMWorks changes the file or directory names to maintain control, which makes it impossible for other users to access files without a seat license. With an SQL database (or whatever) users can still navigate directories and read files. If they need to place documents into the management system, we have two floating stand alone seats.
Reply to
Keith Streich
I suppose that's fine if you will not be putting a lot of items into the Vault constantly, and you don't mind juggling the floating licenses, or the fact of having to use two different front-ends. Hey, whatever works for you, you know?
I'm curious how an SQL database maintains its structure so that anyone can download files though... you saying that you just simply set up a folder "tree" that the SQL database looks at?
Reply to
The vault is accessible unless the user locks it down. That can be a source of great consternation until it is fixed. Yes it is true that PDMW renames files, but, depending on settings, there can be a readable copy of a SW document in the vault and it is possible for SW to link into it if users are not careful.
Reply to
You might take a look at Conisio.
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We use it here and it seems to work pretty well.
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Reply to
Wayne Tiffany
one can hide it via network permissions and such, so that the only way in/out of the Vault is through the PDMWorks client. Obviously, there needs to be access to it from somewhere, but it is set up so that the general users cannot modify it directly.
Again, the idea is for the users to NOT link directly to items within the vault, but rather download the latest copies of them to their local machines.
Reply to
We have existing network directories (folders) for each job or project and users are used to finding information via these locations. True they may need to learn which files are the most current (various revisions can be saved of each).
Reply to
Keith Streich

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