Thoughts on these PDM packages (Adept, Activault, Product Center, Conisio, PDM Works)

These are the packages I am looking at. So far my favorites are Adept and Conisio for easy of use and functionaliy. Activault has a simple
interface, but it lacks some features that I think a basic package should have. Product Center seems overpriced, and its to much like Smarteam. I havent had a chance to get a PDM Works demo yet, but it doesnt use a database, which our IT dept doesnt like.
Please post your comments if you use or have used any of these products. I did a search for Adept in the newsgroup, and nothing really came up that was useful.
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Why is no database a concern for them? Do they plan to pull data into something else? It's text file method is a database of sorts and you can custom write programs to pull data from them. Also the advanced server app suppossedly allows you push data back and forth.
Also look at DBWorks (www.mechworks.com). They offer more functionality at a decent price and it's a bit more customizable and scaleable than most workgroup level PDMs.
Adept is a bit newer to the Solidworks world, More of an Acad following I believe.
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Some of these packages have been discussed here a bit, such as Conisio, Product Center and PDMWorks. I'll just make some comments.
My take on Conisio is that its easy to use, but plays "fast and loose" with the data. That's just an impression, you will need to form your own. Their website claims it takes as little as 5 minutes of training, which seems a little misleading to me. It's supposedly a "midrange" PDM, and reportedly easy to learn and administer. My "fast and loose" impression comes from how vaulted files were handled.
Product Center is a full blown PDM. I used it in a different life. Very full featured. The comparison to SmarTeam is unfortunate because PC has really terrific tech support and doesn't have the massive upgrade problems that ST has. Further, I never ran into an area of PC where I really *needed* a consultant to get it running.
PDMWorks. Of course your IT people don't like the fact that it doesn't have a database. They know how to spell "job security". PDMW is intended to be installed and maintained by the engineering department without IT. The fact that there is no database is completely transparent to the user, and is only evident on installation in that you don't have to install, maintain, upgrade and buy separate licenses for it. I've used PDMW a lot, and don't miss the db at all. It's a relief to allow engineering to be in control of their own data. PDMW is in a very different class from the other tools, though. It's really just for file management, revision control, reporting, searching, permissions, etc. You don't get into workflow, heavy customization, multi-site. If you're just looking for fairly straight forward filemanagement, this might be the thing.
I don't know enough about Adept or Activault to comment on those.
Matt
snipped-for-privacy@spamgourmet.com says...

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Matt, the reason why our IT dept wants a database is so we can eventually import the cad data into Mapics. This is something we have talked about doing for some time, and would be a nice option to have. Does PDMW have manual online that I can look at? Im curious on the types of visuals it has for file states like when someone has a file checked, if you have an older version of an model in your assy, and other file states. How is the directory structure inside of PDMW? Can you move files around easily? Say I import a machine with a number of purchased parts. I later want to put the purchased parts in a seperate folder. Can I drag/drop those files into another folder while PDMW changes the file references on the assy automatically? Im trying to get a demo from my reseller, so some of these questions can be answered.
Do you currently use PDMW?
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Personally, the better thing to do would be to link Mapics to your PDM product instead of duplicating data. Duplication of data is one of the things that PDM in general tries to avoid. In either case, importing data to Mapics would still be possible without a db.

Not really, as far as I know, but I do have a PDMW best practice document on my website. www.dezignstuff.com Go to Samples. The docs are for 2005. I have 2006 documentation, but I reserve the latest things for paying customers.

There are little symbols which make this pretty clear. This is explained in the docs on my site.

You can set it up the way you want to. It starts blank. It looks like Windows Explorer.

Yes, it's just a right click, change project.

You can't drag and drop them to a different folder, but you can multi- select and right click to move them. PDMWorks updates the references automatically. You can also rename files in the vault and PDMW updates the references. This is far better than any non-PDM solution for renaming files.

Be careful, the quality of demos is very dependent on the knowledge of the reseller engineer, which seems to vary significantly.

Yes, I use it for my design work and implement it for companies.
Matt
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We have been using Conisio for about 4 years now and there are lots of good things about it. I don't know how it compares to others because I haven't used any others, so the best thing would be to get a demo of it with your files.
One of the main advantages that I can think of is that it handles file references well as far as updating them when things change or move. It also handles all kinds of files - ACAD, jpg, SW, Office, etc.
WT
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We've found PDM works to be good for revision control on most things including SWx files, .pdf's, labels, etc. But our Electrical engineers have found lots of problems managing PCB data from Protel. We have had an Add-in designed for Protel that will automatically generate assemblies from PCB schematics, which is great, but all the files need to be zipped up before checking in. This makes it difficult to view and compare files. We have had to resort to having our original file structure, and just keeping .zip files in the vault when each revision has been completed. Ideally, PDMw would integrate into Protel, the same as it does SWx, but this seems unlikely.
Another problem, is not being able to preview non-SWx docs. like word docs, .zip's or .pdf's in the same way that you can preview SWx files. Being able to view .zip's without opening or checking out would solve most of our problems.
Our setup also seems to crawl sometimes, or will hang for a few moments when opening files from the vault. There are no words to describe how annoying this can be, but I think it has more to do with our network (people stream .mp3's across it to listen to each others music).
PDM programs seem to be a necesary evil, and you will soon learn to hate them, no matter which one you use.
Cheers, Dominic V. Go Australia!
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we use Activault by SolidPartners. An excellent PDM system and very user friendly. you can see their demo here . . .
http://www.solidpartners.com /
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Navy Diver, any issues with Activault? Anything that it doesnt have that you would like?
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I noticed that you are not looking at DBWorks PDM/PLM. www.mechworks.com .. This is a great product that is a database based system that Engineering can have full control over, yet can share data with everyone in the company..
I believe that it is necessary to take the time to carefully select a PDM/PLM; look beyond the flashy demonstrations and seriously evaluate the foundation of the available PDM/PLM applications. It is the foundation of the PDM/PLM application that dictates how easily it can adapt to enhancements and future changes along with being able to embrace specific organizational requirements. The process of selecting a PDM/PLM solution provides the opportunity to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your current methods and to generate a prioritized list of needs. By allowing the solution providers visibility to the specific needs, an organizational decision can then incorporate their proposed solutions and timelines for achieving each goal.

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We had the Product Center people in the other day. I that unlike SmartTeam their product actually works. I spoke to one of our vendors who has used it a while and he was very happy with it. But it is expensive and you really need for them to help set it up. It can be complex or simple, that is up to you. While they don't officially support it, they do come from a Unix background and so understand Linux which we use for a file server.
I still also like dbWorks mainly because it is another very capable system and it is well documented.
I am waiting a bit longer to see if anyone will support mySQL instead of Oracle or Windows SQL database engines.
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Hi Top,
I asked Mechworks (Devleloper of DBWorks) about support for mySQL several years ago.
Their response was that mySQL was missing some calls that they needed (something to do with security). At that time they stated that the calls were tentatively scheduled to be included in 5.1. Just checked and mySQL is at release 5.0 -- which means things are getting close.
Again, in order to support mySQL, developers need the tools to provide equivalent calls available to Oracle, Access, SQL, etc...
Len
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You know, I think dbWorks would do it too. I heard the same thing from them. He who hits the pool first gets the water all to himself.
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