26 Replies Latest reply on Aug 3, 2018 10:14 AM by Jim Steinmeyer

    eDrawings  Substitute

    Maynard Viersen

      Does anyone know of a good substitute for eDrawings.  We use e-drawings out on our Manufacturing floor, but e-drawings is getting too big and bulky for the machines out there.  It would be great if anyone knew of a lighter weight program that could open eDrawings.

        • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
          Deepak Gupta

          What options of eDrawings you would be looking to use; just viewer OR other capabilities also?

          • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
            Mark Kaiser

            If they are just viewing drawings, pdf is a way to go.

            • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
              Peter De Vlieger
              Electronic files are best if everyone references the same file

              That's very true but also the most dangerous in itself if you can't truly rely on it 100%.

              It's better to have a system that everyone knows that has to be checked if it's the correct version then a system where one should be able to assume shows you the latest version, such as with edrawings, and that may or may not do that.

               

              The only way to be sure that what you're looking at in edrawings is the most recent version is by opening an EASM which is again a separate file. The same can't be said if you open an ASM in edrawings.

                • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                  John Stoltzfus

                  Agreed on the system comment.

                   

                  Proper Protocol is the only way, if you don't rebuild all the parts within an assembly file, you can't guarantee that the drawings are going to be right.. So if the base file isn't correct, I guess opening the file in Edrawings won't be correct either..

                    • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                      Maynard Viersen

                      There are advantages to having separate files though.  In our situation, manufacturing only sees the eDrawing files.  When a change is put into the system, those eDrawing files are deleted, so manufacturing has nothing to work with.  When the changes are completed, they are republished.

                        • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                          John Stoltzfus

                          Similar to what we do here, but we have one missing link that I think is an important one and that is to have all the shop material deleted at the entry of every change request, thanks for sharing that...

                          • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                            Marty Laury

                            I think that whatever system works for you is the best one. We are using the SW PDM Vault system to control all of this.  We use the Check-Out / Check-In function while working on Changes.  We use the Status and Permission functions to control access to files. The Vault works on any file type. We were running smoothly for a long time. SolidWorks provided all the tools we use and now one of them is not reliable. I hope they fix eDrawings soon.

                      • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                        Ron Blessing

                        I'm also looking for a substitute.  We need something like this program so our manufacturing people and sales people can look at the Solidworks engineering drawings but now the program has been modified so that the Citrix users can't use it without entering a registration key every time they open it.  This "IS" suppose to be a "Free" piece of software isn't it.  Guess my interpretation of free is something different.

                        There has to be something that's less of a hassle to use as a viewer.  Maybe I should be asking for suggestions for replacing Solidworks too?

                          • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                            Mark Kaiser

                            Do you create pdfs from SW?  If you are creating pdfs, figure out a secure way for the shop floor to view these.

                              • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                                Ron Blessing

                                As someone else said, you end up duplicating the drawings that way and we have a lot of drawings.  Plus, one you create two copies of a product then you open the possibility of those drawings diverging and changes that get made won't reflect to the PDF you created for another group to use.  I know, you can manage that issue but now you've added another step to the whole process and I wouldn't count on people remembering to update the PDF copy of a drawing every time they make a change.  It's simpler to manage one set of files, one database, etc.

                                  • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                                    Tom Gagnon

                                    Choose your own priorities, or accept those assigned to you. My work flow disagrees.

                                     

                                    We use a PDF as a static Revision-controlled release, whereas the assemblies can change for more things to be added, but this object is fabricated or assembled as released when released. That is, while designer is working on other areas of the design, nothing is changing in the released drawings. This, to us, avoids unintended changes. Objects hidden or added can wreak havoc on view placements as content changes.

                                     

                                    Once a design is released here, we create B/W PDF's for submittal, Color PDF's for production, and (yes, still measurable) 3D PDFs for ongoing reference and dynamic view generation. Most relevant to production, 3D PDFs of large assemblies will operate and function interactively on lesser hardware whereas eDrawings will lag and chop in the same setup.

                                    It is only a release procedure. It differentiates something being worked on from something fully considered and reviewed.

                                     

                                    I already have the expensive software and hardware in my office. You don't have to buy (additional) expensive software, nor (additional) expensive hardware for the shop floor. If you want users to use eDrawings though, I recommend expensive hardware for viewing large assemblies. Teaching the good hardware users to do one extra step is cheaper than placing expensive hardware in a deleterious work environment, but write your own value prospects if you prefer.

                                    • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                                      Jim Steinmeyer

                                      Ron Blessing wrote:

                                       

                                      As someone else said, you end up duplicating the drawings that way and we have a lot of drawings. Plus, one you create two copies of a product then you open the possibility of those drawings diverging and changes that get made won't reflect to the PDF you created for another group to use. I know, you can manage that issue but now you've added another step to the whole process and I wouldn't count on people remembering to update the PDF copy of a drawing every time they make a change. It's simpler to manage one set of files, one database, etc.

                                      Ron,

                                      My concern here is I don't want everyone and their brother getting into the "sacred engineering" folders. For one thing as we have found if Joe on the floor opens a drawing file to view and leaves it open the engineers are unable to open anything other than a read only file. And good luck finding out who has it open. Also there are concerns of accidental delegation. Most places I have been the engineer automatically saves a pdf in the production folder when a new drawing is created. If you have PDM this can be an automatic feature when a drawing is released. Here we have a macro to create the pdf and another one to create the dxf. Forgetting one is about as bad as the other so engineers just learn to do it.

                                            Of course all of this assumes that the shop floor guys actually read the prints, which is a crap shoot, or that they don't have a previous drawing saved in their locker to reference on the rare occasions when they do look at a print.

                                        • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                                          Ron Blessing

                                          We have network security set so only the Engineering department can modify files and everyone else has read-only access so access hasn't been an issue for us and we don't worry about the files being accidentally modified.

                                          • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                                            Marty Laury

                                            This is what we do now:

                                             

                                             

                                            All released documents are in the PDM Vault.  Only the documentation department can check in SolidWorks files. Engineering isn't even allowed to check in because of the tinkering they are inclined to do.  Engineering, Purchasing, Manufacturing and Quality all have read access.

                                             

                                            ~but~

                                             

                                             

                                            Since eDrawings has become unreliable with no fix in sight we "finally" have a plan to use the Task function in PDM to make a PDF copy of drawings every time they are checked in. I think this will work for us because it is automatic, not something we have to remember to do. We are also learning better ways to use the vault so that the Engineers can get back in there.

                                             

                                             

                                            I can't believe that SolidWorks suggests we use eDrawings when they are well aware that it is unreliable. grr

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                            Marty

                                              • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                                                Jim Steinmeyer

                                                Marty,

                                                Sounds like you are now doing pretty much what I would suggest. Since you are using PDM just use it's features to create a PDF every time a drawing is raised from WIP to Released.

                                                As far as the engineers changing things, the way we had it set up at my last job the engineers were free to get in the vault and check out anything. They could fiddle with it if they wanted but when it was checked back in it's status was moved to Work In Progress. The only way to get it back to released was for them to check it in and request it be evaluated by the designated checker and approved for release. Once it was verified that the changes were accepted then whoever the gate keeper is was the only one allowed to raise the status to released along with a revised print, and usually an accompanying ECN. If the changes are deemed undesirable the PDM has the means to revert to the previously approved level.

                                                I have not worked much with eDrawings, I used it as dwg-editor years ago and was convinced the only reason it was even available was to show how undesirable 2D was and force you to move to 3D SolidWorks.

                                      • Re: eDrawings  Substitute
                                        Dan Pihlaja

                                        Here where we work....we don't release Solidworks drawings.   We release PDF files.   The actual Solidworks drawing is simply a step to get to the PDF.  The PDF is the thing that is electronically signed and dated.  Not the Solidworks drawing document.  When  new revision is created, the PDF is named accordingly (with the revision in the filename) and the the old version is dropped into an archive folder.

                                         

                                        I can't imagine the havoc that would be created if we released Solidworks drawing documents as they are very fluid and can change very quickly (and sometimes without notice), whereas the PDF file is relatively unmodifiable.