Mike Wilson

PDMWorks ToolBox on Network: My List of Disadavantages

Discussion created by Mike Wilson on Apr 7, 2008
Latest reply on Apr 24, 2008 by David Edwards
For various reasons, I've always 'checked in' my Toolbox parts into PDMWorks. This has worked great over the years, not just for me but for other companies I've done business with.

Basically I use ToolBox to create the initial parts, and a few basic configs. Once I have all of the properties set up, it goes into PDMWorks as 'working copy default'.

Anyone with basic SolidWorks 101 skills can add new sizes, configurations, properties, design tables etc. the old fashioned way... manually. After all, it's not rocket science.

So anyhow...

My latest customer just started using PDMWorks and decided to set up ToolBox on a network using the 'Not Revision Managed' setting.

I have compiled a list of what I feel are the disadvantages. Since I've never done it this way, maybe I have a few things wrong. If anyone has a comment, I would appreciate them before I send my list off to others I work with.

This is on SolidWoks 2007 (no particular order):

*) Can't rename a toolbox part file name, and have it automatically update
in every assembly and drawing (This alone is enough not to do it)

*) Many extra settings need to be created/enable/maintained etc.
ahead of time, and no guarantee it's done correctly
- Need to spend huge amounts of time editing the internal ToolBox database
before anyone can use it, to conform to company standards
- Who will have the knowledge to edit the internal database?
- Need to hire a dedicated ToolBox guru?

*) Can't drag & drop or open from PDM

*) Forced to use ToolBox interface instead of PDMWorks
- Just an 'eye candy' marketing gimmick?
- Default naming conventions make no sense
- Prone to bugs

*) Doesn't copy to your local folder
- Can't zip everything up, forced to do 'find references' then copy to a new folder
- If network is down, your out of luck
- Checking out to take work home, you accidentally forget to get the HDWR
- Working off a network is always a bad idea (common knowledge)

*) Don't know who has ownership
- May be overwritten at any time (the whole point of using PDM)
- Can't make a change if someone has it opened as 'non read-only'
- No protection from editing mistakes

*) Always opens 'read only' making changes difficult
- Have to switch from read-only to write, make a change, then change it back

*) Missing configs cause HUGE problems!!
- New users may have ToolBox local and overwrite critical information
- Assemblies 'blow up' constantly
- ToolBox tries to automatically create new configs, adding to the confusion

*) How do you know the difference between differing hdwr shapes and materials?
- SAE vs USS vs Mil-Spec vs ...
- Nylon vs Steel vs fiberglass vs ...
- Color/appearance settings for rendering
- All of this has to be programmed ahead of time?!

*) While inserting part-into-part, you have to search for the toolbox part path

*) May cause problems for others in the company (that don't have SolidWorks)
that want to tap into the vault info and view/work with the data.

*) May cause problems for PDM Enterprise?


*) Basically it's not flexible to future changes
- Company may go to MRP system requiring need for simple yet universal changes

*) Little value-added for much loss in productivity

*) Adds unnecessary complications and dependencies

*) Not user friendly or intuitive for editing

*) Maybe some companies *want* to revision manage their hdwr (or have that option)
- Or just keep it defaulted to 'working copy'


I would recommend checking in all parts into PDMWorks, including library (or COTS, purchased parts).