5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2017 12:03 PM by Jason Capriotti

    NOT using configurations in PDM

    Thymen De Vries

      / rant on


      I spent the past 20 years using Solidworks with a (heavily configured) SmarTeam, and am rather new to Solidworks PDM (2017). I have the standard version, installed all on one machine, to get the hang of it. There are significant differences between the two, but also enough similarities, and I have everything up and running neatly now. Workflow, cards, search columns, and of course vaults and views, all are configured. The limitations that Standard imposes is not too much of a hindrance at the moment.


      But one thing troubles me deeply: configurations! While I do use configurations  in parts and assemblies, there is always a one-to-one unique relationship between part and article, and the same for assembly vs. article. Article being the actual, physical product. Each part/assembly article has it own unique file, and every drawing is linked to one part/assy file only. Purchased parts (fasteners etc) is a different story. In my experience this works best. I have seen plenty of situations where people started using configurations with enthusiasm, just to end up getting lost in a Gordian knot of relationships. For CAD PDM, I favor monogamy...


      /rant off


      SmarTeam is configured such that configurations are not considered; everything is based on files-only, to support the monagomous relationships. But so far I have not been able to detect how this can be achieved in PDM, Standard or Professional. I assume it is not supported out of the box.


      How do you deal with a situation like this, without resorting to re-writing the entire software via scripting? Do I just have to get used to it?


      Any info would be quite welcome!



        • Re: NOT using configurations in PDM
          Mike Sveda

          Use the "Updates all configurations" check box on the data card for the variable value you want across all configurations.  I have this set for all variables used to describe a file.  Part No, Description, material, etc.


          Thus, the data is then configuration ignorant.  All configurations are considered ONE part number.

            • Re: NOT using configurations in PDM
              Thymen De Vries



              I am aware of that setting, that is how I set it up now. The additional overhead in data is not something that bugs me too much, but all the extra tabs that are constantly pushing themselves into my view do so. For plastic components, I use multiple configurations to reflect simplified, drafted and filleted states, and all combinations. I do not need, and want, to see them at PDM level. And also, when I use a purchased part with a design table in it, those many tabs only distract me. The configuration specific custom properties in the model file are in the design table, it carries all the data required for the BOM in SW.


              I am using the Standard version. I intend to stick with it, and keep it simple. A setup without configurations, and BOMs as well, would have my preference. The db is smaller (less tables) and faster, and tweaking/fixing at SQL level would also be easier. That's me, but I assume there are more that like to KISS. Searched the forum, but could not find a match.

                • Re: NOT using configurations in PDM
                  Michael Dekoning


                  Today there is no way to "hide" the various data card tabs. You can hide the "@" tab (custom properties) for SOLIDWORKS models (not what you want). You could submit an enhancement request with SOLIDWORKS to allow configuration specific tabs to be hidden. What gets me is the extraneous tabs for SOLIDWORKS drawing sheets which do not reflect anything in the file.

                    • Re: NOT using configurations in PDM
                      Thymen De Vries

                      I assume that for new files, all the logic that has been built into the system controls the integrity of the custom- and config-specific properties. Refrain from editing these properties from within Solidworks, let PDM control them.


                      But... if you have a lot of files that come from other sources, or that have been created outside the PDM-controlled environment, there are always caveats. I put a file into PDM, and after I 'cleaned it up' by renaming the default configuration and removing all properties (custom AND config specific), it would not check in again. Message said 'Mandatory field is empty', even though all mandatory PDM card fields on all config tabs contained values. Updating the values from the DB* only restored the SW custom-properties, the SW tab with config-specific was not restored.


                      This might have been a temporary mishap; I noticed that in PDM the tab for the config I renamed in SW was shown twice; once with old name, once with new name. After I manually added the config properties to the SW file, rebuilt and saved, the 'old' tab disappeared, and 'update file attributes' did update properly.


                      I prefer the rule 'PDM controls data, SW controls geometry', but is appears that SW PDM does not follow that rule. You have to be careful where you update the data: in PDM, with file checked out/closed, or in SW via Task Pane/Properties with file checked out/open. I would prefer them to be one and the same, but that is not the case. The latter updates the properties in SW, but when you close the file without saving, they are not updated on the card...


                      It's things like this that are rather confusing in the beginning...


                      *  [ Modify / Update/ File Attributes from Database]

                      • Re: NOT using configurations in PDM
                        Jason Capriotti

                        Yes, please allow us to turn off sheet tabs on the data card for drawings. I guess its for companies that put multiple parts in one drawing with each part on a sheet. Bad practice IMO but for a really small company with a simple product I could see them doing that.


                        It would also be nice to have an editable table view of the data card tabs for ease of editing.