7 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2017 10:15 AM by Tom Strohscher

    Concept CAD Data

    Tom Strohscher

      We will be transitioning from PDM Workgroup to Enterprise Professional in a few months when we can fit it into our schedule.

      I would like to ask how you handle CAD data for ideas and concepts that engineering team members need to work on together but never leave engineering.  Many times these files have poorly structured filenames and possible poor modeling and assembly practices.

       

      We have been using PDM Workgroup for 12 yeas and my preference is that every CAD file in the vault would have a proper engineering part number or it doesn't belong in the vault.  However there are times that small teams of engineers need to work together before proper part numbering and part/assembly structure is generated.  We have created working areas in the vault the becomes a catch all for working documents but many times real parts with real numbers never make it out of the working area because of poor file management practices.  some believe if it's in the vault it done.  It doesn't matter where it is.

      I can see the point of a working area because I don't think it's a good idea to have several engineers sharing in a working folder on a network mapped drive.  But I hate the mess of junk files left behind when a project is finished.  Few people ever go back in a clean out the trash.

       

      We have 20 SW users in our office using the SW and the vault daily.  We will add another 30 when we integrate other offices and replication throughout next year.  I would like to develop unstructured work ares for groups between offices which is something we don't currently do.

       

      I would happy if any of you can toss out some ideas of how you handle unstructured design ideas with Enterprise Pro.

        • Re: Concept CAD Data
          Jim Sculley

          Tom Strohscher wrote:

           

          We will be transitioning from PDM Workgroup to Enterprise Professional in a few months when we can fit it into our schedule.

          I would like to ask how you handle CAD data for ideas and concepts that engineering team members need to work on together but never leave engineering. Many times these files have poorly structured filenames and possible poor modeling and assembly practices.

           

          We have been using PDM Workgroup for 12 yeas and my preference is that every CAD file in the vault would have a proper engineering part number or it doesn't belong in the vault.

          This thinking invalidates three of the main benefits of EPDM: the local file cache, data history and data security (not from theft, but from inadvertent loss):

           

          • Working from the network is slow.
          • Having multiple versions of in progress design files allows you to explore multiple ideas without having to 'Pack and Go' every time you want to try something out
          • Backing up the data on the archive server is far easier than ensuring all users back up their data

           

          Also, because of the way SOLIDWORKS likes to save new files in the last place something was saved, files will constantly end up in the vault that shouldn't and vice versa.

           

           

          The system I put in place has a clear line of distinction between 'Work In Progress' and 'Released'.  A new project is created via an EPDM template.  Each project folder has all of the same subfolders (created via the template).  One of the folders is 'CAD Work In Progress'.  It's the sandbox where all new files are saved.  Users are free to name/organize files as they like.  At this stage, nothing has a part number.  Why waste a number on something that may never be used?

           

          When a model is finished, it is 'released' via an EPDM transition which triggers a custom add-in that acquires a part number from our MRP system and then renames/moves the files to folders organized by part number.  This makes released things easy to find via part number.

           

          When the project is done, anything left behind in the WIP folder can technically be deleted (all the 'real' stuff was released), but usually it stays there, not really hurting anything.  After all, it's no longer generating new EPDM versions anymore because it's not being checked in/out.  And you never know when an old unused design might be useful in a new design.

           

          The rule in the shop is that nothing gets made that doesn't have a part number.  This forces Engineering to follow the process of releasing.

           

          Automation is your friend.  The more you automate, the more structure and consistency you can create with zero effort.  The more you automate, the more likely your users will use the automation because it's faster to do it the right way than the wrong way.

            • Re: Concept CAD Data
              Tom Strohscher

              A sandbox area as you put it is what we need.

              If I understand you correctly we need to define rules that keep "Released" files out of the sand box but still allow engineers to check files in and out of the sandbox as the team works.  I like the process of letting the system put the file in the right place.

               

              I think I need to understand the term project and how it relates to EPDM.  I wasn't thinking of new projects all the time.

               

              Thanks for the info.

            • Re: Concept CAD Data
              John Matrishon

              Tom, I understand exactly.   I think much of what you will setup will depend on what you want PDM Pro to do for you?  If it is managing files only, then you could keep the workflow simple enough to just keep things in WIP or Released.  Of course, the more things you want it to do, the more complex your workflow.  If you are planning on a complete approval process, then I would have your VAR work closely with you in developing this, and watch lots of videos on workflows!   I've been using Workgroup since the late 90s when it first came out.  Pro is definitely a different animal, but with the same purpose.   It will be a learning curve, but DEVOTE the time to understanding it and I think you can make a workflow that would mimic what you want, without the drawbacks.  Pro can do and fix a ton more than Workgroup, but setup is key!  I'm in the thick of it right now, and it will be nice once everyone is on board and using it.

              JM