We don't have any PDM, but we do save sign our drawings digitally, with Bluebeam. It (Bluebeam) integrates into SW, saves and creates signature blocks from SW drawing. Engineers signing the drawing (pdf) open it with Bluebeam, review, sign, re-save.
Ditto. The engineer opens PDF and adds their digital PE stamp with signature in Bluebeam. If you want to automate it, get the Extreme version. It supports scripting and you can make a script that will apply the stamp at a certain location on all of the sheets in a drawing file (PDF).
And if you have review stages for plan sets, Revu's Session capability is amazing. Multiple people can be editing a pdf at the same time and everyone in the session can view each other's comments.
Thanks, that looks like a great program. Maybe a bit more than I was looking for, but I could see us growing into it. Doubtful I can push additional software cost though. We already have seats of Acrobat that I was hoping to leverage.
The best thing an organization can do is have templates that all users have. This way consistency is kept between seats. User settings and System settings should be differentiated so that you don't have the issue you are having.
I close out 99% of our SW files, and add the approvals by date. If I open the file and it differs from the one that was approved, then I know a user has screwed the pooch during the review process. Review will restart.
The safest fix you can do as an organization is have one network location for all templates. User and systemS It's 150% worth using the vault for the templates because it can control users to get the latest templates on log-in without them having to do anything but log-in and let the cache refresh.
All of our templates are stored in EPDM, but that doesn't fix the settings on individual computers. In theory all those settings would be the same on every machine, but with rolling updates and hardware refreshes something always seems to be non-conforming. I'll be pushing for use of the SW Copy Settings Wizard so that we can at least create a "master list" of system settings and hopefully use those to set up people's machines. But these are all band-aids to the real issue, which is there's no way to show that the engineer submitted drawing matches the approved drawing at the other end.
Are the "predetermined individuals" approving the drawing through PDM? If they are, you could just set up the drawing to enter their initials automatically in SolidWorks and then once the SolidWorks drawing is approved, PDM generates the PDF and it already has the initials on it.
Now, if the "predetermined individuals" do not have access to PDM and they are signing the PDF itself, this is another story.
We've floated this as an idea. No one at our company (myself included) has a good technical understanding of how EPDM creates PDFs. When I go into EPDM, I can right click a drawing, click Tasks, Convert, and try to convert to PDF, but the PDF never shows up. So this seemingly doesn't do anything.
How do I convert drawings to PDF without opening them in SolidWorks?
When PDM is installed, clients aren't allowed by default to run tasks. See here:
You'll need to go through this process by turning allowing all clients which should be allowed to create PDFs to run tasks. Then in the PDM admin tool configure the convert task to be able to be used by any of these users/groups.
You can set it up so that if the approver doesn't have SolidWorks installed on the machine (PDM needs to launch SolidWorks to convert a SLDDRW to PDF "automatically"), that it will run on someone's machine where SolidWorks is installed.
Setting up a PDF task is a multi-step process. You need to create the task, add the task to an action within a workflow transition, and then allow the group or user to tun that task (I am simplifying this of course). If you are not comfortable doing this, I would talk about it with your VAR. Logan Pegler made some good comments about this process too.
I will tell you that it is very nice to have the PDF automatically generate. It seems like such a simple thing, but is very handy.
Logan Pegler and Victor Frauenfeld have it exactly right. I was banging my head against the wall trying to sort it out and contacted the VAR. It turned out I didn't have SW installed on the server with PDM (I thought the desktop SW did the conversion). When I did that everything fell into place.
It's not really that difficult to set up. If you get stuck reach out to your VAR and they should be able to web session in and fix it.
That makes a lot of sense. Time to reach out to the VAR.
We recently acquired a new business group. I helped setup their new SWPDM vault. One of the things they needed was to have a verified stamp put on a PDF but not show up on the drawing slddrw file itself. They needed this to make sure that the drawings sent to a vendor were processed through the workflow and not just created by a user.
The stamp is a little weird, but at the same time unique. It is placed in the lower left corner of the drawing with the word "VERIFIED" and 4 circles with half lines through them.
They already had a macro that could put the stamp on the drawing, I just had to figure out how to get it on the PDF that was released in the workflow.
I found that I could go to the "Advanced Scripting Options..." button on the "Output File Details" tab.
Editing the text of the script in the built in editor is a little tedious, but can be done. I like to copy the script out and open it in Notepad++ so I can see it better.
The first thing I did in the Sub Convert (docFileName) function is add a call to the stamp function. The Sub Convert starts on line 188 of the PDF converter. It could be different in your script depending on how you have the convert task configured.
I found that the script starts working on outputting the files after line 250 or "modelExtension = Mid(modelPath, InStrRev(modelPath, ".") + 1)" so I added my function call there.
I used a extremely basic if statement for it.
If CreateStamp Then
I probably could have just called CreateStamp, but I wanted it to match the rest of the convert sub. Then, once I had it working I didn't want to mess with it.
I then added the stamp portion of the macro as a new function just before the Sub Main() at the bottom of the script.
The CreateStamp function gets sheet 1 then adds a note to it at the specified location using the swDrawing.CreateCompoundNote call. The note says VERIFIED of course. The function then creates some lines and some circles on the drawing using the swModel.CreateLine2 and swModel.CreateCircleByRadius2 calls.
This convert task is run by a workflow transition and is completed on the archive server. Sure it takes a couple minutes for the PDF to show up, but it is very cumbersome to have it created on the users machine that did the transition. The users have access to a different convert to PDF task that does not have the stamp in it.
The great thing is that the create stamp function does not actually modify and save the drawing so the stamp only shows up on the PDF.
We have other things in the workflow that modify variables that are tied to drawing properties to set notes on the drawings, as in the above screenshot sets a status variable to released. This task is done before the convert task so RELEASED shows up on the PDF but is also shown on the drawing itself. Since the status variable is tied to a file version the task must checkout/in the drawing to change that variable.
If you are interested in the text of the stamp function just let me know I could send you a copy or modified version of it.