Does anybody have and experience and or best practices in setting up a tablet of pc based floor accessible system to look at drawings, query models and access associated engineering data?
Do not forget "Always work with latest version" setting on viewers.
Show them only released files.
If using PDF. Try to have another step of release process just to make sure they are the current ones.
Yes, I've done this many times. I've been an independent PDM and value stream consultant for 5 years and a SOLIDWORKS PDM Admin for 8 years before that in product development & manufacturing space. I've held positions as the Admin, Engineer, Manager, and Director for various companies of various sizes from 20 users up to 200 users.
What I've learned is PDM is designed for content creation but it doesn't do content distribution "well". You need a "solution" that is designed specifically for content distribution to send your released data to supply chain, suppliers, partners, contractors, shop floor, etc. I've deployed PDM web client and Web 2.0 for downstream consumers but it eventually becomes a management nightmare because the users will always be asking for more features that don't exist. These PDM portals weren't designed for distribution, they were designed for access. Besides the fact that manufacturing does NOT like engineering getting in their space for support or for any other reason!
I recommend taking a look at Flatter Files. It comes with mobile and tablet apps, PC browser interface, and works seamlessly with PDM Standard or Pro.
Some Flatter Files features our customers have found very useful:
The PDM web interfaces do not do this well so I never recommend them to my clients, ever. Anyway, it's an option to consider and might help you avoid re-inventing the wheel.
PM me for other details anytime.
Believe in The Q!
Your question is quite broad. Why don't we try and nail down some requirements for you.
1. What does your mfg customers require for ”documentation”?
2d drawing (electronic like a pdf and/or physical paper drawing)
3d model with annotations (PMI)
2. What related information not associated to 3d data does the mfg customer require?
3. Will the mfg customer be authoring any data that requires storing and tracking?
These questions can help identify what levels of access your mfg customers will require to your vault. That will also define what types of devices you may require on the shop floor- if anything then how to configure those devices- cache.
This is predominantly for internal manufacturing only. External is managed thru zip files of either part files with PMI, or parasolid files with pdf's of the drawings. Each supplier has their own area accessible through the Web 2.0 portal.
Internally we have the legendary filing cabinet of paper drawings that have to be maintained against any engineering orders that may occur. These are copied to release to the floor, once their revision is confirmed.
I'm trying to find a lightweight viewer option to have our internal manufacturing staff access to view the latest slddrw's so we can eliminate the drawing cabinet.
I took a look at flatter files. It looks interesting. When I get some free time I plan to get a trial version, and take it for a spin. The trick for me will be convincing my finance dept to pop the dough on a yearly basis.
For the factory floor I have a few big tips. Try to get mid-sized touch-pads for each area of the shop floor that will be using them. And a designated storage spot for when they are not in use. If you don't have them locked down on some specific spot - get some sort of GPS tracker so they don't walk off. Not just from genuine theft but people putting them in their satchel 'until they can return them to storage', dropping them behind something accidently, or leaving them on a skid that then gets packed up and put on a truck. A lot of pads have such a thing internal on them.
Then for software try to use PDFs as much as possible, and saved e-drawing files for the models themselves. E-drawings has a good touch-pad program. Though it can do drawings as well, those files tend to get very large.
Are you aware of any tablet that can show an 11x17 sheet format actual size?
Steven, totally agree with taking measures to prevent "walk off". I was thinking you could mask off the screen and paint the rest neon pink! A company I worked for did this for the tools in the prototype-lab. It pained me to see a whole set of Snap-On tools painted pink, but I understood the reasoning.
Yeah, they're known as 20 1/4" or larger flat-screen monitors.
Aren't there are companies doing specialty builds of tablets, with lots of design choices for the casing. Hmmm, and you can paint a tablet, but better tape off the buttons as well as the screen mon. And what paint sticks to plastic anyway? Heh, maybe be better to think of making a protective casing that can't be removed without tools.
Finding the monitor is easy. I did a search looking for 20 inch touchscreen tablets, they are a whole lot more rarer. Is there an industrial option.
I'd guess very few companies would need a volume large enough to justify a custom tablet, but I've seen stranger things.
There are a few specialty spray paints for plastic, the big-box stores carry some.
Yeah, once a screen gets past 16", it BECOMES a monitor, possibly with touchscreen controls. Like that bread becoming toast thing. Argue definitions if you want dude.
Well color me ignorant and under informed. I have not run across this distinction before.
Ok, sorry for getting salty there. Yeah, your search would work better if you searched for monitors with touch-screen control. Or Smart TV with touchscreen. Or are you really looking for something large with attached computer? You might have to set up something on the network with something that large. Controlled at the monitor, but the actual computer is in a server room somewhere and both are connected only through the local network. I don't think anyone really makes straight laptops or touchscreen tablets that large.
FYI, you can 'zoom' on parts of a drawing as needed on smaller screens. Lugging around something that large on the factory floor.... I would think you only really want something like that for conference rooms.
No worries Steven
Most of our shop floor work happens off tables. I know my finance dept won't allow a screen per work station so the ability to move a screen to a different work area without having to roll a cart with cables around would be an asset. The biggest reason I would like to be able to display 11X17 without zooming, is that I have a few people on the floor that are luddites. I they can't just open an look at something the same way they look at paper they aren't going to buy into the new system. If I could find a chrome/windows/ios tablet that had the fabled 20" plus screen so that was the only piece of hardware involved, that would be first prize. As soon as I start including cables, UPS's, rolling carts, mini towers, etc, the harder the sell is going to be on the floor. The analogy I'm using is. We currently use 11x17 three ring binders so hold our drawing packages on the floor. The closer to that form factor, and technical ease of use I can come with a digital option the better. I realize now that, that golden ticket piece of hardware may not exist.
I was thinking of a wireless network when I suggested a local one. Smart TVs especially are all set up to log onto a wireless easily. Or get someone to custom build you one. Is there a Microsoft or Apple store near you?
HP make some all-in-one PCs that might fit the bill, but would require 110VAC. Touch screen and 11x17 display should be easily available.
110 volts AC, ie: wall power, not battery.
I've seen some of those, they are a silver medal for us at this point. We already have multiple air lines and the odd electrical line snaking around already. Adding to this isn't preferred. Plus if you want to move it longer than an extension cord distance away you have to power down and reboot at the new location.
I did find one battery powered tablet that has a 20 inch screen, but it was a name I had never heard of before=how knows how good service, quality etc are. I also seem to recall it was an android os which I have the least familiarity with.
I guess what I'm hearing at the moment is, our hive mind hasn't heard of an obvious choice in this form factor.
I was we had either of those near me but I think the nearest of either is a 6 to 7 hour commute away.
Yeah, this is that old joke that says, "We can make it fast, we can make it cheep, we can make it durable. Pick two." Your not going to get exactly what you want, unless you talk to a computer manufacturer and get a special order. Or you can compromise on something, like teaching people to use the zoom function on images. Or getting Smart TVs that use the wireless network and are attached to something like this that gets re-charged when not in use. Huh, that afore motioned cart or large case, just plug it in at night. *shrug* Welcome to practical engineering son.
I stand corrected. Panasonic makes a 20" tough tablet. only $5K
Nice. Though the monitor with external battery, wireless router and actual computer in the backroom I would guesstimate to be cheaper by 30% or more, with option to go even larger screen without having to replace that $5K tablet.
Guesstimate math: - Getting Black Friday deals when googling, so going from memory;
monitor - 1K per monitor - Touchscreen smart TVs a little more expensive than monitors of same size
Chargeable battery - $120 per monitor
Wireless Router - $250
Wireless repeater - $40 per repeater
Basic computer - $400. May only need one for entire network. A good IT person should know how to let multiple people log onto the computer. And they aren't doing anything more complicated than viewing and maybe commenting on drawing files so that helps.
Retrieving data ...