Ok... I've been scouring the discussion boards for an answer to my questions and haven't found them anywhere... so here goes.
I am part of a very small company (4 engineers) that does factory machine design. These are very custom machines - each one is one of a kind and and usually fairly complex. All four of us are designing in Solidworks from home... so we have no centralized office to speak of. Everything is done over email, internet, ftp etc.
We are very interested in implementing PDMWorks if possible. We run SW Professional so we already have the option of installing the Workgroup version of PDMWorks. I recently installed it on my own desktop computer and have been playing around with it a bit, and am excited about the possibilities. Before getting too far into it though, I have a few questions.
- First of all... it seems like there is the possibility of running PDM over a VPN. However, it sounds like this is really slow from what I've been reading. This may or may not be an issue depending on what aspect of it is slow. Based on how we operate now, in our case I'm guessing each designer will only probably be checking models in and out of the vault once or twice a week, once a day at the very most. My question is, is check-in/check-out the only process that will be slow, or will PDM slow everything down, even when working locally? It's very important that we don't take any performance hits from this. Does anyone out there have experience with running PDM Workgroup over VPN? If so how is it working for you?
- Second question pertains to purchased components. We use a ton of these in every assembly that we do. Usually they are downloaded off of a vendors website. Sometimes they are common parts that get used very frequently, sometimes they are obscure components that will never get used on another project, and other times it's just hard to know whether we'll use them again. It's not clear in my head how we would handle the first category of parts... the common ones. I really don't want to make a library of most of these parts if I can avoid it. It seems to me like it would often be much easier to just download the part from a vendors website than to go searching thru a big library of parts, especially if this would need to happen over a slow VPN. However... it seems to me that if we do it this way, it will cause issues with PDM, since every part needs to be unique in the database. My concern is that we'll have a "duplicate" part in two different projects... then when we check in the one project it creates a link for that part to the part in the other existing project. Then if we go and delete that part from the first project where it actually resides, the part will be gone from one with the link too. It's very important for us to have low overhead, so I don't want have a vault administrator to have to go through and move parts from various projects into a library or another project. I also want to give designers administrative privileges so as to keep this as un-cumbersome as possible.
Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I'm just learning how this all works so any advice would be helpful.