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PDM in an industrial design environment

Question asked by John Kalinowsky on Dec 14, 2010
Latest reply on Dec 16, 2010 by Jerry Steiger

Hello all,


The company I work for is a small (about 32 employees) packaging and consumer product design company with 7 seats of SolidWorks and 4 regular users.  We have, historically, modeled most of our CAD as multi-body parts.  Even assemblies have been done as multi-body parts.  This has worked for us as it has allowed quick iterations, nicely integrated parts (like a bottle and closure of the same form), and minimized file maintenance and complications.  Most of what we did was only 2-3 bodies and didn't really necessitate true assemblies.


After working here for about 2.5 years, I have observed that more and more of our projects are falling on the side of consumer products that are better suited for assemblies.  I have also encountered many a headache dealing with revision control and drawing revisions in multi-body parts, and am therefore pushing my team to work in Assembly mode whenever possible. I am pushing everyone to become as comfortable with top-down assembly modeling as we are at multi-body part modeling, which isn't an easy transition.


I come from a manufacturing engineering background where PDM was fully implemented.  In an engineering environment, this made a lot of sense in terms of tracking revisions, ECOs, and cases where a part was used in dozens of assemblies.  Currently, this is not the case.  We never re-use parts and we use a simple file naming scheme to track revisions.  However, I have encountered problems with in-context relations breaking when revving an assembly. 


That's the background.  I was wondering if anyone else is in a similar environment and using PDM Workgroup, and what it does for you that makes it worth the investment?  As we move to more top-down assembly modeling, I want to make it as easy as possible to revise assemblies, parts, and drawings and to keep these revisions easy to track. One advantage I see is that it would allow us to work locally instead of over our network.  We will be having our reseller in to discuss this soon, but I wanted to know if there is anyone in a "non-engineering" environment making use of PDM Workgroup (or even EPDM).