I am curious as to the benifit's of using a PDM within a small engernering office (3 seats). Is this more trouble than its worth.
short answer, no.
even a one person dept can benefit from pdmw.
it's along the lines of going from 2d to 3d, you wonder how you ever got along without it.
At the end of the day we only have the Basic SolidWorks and I am planning to upgrade to SolidWorks Professional. I need to be able to justify to my manager the benifit of this. Outside of the Toolbox I need to get an understanding of the PDM so I can justify this upgrade. My question is. If i have 3 seats of Professional, does this enable me to use a vault? Do I need to purchase any other software?
P.S. To all. Is there anyone in Melbourne that would be able to demonstrate this system as this would be of great benefit.
Damian, as Kenneth said, you won't know how you lived without it.
If you upgrade all your seats to Professional, you will not need any other software. You will need a computer or server (preferred) to install the service and vault on. I highly recommend a server install.
The installation is simple, but you will want to learn about PDMW before just using it. It's more on how you are setup then the software.
Work with your VAR to help you understand the setup and implementation, you'll be glad you did. It is a simple software, and that sometimes make people under-think the setup.
hope that helps! If I was a one person company, I'd be installing it.
It also allows you to work locally which is a performance gain!
And just to add to John's point...server prefered but it does not require SQL Server software to run. That would be EPDM which is probably way more than you need and a lot more expensive. All the advice here is perfect...dig in...learn...test...GO!
Thanks John for your input (and everyone else).
Just so i understand, all of the software that I would receive with the licence of Professional would also include what i need to run it on the server. At the moment we run 2003 SBS and also Server 2003 with full SQL Lic. for our data server and ERP system. At the moment we are in the process of upgrading are hardware and are also looking at the benifit's of moving to a more recent version of server software.
Correct. PDM Workgroup comes with both the Professional and Premium seats of solidworks. Getting the Professional seat upgrade is the most cost effective, as your maintenance will be less than if you got PDMW separately.
Also, PDMW is a "flat file format", not a sequel database, so it can be installed anywhere (servers are best though).
With Professional you'll also get some nice utilities, so check those out as well for cost justification. We use the geometry compare function quite a bit.
One more tip, make sure the Vault data is not visible on the network, you want all your interfacing with vault data to be done through the client.
Again, use your VAR to help you with the fine details. If they can't help you, come back here and we'll see what we can do!
It is still a great way to maintain files and their revisions. It setup correctly between the properties of the files
and the vault you can have a good marriage. It also is a good way to prevent the duplication of unwanted or needed
files that can collect up over time. Besides, if you have the premium addition you already have it.
Just a matter of installing it on a server.
It's a must have.
There are no duplicates hidding in a folder some where. When you start a new part and save it you instantly know if it's already in the vault. It will go read only.
You don't accidently change a file. If you don't take ownership of it in the vault you can use it but not change it.
You can use an unfinished part while someone else is putting the details on it. When they're finished you simply update your copy from the vault.
You can identify what assemblies the part is used in.
It's too easy to make additional copies of a part without it. Then your stuck with triing to figure out which one is correct.
We started SW without it because we thought we had too much to learn just transitioning to 3D. But we soon had a mess on our hands.
When you use PMDWorks use a simple file name convention that matches your part numbers. I would suggest not putting descriptive text into you file names.
Yes, especially for small to mid-size groups, Workgroup PDM is highly recommended!
Please feel free to view the CAD Graphics BlogWorks post that promotes the subject: SolidWorks Workgroup PDM - Perhaps the fastest ROI one might ever see! You will find the information affirms and compliments the comments that many others have shared in addressing this question.
As suggested earlier, it is recommended to invite your VAR to provide a demonstration on Workgroup PDM which will enable you to gain a closer view of the vaulting arrangement and user interfaces. While your VAR may also demonstrate and emphasize Enterprise PDM as a more meaningful solution to your vaulting needs, it should be readily apparent that Workgroup PDM is a most practical alternative.
I am using PDM with a very small engineering office, 1 seat. I first used PDM at a slightly larger company of about 10 seats and liked it so much I continued to use it. For a company with multiple seats it does prevent two people from working on a file at the same time which is a huge help. Even for me though I get a lot of benefit from being able to organize all of my parts and assemblies and seeing how all of the files are related to each other. PDM will automatically organize itself so all of the parts that are used in an assembly are located underneath the assembly and all of the related drawings are also connected in a hierarchy. If I am working on a new product and I remember using a part on a previous product that I need again, it is very easy to find the part and drop it into my new assembly. There is also a huge benefit in that you can easily see where any part is used by using the "where used" command that will not only show which assemblies the part is used on, but which revision of the assembly it was used on. Another great advantage is if you have a part you are working on, and then decide the direction you are going isn't working, it is very easy to return to a previous version of that part. I inherited my computer from a previous engineer that did not use PDM and it was a mess to try and figure out which models were the latest and where all of the parts were located. One of the first things I did when I received the computer was to set up Workgroup PDM. It was very easy to do and it automatically organized my files my related parts and assemblies. As a caution, I would recommend contacting your VAR to get an experienced person set it up for you. If you don't set it up correctly and learn best practices, it could really hurt you in the long run. Once it is set up and best practices are followed, the program works very well with very few issues. No matter how larger or small the company, I would highly recommend PDM.
Thanks everyone for there input. One last question to everyone. Does anyone know of a good book, website or some documentation on PDM for Workgroups not Enterprise PDM.
Best one to start with is the training book provided by your VAR. I would just ask if they have one to share. PDMWorks hasn't changed much the past 3 years so even if they have one from 2007 or 2008...you'll be good. Otherwise, I would Google "PDMWorks Workgroup" or "SolidWorks Workgroup PDM"
I implemented PDM workgroups up here in Sydney and I've got to say I cannot see how I managed to get along so long without it. It's not the prettiest lump of software to use - but it works, and works well. Pity it's such a pain in the backside to set up.
I booked myself and my client into a SWX training course and found the materials they use to be excellent (though the guy supposedly teaching us pretty much spent the time reading the manuals out to us and had a proficiency for saying he would get back to us on questions) Despite that I'd wouldn't hesitate to recommend doing the training course - Don't bother trying to use the online help - you may as well thump your head repeatedly against a desk.
I setup a simple dedicated, cheap, XP Pro box to be the vault because the client was not particularly comfortable with the thought of dumping the software onto his server - it works.
I'm quite interested in the emergence of PDM as a cloud service that SWX is supposedly implementing this year - mainly because I'm not always on site and simply can't be bothered figuring out how to tunnel into the clients vault - and the client is not particularly comfortable with the thought of someone being able to do so. Perhaps PDM on the cloud will resolve this for me. I don't know how they are going to position this service - but it might be the case that you don't need to have 3 professional seats to utilise it.
Set aside 2 days and do the training course - it will save you vast amounts of time.
Curse SWX in 6 months time when they offer a better solution via the cloud
Best of luck
Try Devon Sowell's Book and DVD:
It covers SW Explorer, Workgroup and Enterprise, so it's more than you need, but, considering the quality of everything Devon does, I'm sure it is well worth the money.
Damian, I'll echo pretty much everything people have said here, we've had workgroup for over a year, (5 seats), and we couldn't live without it. One tip about training. Our VAR came on site to train us and it was pretty much a waste of time as the standard SW PDM training didn't really reflect how we did things in our place and as it turned out the training was quite irrelevant to how we ended up doing things. If they offer training I would insist that that they train you using your current directory setup and revision scheme and not the mythical flawless setup on their training database....
It seems like this makes for a classic chicken and egg problem. If you haven't had the training, how do you know how to set up your system? It seems like the best approach would be to send the guy who will take the lead on the implementation to the training. He works with the rest of the group to come up with the best implementation and sets the system up. Then the rest of the group takes training, preferably on your own system.
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