Randy Wong

using AutoCAD drawing files with Solidworks Vault

Discussion created by Randy Wong on May 17, 2011
Latest reply on May 17, 2011 by Jeff Holliday

Just wanted to get a feel of what other people out there are doing about situations like my engineering department is facing:


We upgraded to Solidworks from AutoCAD maybe 10 years ago but never had the time / money / resources / incentive to fully convert all of our old designs to Solidworks.  Our engineering group has put in many a good word for the cause but the problem is that our engineering department has thousands of old AutoCAD drawings of old designs that customers every now and then ask us to build a replacement for.  Typically our management looks at the lead time and often finds that it would be "cheaper" to just print out the old AutoCAD drawings with minor updates and corrections rather than investing the time it takes to model, re-make the drawings, and have full review processes when the AutoCAD drawings are time-tested and have been manufactured to hundreds of times.


And so the problem is that we can't just cut off AutoCAD from our document management control even though the company wants Engineering to run the Solidworks Vault to manage our solidworks designs.  Of course it'd be nice to have one Document Management program that controls all designs, AutoCAD and Solidworks, but I've found that managing AutoCAD files in Solidworks Workgroup PDM is a real pain.  Trying to find the drawing of one part in a folder of 100s of drawings takes forever if you don't know the exact drawing number while in Solidworks you can at least check out the main assembly and find the part accordingly.  And since Solidworks Workgroup PDM doesn't allow bulk check-in of autocad files it can take a while to check projects in; especially since it seems PDM doesn't read revision letters the same way it does with solidworks files (requires me to open each dwg individually, note the revision, check in the drawing into the vault folder while manually entering in the revision letter... takes FOREVER with projects of 100+ drawings).


Am I struggling with a problem that doesn't really have a clean answer?  Our company doesn't use Enterprise PDM (still trying to convince management to approve the implementation costs) so i don't know if it's better on the other side.