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SolidWorks Model Management

Question asked by Shawn Kelly on Oct 19, 2011

If the EPDM users and admins of the world wouldn't mind I would like to understand what how folks tend to manage SolidWorks models in EPDM specifically for parts and assemblies that would be shared across several product lines, configurable and available to a number of design/engineers.


It's pretty clear that in a shared data environment, particularly with SolidWorks and how it manages references, etc that this is sometimes a challenge.  Especially when you have many people and many products using the same components.  An example of what can happen if everyone is not on the same page is change to models where folks haven't truly investigated the where used, design intent and form fit and function.  However, not everyone is always looking at these things that same way and clearly not everyone can be a SolidWorks and EPDM poweruser.


Some examples of how to manage this come to mind.

  1. Lock it down - Only allow specific people to institute the change required.  Good thought unless like us you are a global company with many users expected to work collaboratively on projects and products.  It becomes a bottlenecking issues...
  2. Institute change Management - Develop processes in EPDM for example force users into a change request process so that others have the ability to verify their thinking and make sure all i's have been dotted and t's crossed.  This is reasonable and frankly being highly discussed for us, but again appears to be extra steps from some people's minds and potentially a bottleneck.  What if the approvers aren't around?  What if the need is off hours and noone else is there to approve the request?
  3. Switch to project design - Every new requirement is a new project, therefore creating a duplicate set of parts (copy treee for example) into a new project and whatever is required for that project is left to be managed by that team.  Reasonable, but maintenance heavy for companies such as ours that is product line based where there is an expectation to manage data, share and re-use.  Also when change is instituted for products the maintenance would require us to go through all products and change the same item again and again.  Since our customers would expect the change on the re-orders...
  4. Brute Force Training - The classic monitoring of the issues and using brute force to educate and apply discipline to the users who make a boo boo...  This works sometimes, for some users, but in today's climate the defense always holds true.  Sometimes one person is far to busy with more work, less help and impossible deadline.  So left alone, sometime things will be missed.  The message is never the same and without documentation there is always a get out of jail free card available.


Those are some of my thoughts and perceptions.


What does everyone else think are the best ways to mitigate these issues as a whole?

Any of the above work for you?

Other suggestions?