11 Replies Latest reply on Dec 16, 2011 8:30 AM by Don Cheke

    How are you dealing with revisions?

    Don Cheke

      I am trying to determine the best way to deal with making revisions to a set of drawings. Sorry for the long description and the buried questions within, but any feedback would be great.

       

      In my work environment we keep all previous drawings, so any revised drawings get a new drawing based on the previous set. A revision letter is added as well as a description and date. Pretty standard practice I would imagine. For file names we have a Product number, a series number (part, fabrication, etc.) and a revision letter. So a drawing name might read something like PD-2157-300A. We have actually started to add a short description to the file name since it is so hard to know what every number series means. We do keep a log that can be referred to but that can often feel like a lot of extra effort is required.

       

      Formally all drawing was done in 2D in a different CAD package. Single drawing sheets were created as needed and placed in their respective folders. They we not parametrically linked to each other and files were easily renamed. If one or two aspect of a design needed revising just those sheets affected would be updated and a new revision letter added. This seemed to work well for things at the time.

       

      Since I came on board we are slowly moving up to 3D in SolidWorks. Currently, when an older design, based on former 2D drawing (in dxf or dwg format) needs revising, I just continue with the 2D drawing and make the changes. I usually do this in TurboCAD because it works very similar to what software the drawings were initially created in. Even the various drawing styles come right along so it is easy to duplicate what was already there. It is quite fast. I have experimented opening the older 2D files in SolidWorks and find that there is just too much additional work required to make it worth the effort, but that is a whole different story.

       

      All new designs are created in SolidWorks in 3D and a series of drawings is created from that. I have been trying to maintain the same filing system as before (as I am required to) but I have some questions about file saving since everything done on a SW 3D model reflects, or is connected, to everything else (i.e. the drawings, the tables, BOM and so forth). This is something that I have been appreciating greatly. When a revision is required I have been using the Pack & Go to create a new model/drawings set (so using the number from above it would get packed and saved as PD-2157-300B). My assumption has been that using Pack & Go breaks the connection to the former and one can make changes in the new set without worrying that the previous will change as well. Is this correct? Is this how you do it? What if only a couple sheets from the series get changed? Do you add a new revision number to each page anyway? Can you describe how you approach and/or maintain your files and revisions.

       

      Lastly, with these large drawing sets based on the SW 3D model, how do you distribute specific drawings to different individuals or agencies for manufacture of individual components (say injection molded parts or aluminum extrusions)? What about drawings for those in the shop that are running the manufacturing show (employees)? Do you just print portions or do you give them a full set of drawings. Currently, with the older files we have been saving as individual sheets in dxf, dwg and PDF format. It seems so much extra work but that is how it has been. Now with the new drawings in SolidWorks I am not sure what the best approach is. They still want drawings in dxf, dwg and PDF, and I have been throwing in an eDrawing now so they can get the full benefit of the 3D experience. But....not everyone is supposed to get all sheets or the full 3D model as some go to independents for individual part manufacturing (as stated above - injection molding, extrusions, etc.). One does not want to give these guys all drawings. Can you describe how you approach and/or maintain this aspect of file preservation and file sharing.

       

      One last question. Do you keep incremental saves of models as you build? If so, how do you do it?

       

      I know that this is asking a lot from those on the forum, but your insights would be very welcome. I would like to get some of this firmed up in my mind so I can quit wondering if I am going about this wrong.

        • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
          Scott McFadden

          Don,

          Here is a thread that asked a very similar question to heat you are.  The feedback into

          might help you.

          https://forum.solidworks.com/message/188531#188531

           

          Currently where I am at we copy the effected drawings using conventional copy method

          (no pack and go) then rename the newly copied file(s) using SW Explorer.  We keep a

          revision letter at the end of our part number file name.  No description in the file name.

          We only copy the files that are in need of change.  Pack and go copies everything and if

          it isn't changing there is no need to copy it.

          Once the package is released then we create PDF's of the changed files for the shop floor to view.

          Now, to me this whole system is clumbersome considering where I have been where PDM

          was used.  There the revision was controled and maintained by the PDM system.  No need

          to add or change revisions attached to file names and having extra files around.  Everything

          was in the secured vault.

          Hope this helps you.

          • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
            Jerry Steiger

            Don,

             

            Like Scott, I would suggest that you use a PDM system. I believe it is still possible to buy Workgroup PDM as a stand-alone add-in, although most people just upgrade to SW Professional to get the other add-ins at a reasonable price. I'm amazed at the amount of effort people go to in order to avoid spending a few hundred dollars a seat. I think if you put your mind to it, you can show your managers that they are pouring scarce engineering resources down a rat hole and losing money hand over fist. SolidWorks probably has some sample letters and spreadsheets to use. If they don't, some of the other PDM suppliers are sure to have something.

             

            Jerry Steiger

              • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
                Don Cheke

                Hi Jerry,

                 

                For us it is not a matter of saving the money, it is just a matter of not knowing what direction to go. The answers received on the forum are very informative and provide some direction, which I appreciate. My case is a bit unique as I am still a freelancer and what I am discussing here is work I do with a client in a different country. I am becoming more and more involved with this client, so much so that they have asked me if I might be willing to move to their country and work full time with them. That is not going to happen but I am spending more and more time with them and this will have to continue as is.

                 

                Do you think this PDM system can work when not in the same local. Whenever I have had to work via a remote desktop, I find it horridly time consuming and software doesn't work well when I work on the remote desktop. As such, I generally just go there to upload files for ftp transfer, download on my computer to perform the tasks and then reupload when complete. This in itself is painfully time consuming.

                  • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
                    Scott McFadden

                    Don,

                    You are most welcome for the link and info in my last posting.

                     

                    Given your situation it might benefit you to look into PDM workgroup.  Even though

                    you are an independant contractor and I am sure money is tight, the benifit's will

                    pay for themselves if you can afford it.  My thinking is with you working on so many

                    client jobs, the PDM, I can't help but feel would make your managing of these files all so

                    much easier.

                    As far as the remote locations, I know this can be done also.  Where I used to work they

                    had 5 to 6 different plant locations.  Where I was I could access the vault at one of the

                    plant locations.  How this was done I have no idea.  All I know is my VAR is the one that

                    set it up to the best of my knowledge.  So my advise is if this is a direction you choose

                    to go down I would talk to your VAR about this.

                    Here is a PDF file I found for installing PDM that you might find informative.

                    • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
                      John Burrill

                      Hey don, I've got to echo what Scott said.  Basically, the file links in Solidworks get so intricate, taht you're chocies without PDM are not to revision manage your solidworks files and rely on PDF's for your document history or pack-and go every every revision.

                      In either case, I would advise against putting anything but the root part number in the file name.  Solidworks rename isn't a  catch-all for updating references.  It only looks in the current folder or where you tell it.  All it takes is one person editing your assembly

                      On top of that, top-down modelling becomes impractical. Design interations and explorations are hindered by the requirement that the file you put in storage, has to be usuable for production.

                      I have a freelance business with one seat, and even without anyone else editing my files,a PDM system is still a better alternative than managing files by hand. 

                      I worked for a company for four years where I had to manage files by hand and had to do it without file versioning and it was still an incredibly labor-intensive process and let's face it, no manufacturer turns a profit on file managment.

                      • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
                        Jerry Steiger

                        Don,

                         

                        Workgroup PDM isn't set up to make multiple work sites very easy to deal with. Enterprise PDM is supposed to handle that well (I've never used it, so that is just what I hear), but is a lot more expensive and more difficult to set up (again, just what I hear). I believe the low cost version of DBWorks is supposed to handle multiple sites. (But a person I trust who used to be happy with DBWorks is now not at all happy and has gone to Enterprise.)

                         

                        When we had manufacturing located in another building a couple of miles away, we talked about mirroring our Workgroup PDM vault, because the file transfers were so slow, but we never got around to doing it. The advantage would be that the files that had changed could be moved automatically once a day or so and the user would get quick access.

                         

                        Checking out files from the vault, working on them locally, and then checking them into the vault is much less painful than working on a remote desktop. It is pretty much equivalent to your ftp transfer method, except that the user interface can be more transparent.

                         

                        Jerry Steiger

                          • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
                            John Burrill

                            Yeah, Jerry's got some good points there.  As a matter of fact, if you can set up a VPN connection to your work network, then you might be able to interface to a wiorkgroup vault directly.  Since only the transaction requests and file transfers travel through the internet, you might get something pretty close to lan speeds for searches.  And because the vault only transfers files that have changed or specifically been marked for upload, it may be easier still.

                            John

                            • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
                              Scott McFadden

                              Jerry,

                              Like I said, I never set it up at my last place of emplyment, but when I checked in and out of the vault

                              it was like the vault server was in the same building.  Never noticed any hickup.

                              If you are talking about the pains of setting it up then that is a different story that I can't speak to.

                        • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
                          Don Cheke

                          Thanks you everyone for your input. I will be sure to check out PDM.

                          • Re: How are you dealing with revisions?
                            Don Cheke

                            Thanks again for your input, it has been invaluable. We are now investigating PDM Enterprise. Our reseller is supposed to read all our internal correspondence and then get back to us on cost, etc.