27 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2016 10:15 PM by John Layne

    Enterprise PDM External References

    Brad Joseph

      I have an assembly that currently has about 20 parts in it. They are located on a server drive currently and i want to check them into EPDM. Now i copy the parts to their respective locations in the vault, 3-4 folders, depending on their certain things. I check in all the part files first. I then try to check in the assembly file and it tells me all the references are "Outside SolidWorks Enterprise PDM". Is it me or shouldn't EPDM know that it has those file names in the vault? Or do i have to go through SolidWorks Explorer and change each reference piece by piece?

        • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
          Jeremy Feist

          the last time the assy was saved from SW, the parts were on the network, so that is what the assy remembers. so when EPDM asks the assy where its parts are it tells EPDM to look on the network, and they are still there since you copied the parts to their new home.

           

          you will need to make it so it can't find or won't look for the old copies of the parts.

          • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
            Michael Dekoning

            Brad,

             

            Starting with EPDM 2011, I believe, SolidWorks added an Update References command. Below is a portion of the EPDM 2012 help file explaining it's function.

             

            While you can update any file reference, a major use of the Update References wizard is to repair broken file references.

            • The Find Files option helps you locate other instances of missing files in the vault and redirect the file paths to point to them. You can search for multiple files. You can only search the vault and you must replace each reference with a file with the same name.
            • The Replace File option lets you replace a broken reference with a pointer to another file that is in the vault or to a file that is outside the vault. You can only replace one file reference at a time. You can search the vault or outside the vault, and you can replace a reference with a file with a different name.
            • If you replace a reference by pointing to a file that is outside the vault, the Add Files to Vault option lets you specify where to add the file within the vault.
            • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
              Ravi Teja

              Hi Brad,

                       EPDM has an option called Update References.

               

              1. You can add assembly,and the goto this option and start adding parts automatically. or

              2. You can add all the parts first ,check them in and add assembly ,select update reference and ask epdm to search all references for u.

               

               

              08-06-2012 2-42-21 PM.png

               

              All the operations on assembly must be performed before checkin.

               

               

               

               

              Regards

              Ravi T

                • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                  Brad Joseph

                  I have tried the update reference. It can only see the referencesiles that are in the same folder as the assembly. It doesnt seem to know i've checked in the other 15 parts to the vault. It actually doesnt know other parts exist aside from those two parts, in or out of the vault.

                    • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                      Kishore Garakipati

                      Brad,

                       

                      Please give a try by setting up the folder paths in EPDM Admin >> "Local Settings" >> "Settings" >>  "External References" tab that had the parts stored in the vault.

                       

                      By doing this, whenever you try to do an assembly file check-in, EPDM would try to help that specific SW assembly to find out the parts relevant through the mentioned setting.

                       

                      The below setting will work as a one time setting option during data migration tasks but I thought it could work for your current scenario  as well.

                       

                      Hope it helps. Let me know if you might need additional inputs or information. Thanks.

                       

                      epdm.png

                    • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                      Brad Joseph

                      Actually the Update references did work. It looks like i have to use it before checking the assembly in. I must have used it after the first check in of those. So it does seem to work. Thank you.

                    • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                      Eldon Pierce

                      Has anyone found a work around for "update references" not working after an assembly has been checked in? I noticed this when we migrated our assemblies into the vault, so we ran the tool on every assembly before check in. This required many days of someone sitting there and making a few mouse clicks every hour or so. Unfortunately there are some references that have fallen through the cracks (user error?), but now that they they are checked in, these references aren't even recognized by the update references tool. Anyone found a solution?

                        • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                          Brian McEwen

                          I have the same question.  What is the best way to fix external ref after an assembly is checked-in?  I don't see why EPDM can't do the same thing it did on first check-in and flag the externals.

                           

                          Is there a report or search that will find them?

                            • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                              Eldon Pierce

                              Sorry Brian, the only solution we found is the long way (fixing them one by one inside Solidworks).

                               

                              We also didn't find any way to identify problem assemblies. As far as I can see, they just show up as assemblies with suppressed components.

                                • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                  Brian McEwen

                                  Thanks Eldon.  I'm starting another thread on this.  It seems like there has got to be another way to at least find them (even if you still have to open SolidWorks to fix them). 

                                   

                                  Report for External File References 

                                    • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                      Eldon Pierce

                                      We have an EPDM expert in today doing some programming, so I asked him if he had any tips for fixing assemblies that had been *checked in* without their references being updated properly. He said the best way is to take the assembly out of the vault, delete the original (in the vault), and reintroduce it. Unfortunately, you would lose the version history by doing this, but it is by far the best way.

                                       

                                      We've already fixed most of our refs, so I don't have one on hand to try this out on. Considering that the lost component references appear to suppressed in the bad assemblies, I'm surprised that this would work, frankly. If anyone tries it, let me know.

                                       

                                      By the way, he didn't have any ideas for searching assemblies with lost refs.

                                        • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                          Brad Joseph

                                          That's actually the only way i've ever found to fix this situation. Eldon, so yes I have done that and it does work. I guess I'm as knowledgeable as the expert?

                                          • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                            Jeff Sweeney

                                            I've seen a demo by Tor where he checked out the assembly file, made it "dirty" via changing the data card, then when he checked the file back in, it re-read the references from the file instead of the database.

                                              • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                                Brian McEwen

                                                Wow!   That is an amazingly simple and effective way to fix external refs.  The Update References tool is back in business, and the external ref are flagged if you try to check-in before Updating.  Thanks Jeff (and Tor)!

                                                • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                                  Pete Yodis

                                                  Is it me, or does the handling of references in EPDM, specifically with assemblies seem a bit ham fisted?  When I read of the trouble people seem to have with references outside and inside the vault and not being able to easily change them.. it seems like something is not quite thought out right in the program.  Is it me?  The idea of deleting an assembly file and then re-introducing it to the vault does not sound like what a PDM system should do.  Also, changing the datacard to make something "dirty" so that you can have it re-read references seems like a bad thing too.  Why should it be this difficult?

                                                    • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                                      Michael Dekoning

                                                      Pete,

                                                       

                                                      Take it from someone who tried to write a program to handle missing external references, I'll take this and say "thank you".

                                                      • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                                        Jeff Sweeney

                                                        I can't speak for the programmers, but here is my theory.

                                                         

                                                        EPDM only keeps database records of what is in the vault. [Why store information about a file that isn't?] So it can't store information about references outside the vault because there is not a database record to record against it.

                                                         

                                                        The document manager is pretty fast, but it is a dog compared to reading a database. Imagine checking in many [assembly/drawing] files at a time. If EPDM can get by with reading the database instead of looking at the actual file, performance is going to be better...and you could argue, that there would [typically] be no reason to look at the file because the file had not changed, thus the children listed in the database should be accurate.

                                                        • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                                          Brian McEwen

                                                          No Pete, it is not just you. EPDM has a lot of room from improvement.  Yes, Sweeney's argument is good.  But although the solution was simple in this case, it was highly un-transparent. Even some rather experienced users didn't know about that approach, and it is possible for the software to do better and be more transparent on this problem.

                                                           

                                                          EPDM is full of esoteric bits, it has a big job, and I think it is unpolished software.  Certain parts are polished, but once you get off the beaten path not so much. Update References Tool is pretty good already. I'm accumulating enhancement requests at rapid pace. I have a list of like 40 things after a few months use (granted, being new to it makes me more sensitive). Raymond hit on some of the things on my list in this post.  Re: EPDM 2013 implementation issues / wish list 

                                                           

                                                          On the plus side I think Dassault has the resources and the motivation to keep improving EPDM.   And word is PDM gets much easier when one is well past the complications introduced by the migration phase.

                                                            • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                                              Pete Yodis

                                                              Yeah Brian.  I don't think its me either.  I had a reseller owner ask out loud if anyone understands EPDM.  He was only half joking.  That pretty much sums it up.

                                                               

                                                              I am in the migration phase at the moment and I am having to come up with workarounds and fixes to get past some issues.  Fun stuff.  One of the issues currently is reference handling with XREFs and DWG files.  Something is wrong with either EPDM, DraftSight, the migration process, me, my reseller, or a combination thereof because once the data is migrated and we move a DWG file either in the vault or out of the vault, the XREFs go missing when opening the DWG file in DraftSight.  Its only a problem when the XREFs are moved into the vault prior to the migration of the DWG data from WPDM.  It should be a simple thing, but has us all tripped up.

                                                               

                                                              I think once we have worked out all the kinks the day to day users will find things relatively easy to work with.  I think that is the strength of EPDM, if setup well its very easy for the day to day users.  There is a high demand placed on the administrators to set things up properly and work through all the oddities.  For most of us (I think), we are design engineers primarly that place on our semi CAD administrator hats, PDM administrator hats, quasi IT battler hats, grudgingly delving into programming, etc.. to get things to function.  After these battles, I can much more easily see the future in CAD, PDM, PLM, FEA, rendering, etc... being cloud based.  A lot of these barriers could be flattened if the creators of the next systems get it right.  I don't know how much Dassault will continue to pour into EPDM.  They seem to have too many balls in the air, in my opinion.

                                                            • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                                              Frederic Hodshon

                                                              Ham-Fisted!

                                                               

                                                              great visual!

                                                               

                                                              "For most of us (I think), we are design engineers primarly that place on our semi CAD administrator hats, PDM administrator hats, quasi IT battler hats, grudgingly delving into programming, etc.. to get things to function. "

                                                               

                                                              best line i have read yet.

                                                               

                                                              i need a hat rack.

                                                              • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                                                John Layne

                                                                Couldn't agree more, this is currently such a time waster fixing this.

                                                            • Re: Enterprise PDM External References
                                                              S. Casale

                                                              I'm not sure what is meant by making the Data Card Dirty to fix references...