8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 13, 2012 2:57 PM by Tanner Moore

    EPDM order of operations (in design dept.)

    Tanner Moore

      Good day,


      The two departments of our company that access the drawings coming out of our design department have experienced issue where the drawing files we are looking at do not match the same drawings when viewed on a designer's computer. I (in the manufacturing department) access the actual .slddrw files and open them in SolidWorks, whereas the service department goes online while in house, accesses the job they are about to be sent out to install at the customer facility, then goes offline again before they leave. They then view the drawings in eDrawings. And yes, WE ALWAYS GET THE LATEST VERSION.


      Because I am not in the design department, I am not able to vouch for their order of operations, However, I do know that there is not a specific order of operations that they follow (particularly regarding PDM use) when releasing a job for production. I also know that the design department does not always fully rebuild all parts and assemblies before release and suspect that may be part of the issue. From my perspective (not knowing exactly how or in what sequence PDM functions are being used) I suspect that an incorrect order of operations may be at least a partial cause of our issues.


      I found the following thread describing a similar problem but I'm not sure the answers provided apply to my case. I am part of a group that was put together to diagnose and solve the problems we are encountering, so please offer any advice you have that may be relevant. I suspect this is either a simple operation error in our design department, or an indication of a much bigger software glitch.




      So from what I gather in reading that thread, if you don't follow a particular sequence when checking in, rebuilding, saving, approving etc. of part models/drawings/assemblies it does create the risk of display errors, with no indication of such given (will still show as latest version, will show as being rebuilt).


      If I can provide any more details that might help with the diagnoses, please ask away. I will offer as much information as I can to make the issue more clear.


      As usual, thanks.

        • Re: EPDM order of operations (in design dept.)
          Tim Webb

          Hi Tanner,


          I am a mechanical engineer by training and education but am the document release manager and EPDM manager so not only can I sympathize with your plight, but I have also seen this before and concludede it is an issue of process.


          2 options:

          1. Engineering could save the eDrawing as an .exe which is a self-contained 3D representation of the data
          2. Engineering could save the SLDDRW as a .pdf which is a self-contained 2D representation of the data


          That being said, I have taken an entirely different approach to sharing data to supply chain, production, and vendors.


          Option 2. ONE self-contained, all-inclusive, wrapped up, representative, snapshot of the approved data that 99.9% of users can easily read...an EXE or PDF.


          I manage the document release department that ensures every PDF gets released and shared to the proper area in EPDM. You could easily implement either option 1 or 2 so your installer could get the EXE or PDF as the released snapshot.


          This wraps up all the data representing a drawing into a format every computer can easily read without worrying about references or settings. This approach wraps up all the design work into a "snapshot" of the data being released and becomes the vehicle all operations relies on. When you have a SolidWorks slddrw to worry about, there are numerous complexities and references that may appear differently to everyone in the facility.


          This also promotes a core philosophy that if that is the data we rely on to approve, build from, buy from, and install from. And engineering can make these easily.


          What this means to operations:

          1. You will need a department hub (like document release) that can monitor and handle document releases and anytime a PDF is released, they can share it into the proper installer's folder as a job.
          2. Your team of installers could open their install work order and get the latest version of the EXE/PDF they will install too, disconnect, and go offsite to do installation.
          3. Your EPDM admin could create work orders/task cards that represent the required work and attach the EXE/PDF as a reference so they have the package wrapped up into neat marching orders.


          I may have missed the mark but hopefully it will help. I offer this solution as "fewer headaches" to implement than trying to rely on engineering to ensure order of operations is right and could still mess your guys up.



            • Re: EPDM order of operations (in design dept.)
              Corey Vantilborg

              Tim's idea is a good one.


              Having used EPDM now for a good number of years I can no longer trust the e-drawings preview.  It is accurate 95% of time.  However sometimes  it is not.  If you have a large number of users, no amount of process control will fix the issues. 


              The suggestion to use .pdf is a good one, ensure tha the designer/engineering looks at the .pdf before putting it in the Vault it will always be the same and always be reliable.

                • Re: EPDM order of operations (in design dept.)
                  Tanner Moore

                  Tim, Corey,


                  Thanks for the .pdf suggestion. I like the sound of that approach specifically for the sake of our service technicians. I'm going to give it a try for programming, but I'll still need to convert all .pdfs to .dxfs for the nesting software I use. I'll have to see what kind of time it adds to my process. I'll present the same suggestion to our service and design departments and see if we can get some agreement there regarding stability.


                  Corey, you say you've lost faith in eDrawings preview. Does that statement pertain specifically to the preview, or just looking at any file in eDrawings? It is disconcerting if in fact eDrawings is only reliable in conjunction with PDM sometimes and not always.




                  As I originally stated, I do believe that the order of operations does have something to do with our limited success in using PDM so I will be passing that list onto design. Even if it does not serve to resolve this issue, they are currently establishing a process by which they relese jobs to manufacturing so any amount of rigidity or guideline consideration is a worthwhile endeavour. To elaborate on what you've offered, would you be able to provide a proper order of operations regarding the checking and approving of drawings in PDM? For instance, it might go something like this:


                  1. Design part
                  2. Save part
                  3. Submit for checking
                  4. Part returned to designer for modification
                  5. Modify part
                  6. Save part
                  7. Submit for checking
                  8. Approve in PDM
                  9. Print drawing


                  That order of that list is arbitrary. Again, I'm not a designer and don't have proper PDM education so I'm just listing steps that I imagine are required. I feel the proper sequence of those steps is as critical as any other design consideration but I may be mistaken. If in fact there a proper order of operations please let me know. Our next meeting is this coming Monday (Nov. 12) and I'm hoping to have some kind of suggestion to bring to the table.


                  Thanks again,


                    • Re: EPDM order of operations (in design dept.)
                      Jason Capriotti

                      I believe eDrawings will now display a watermark saying it's out of date. We turn it off however as our products structure doesn't give us the ability to update "everything" when a small part change occurs. You have to update each assembly up the chain to get it to go away.


                      I will echo Tim's suggestion that a PDF may be teh best option to capture a snapshot of teh model/drawing at time of release.


                      Tanner, our process is very similar:


                      1. Design Part (Concept)
                      2. Send to Doc Control for processing on ECO (InWork)
                      3. Send for internal department review to catch typos (InReview) (Can be reject back to InWork)
                      4. Send to Engineer for review (Engineering Review) (Can be rejected back to InWork)
                      5. Then it sits at "Approved" until all ECO related drawings and documents get to "Approved" (Can be rejected back to InWork)
                      6. Document Control Admins process drawings/models. (Pending Release) This sets the final revision counter. (This is final, cannot be rejected, we might rarely rollback though)
                      7. Doc Control user creates PDFs for all drawings, we are considering generating edrawing files as well in the future.
                      8. Doc Control Admin performs a final release (Release)


                      The important thing for us is not generate the PDF until it hits "Pending Release". At this state the revision counter and varaible is set and the users can no longer checkout the files so there is no possibility of editing.

                • Re: EPDM order of operations (in design dept.)
                  Jason Capriotti

                  eDrawings views what was last saved in the file. So if a part was changed but the related assemblies were not updated, then opening the assembly in eDrawings would appear without the changes where as opening the assembly in SolidWorks would appear correct as it loads all references and updates on the fly. Same with Drawings.


                  So the save order would be:

                  1. Parts (that will be inserted into other parts)
                  2. Parts
                  3. Sub-Assemblies (lowest level first)
                  4. Top level Assemblies
                  5. Part drawings
                  6. Assembly drawings


                  These rules would apply with or without PDM.