We looked into using Composer a long time ago for this type of work and concluded that it would work very well, but was too expensive. I believe the price dropped a bit when Dassault bought them, but it is still pretty expensive.
I believe this forum is really meant for discussion of the documentation and training to use SolidWorks itself, not using SolidWorks to generate documentation. It doesn't get a whole lot of traffic, so it might be better to move this discussion to another forum. Unfortunately, I can't see another forum that it fits really well in. Perhaps just try General.
I think the command to move the thread will be available to you in the Actions box at the upper right.
We use Composer for similar design documentatino tasks, but you are right that the PDM interface presents some challenges in controlling both sets of document types.
Drawings being used as a documentation tool would be an alternate option, but you are right that it would be hard to control down-stream as the intent of native SW drawings is being stretched.
We have found that the use of Composer is best reduced as a tool to generate the artwork in a manner that can be 'refreshed' as design updates are pushed through. The captured views of the product can be regenerated and then output in the format of your company's need to work within the constraints of the documentation tool.
Our workflow for technical documentation is typically like this:
- Design is at some reasonable progress point (usually 70% or more)
- Assemblies pushed to Composer for view creation
- Documentation started with place-holders for images
- Images created but not inserted into document (simply attached as reference for the tech doc team)
- Model completed
- Final images generated from updated Composer document
- Images saved out for documentation (remain attachments for reference)
- Documentation completed by tech doc team
- Insert images
- Finalize on formatting
We save both the Composer, SolidWorks and tech doc content in the vault through the design process. That way we have historical data to fall back on for all of the digital file types.
Does that make sense to you?
Jerry and Brandon,
Thank you both for your replies.
Jerry- I'll move this question over to the "General" section to see if I can get more traffic. Thanks for the tip.
Brandon- Yes, your process makes sense but I guess I'm looking at things more from a document control perspective. For companies under ISO, FDA, etc type document control systems, what is the best way to manage manufacturing instructions, process documentation, etc?
I hope that makes sense. Let me know if you need further clarification.