Hope this isn't a repeat as my search skills in the forum are still limited.
We generate a lot of PDFs that are used by our suppliers and Production and Sales. The PDFs are generated automatically and put into a directory specific to there workflow state (working revision, In design and Production). Creating the PDFs works pretty well. The file names combines the part number and revision (I'd love to include the description but I could never make Tim Read's advanced scripting of the convert task work).
Here's my issue - maintaining only the latest revision of the PDF in each of the folders, approximately 30 with each supplier having different combinations. For each of the newly published PDFs I have to search for the same name, move the previous version to a PDF archive, deleted all the ones that were paste shared and then paste share the new version to appropriate supplier. It's a maintenance nightmare. The other issue is that there are no relationships between the PDFs. So when I am sharing a weldment, I have to manually locate all the component PDFs of the weldment to share as well.
I have started righting a spec to have a custom add-in created to support this PDF method.
What I am asking here is, does anybody successfully work without PDFs, just the Solidworks files? Here are the pros that I see:
1) I can make sure that suppliers can only see released versions of the Solidworks files
2) Once I share the Solidworks files I don't have to delete and share again for revision changes; when the new version is released to Production the supplier should be able to get latest and see the new revision automatically.
3) Solidworks models are viewable with free eDrawings, so just like PDFs there is a nice viewer for suppliers to work with.
4) If I need an earlier revision of the part made, a supplier should be able to Get version to access it.
5) Even though weldment components also have to be shared (no inheritence rights) at least I can easily see the BOM and share the component files. (I'd liek to have an add-in that this automatically too)
1) I'm worried about drawings being accurate. When I preview a drawing in EPDM I see a bunch of times the drawing needs updating watermark. I think this is from both cyclic references and virtual parts.