Up until now I have been opening assemblies in the SolidWorks Vault and creating the Composer files out of SolidWorks. How do you update a Composer Document after a model or assembly change if you cannot see the vault from Composer?
I would continue to create the Composer file from the SolidWorks Vault as you have been. The key will be on the authoring side. Use the Merge file into new document option when creating the Composer file that will contain authored content. This will ensure that the original assembly is "merged" into this document much like an assembly is "merged" into a .slddrw drawing file. All of your work would be in this parent Composer file.
Once you have the initial content created and are ready to update to a more recent version of the assembly, assembly select the node of the assembly turning it blue and execute the File|Update command. Composer will update only that assembly node and its children with the file. The file that is used for the update will be the latest version of the assembly in Composer format rather than the assembly file itself. This update will be a whole lot faster than going directly to the assembly file itself.
This is an extension of my response to your other posting earlier regarding merged components. I make the copy of the merged components so that the update procedure from above still works.
The way I do it is open your Solidorks file from your vault. In my case when I open something in the vault it puts a "temp" file of it in my working directory then removes it upon check-in. That being said I would just point my Composer update to the file in that working directory to update and then check my Solidworks assembly back into the vault.
You can also do the same thing for individual parts in your Composer assembly if the whole assembly didn't change. My computer is in the middle of a render of image from Composer otherwise I could include screen shots. If this doesn't work with you set up on your computer let me know and I can find another way.
If we upgrade to Enterprise PDM will we be able to work from the vault? Just store the Composer file there?
That is one of the nice things about Enterprise PDM. The local view is a File Explorer view. Composer just sees the files as regular files. In reality they are managed files.
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