Can anyone tell us their experience from going from Workgroup to GrabCad? Does it have a way to set-up an approval system? Can you migrate your files from Workgroup? Is it worth the cost saving using GrabCad and not moving up to Enterprise PDM?
Hi,i would like to have a feedback about this,too.
I just finished the 14 day trial and i didn't come across any approval setups. you can set users to have different permissions and there comments or 'approvals' can be added to the project/document commentary. The solidworks addin was good. however as wpdm is free in premium/proffesional? if theres more than a couple of users maybe it would be hard to justify the monthly fee?
The ability to give suppliers/non cad users selective access to your data could be worth the cost alone though depending on your setup.
Has anyone else been using GrabCad workbench?
Thanks for your feedback Daniel. I think I should have been more specific in my question. We have Solidworks Workgroup and I would like to get Solidworks Enterprise but the company doesn't like the price tag so much 30k+. Because of the price they started looking into GrabCad Enterprise. I don't see any great functionality looking at Grabcad that makes me feel like it is what we are looking for. The main reasons we started looking into moving up to Solidworks Enterprise is approvals, file structure, and access for everyone in the company. From what I can tell there isn't an approval system for GrabCad. Their file structure seems set-up for projects and collaboration (which we don't really do within our company or outside of it) and when you make a part change it doesn't update the file everywhere it is used you would have to go into each assembly and change the part. Access seems to be available for users but if everything is in projects I'm not sure how easy finding the production drawings for a part might be. I am also a little hesitant about the price per user and data charges. I haven't used GrabCad so I am trying to get the best idea I can from users and the videos available. I was hoping to find a company that went to Enterprise GrabCad instead of Solidworks Enterprise and could tell me how it is going or what they love about it.
I have not used grabcad enterprise, but I would be hesitant to go that way, Team Platform and GrabCad I may use if I was a 1 or 2 person company, but when things get complicated you want a more robust tool.
If it's just cost that's holding you back, then see what your VAR can do for you. I bet this week is the time to ask for a bit of a discount, and see if you can spread the cost out over time, it will take awhile to get an adminstrator trained and a few of the workflow details planned before going live anyway.
I use SW Enterprise PDM (and have used other PDM tools) and I really like Enterprise, no regrets and I looked at a bunch before purchasing.
I really feel the same. I have looked at several options and what you get with SW Enterprise PDM seems unmatched. From what I found you can pay more for Adept and get all the same function or you can pay less and get a lot less in functionality with the other PDM Management tools. GrabCad seems to be more of a drafting and design dropbox type program and while that may have it's place I think trying to compare or even replace SW Enterprise with it would be ludicrous. We were offered a bit of a deal from our VAR. The truth is it was a go (so they were ok with the cost) and then the owners started thinking about what if they don't use it. So they decided to have everyone document how they would use it and submit it to them. At that point half of the people who were completely on board said they wouldn't use it and it spiraled out from there. Now one of the owners is trying to find something cheaper that will do everything you get with SW Enterprise but I don't think that's out there :/
Yep, I understand, seen all that before.
I hate to sound like an elitist, but after twenty plus years of engineering and using PDM tools, consulting and designing, well,.. most design staff don't understand how valuable a system like Enterprise can be for them.
I looked at Adept as well, I had the same conclusion you did.
Can GrabCad provide at least three references of companies that are as big if not bigger than yours? and of those three companies are any of them getting the real value that Enterprise can provide. Is GrabCad even profitable? will they be around for 2015? Do they have the budget to continue improving, do they know what they need to do to truly compete with a true PDM system. I know SolidWorks is profitable and staying around, and improving what already is darn good.
just trying to help with questions you can ask.
Yes great points. I also noticed they are a very new company only a year old. That was a red flag to me. I want something proven and reliable. I don't want to be a test subject for a start up company that may or may not make it.
Although I currently don't have enough IT support to implement a trial of DDM myself yet, looking at the videos on their site of how it's set up and used, it looks similar to EPDM. Maybe an alternative....
I will check into DDM. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not opposed to using something else but I'm also not interested in compromising functionality.
Any idea how to make the plugin for solid works work? i don't seem to be able to enable it.
1. Uninstall GrabCAD Workbench in Control Panel 2. Download and install the new version of Workbench available here: https://grabcad.com/downloadworkbench When you run the exe you can to check to load in SW.
I have an interesting story on this topic as I just went through a three month long journey to find a PDM program for the growing company I am a part of. I do not have as much engineering experience as Steve, but I did work for the number one VAR (Hawk Ridge Systems) for about 2 years. We looked at the following programs for solving our issues:
1. Dropbox (I know, I know but at least it lets you work on local copies of files)
2. Aras Innovator
5. GrabCAD Workbench
Right off the bat I started a trial of Dropbox Business to test the packrat feature and the admin options. Dropbox is one of the most used programs for managing CAD files from what I saw at Hawk Ridge. Unfortunately, the business version completely lacked all the admin control you get in the SolidWorks PDM solutions. The packrat feature does make it easy to restore different revisions.
Then I researched the forums to see what other people had recommended and stumbled across Aras Innovator. It is a very interesting program and since it CAN be completely free it is enticing. The issues start to arise when you need to have at least a standard version of Microsoft SQL (~1800) and you will need to be trained. The Aras ecosystem relies heavily on how complex all the capabilities of the software are so you end up paying for trainig, consultation and possibly subscription fees. Aras is actually a PLM system so you would need to pay for the SolidWorks Connector since it is not free and not using it would be a very large time sync. Why would you go through all this trouble not to have things parametrically linked in SolidWorks? The subs cost on that are about $990/year alone. That program also only comes from one company which exist in Boston and your Aras VAR will be one more local.
Next, I got in touch with the people at GrabCAD because I firmly believe in the community. I love the competitions they host and I try to compete when I have time. I worked with one of their sales reps and when I started bringing up differences from what they have versus what I knew from SolidWorks they were eager to listen. They were actually so eager I talked to the directors of Software Development, Customer Relations, Sales, and even the CEO, Hardi. What they are doing is truly amazing, but it is something they are letting the users define more than them being rigid about how it is set up. That is not going to work for everyone, but in a small consulting company it would surely make you efficient at working with vendors and customers. GrabCAD Workbench works in a way where you can open/share the files you upload much like an eDrawings file but it is all built into your browser. It makes it very easy to cross section, measure, and leave bulletpoint specific comments. Workbench also notifies you of changes to parts in assemblies you have open in SolidWorks, it allows for a file locking strategy, it saves revisions in the cloud (hosted by Amazon), and it creates a PDF to drawings when you upload them through the SolidWorks Add-In. We ended up not going that way because Workbench only had soft locks for files, meaning anyone could unlock a locked file, and we could use the added benefits of upgrading our SolidWorks seats to Professional more (WPDM, toolbox, etc.).
For you, EPDM should be an easy sale if you have over 12 people in your company. 12 is a good number to gauge when your company would be saving money in EPDM due to time lost in slow search speeds through the ceiling you reach in WPDM being based in Windows architecture. EPDM is based on SQL which is designed to do task exactly like PDM. The notifications in EPDM are great and as you have probably heard EPDM can literally be customized to do anything you want. EPDM does cost money, but remember that $1800 SQL license you needed for ARAS? That comes with EPDM (though it is locked specifically for EPDM).
One of the biggest things to consider when looking at any PDM systems not directly built by SolidWorks is you will need to have multiple contacts for software support. This becomes a real time sink when you have to figure out where serious issues in your workflow are occuring and it is difficult for your VAR to trace down issues in programs they will just not know. You pay VARs a subscription fee so they can answer questions and get the issues you have in SolidWorks fixed. I hope some of this helps and I am happy to anwser any questions you may have.
Message was edited by: Ed Gilbert
Thanks for such a thorough response Ed. I have to say that the owners loved the experience they got from GrabCAD too. GrabCAD was very eager to get feedback and work on customer driven improvements. I had not heard of Aras but sounds like that might not be the way to go. However we do have a SQL server already so maybe. I'll check it out . I do want to have something the integrates inside of SolidWorks. I feel like it just makes sense. There are several partner solutions. Does anyone know of a cloud based PDM that operates inside of SolidWorks? I tried using the partner solutions section on SolidWorks website but I wasn't able to find anything.
Not sure if you considered Epigrid as a possible choice, but you may find the CAD Graphics BlogWorks post entitled "Epigrid... on the forefront of cloud-hosted EPDM" of interest.
My Antivirus program blocked me from going to the Epigrid website, identifying it as containing a trojan virius. That's the first time it has ever blocked me from a website.
If you are looking at GrabCAD have you ever looked at Kenesto. While it does not have as many features as PDM Standard or Pro it does offer a low price point for a aloud application. www.Kenesto.com
Your pushing the limits of the PDM Standard but have you tried it? It is the starter to upgrading to PDM Professional.
I have been using GrabCAD for a few months now. I like it a lot because it allows us to work locally (we have people in Canada and the US) and keeps our projects synced on the user's drives as well as on our US server. Sometimes I feel like we are Beta testing the program because several issues have come up. Luckily GC support has been quick to resolve most.
The biggest issue I have found with GC Workbench is that if a user empties a folder (for whatever reason) the empty folders are not deleted in the other locations during the sync. As such, syncing is not perfect and worries me that there might be other files not synced. There is no way to check by way of a report or log that can be accessed by the user.
GC Workbench does not have a checking and approval function and that is one area I am trying to get the company to improve in. We had looked at EPDM a couple years ago and the price we were quoted was staggering so we said no way at the time. That said, we are having our VAR meet with us again later this month to revisit this topic. I will be sure to tell them that a discount would be nice. I really want something more robust than GC Workbench that will give us that checking and approval function we so desperately need and hopefully give us a more trusted file environment.
Even though we are going to look at EPDM, I still feel that GC Workbench is a pretty good product that has a bright future if they keep developing it as they have. It is defenitely not for every business but for anyone budget conscious it is sure a lot more appealing than anything SW sells. And that, one may surmise, is the one thing I don't like about SW - the amount they charge for all their wares. Sure they are good products but I have used many other programs as good or better and have not had to fork over as much money to use it. I probably wouldn't hesitate to pick up Composer or other products if they were a lot more affordable.
Nice thread here ... adding my view point ...
I'm CAD manager in a mid size manufacturing company in Italy ... we have six main production subsidiaries around the world and some of these have also technical office and interact on product development with Italy ... we actually manage our files with a PDM which someone of you may know: DBWorks ... it is a good product and really well built inside solidworks but ... it lacks on some aspects: the worldwide files sharing/management system and BOM management for products without assembly cad files (we need to manage product first ... then cad files). Well, in the last year I started investigating on other systems and we dedicated 6 months on developing pilot PLM projects with two interesting solutions: Aras Innovator and Pro.File (by Procad, Germany). Both are really interesting and powerful solutions, with different market and price strategies, both affordable for a mid size international company ... well the problem is to convince our CEO that we need a PLM, since in the last few years we also developed a web portal where we are currently managing a lot of typical PLM stuff, including project management and drawings sharing system (pdf) ... the result is that we probably wont invest in a big PLM project ... from my side, I'm still troubleshooting with CAD files management between subsidiaries and this is the reason why in the last month I looked into Grabcad Workbench: this is the smarter tool I've ever seen regarding CAD files collaboration and sharing. I spoke with Grabcad guys and I can confirm it's a small company but with skilled people and it also seemed to me that they are most focused on customer request then on a strategic development roadmap. Anyway I think this tool will evolve and improve a lot in the next months ... this solution it's not ready as a real PDM replacement for mid size company but I'll keep it monitored because I'm sure it will grow fast ... just my two cents
I would agree with your assessment of GrabCAD. Its not yet ready to replace a system like DBWorks or EPDM, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them grow into capability - and quickly too. There will be others that does what GrabCAD does, too. The whole market will have to trend this way, because its more cost effective to the users.
I've used Workbench Grabcad for three months. I am a freelancer and I think it is a very good tool. I use it as a bridge between my PDMworks and my clients' systems. Sometimes they work with windows folders and other times with Enterprise PDM.
At the moment I am buying monthly subscription, but I think I will an annual one in a few months.
I've being working with a Workbench Professional account along 2014.
I've worked with PDMworks for 12 years. Now I work with both systems. PDMworks to manage my design work in my office, and Workbench to share the design with my clients. Don't matter which PDM uses my client or if he works with Windows folders. Grabcad is a perfect bridge between my office and my clients.
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