so when it all started, each kept a local copy of their projects on their own computers. Then we moved to a shared storage space on the network. Now we are using a server with shared folders.
At this moment, on the server, the 3D data is categorized as follows:
One CAD folder per project, each with 4 subfolders: 3D, Drawings, Drawings PDF and BOM.
This file structure works quite well, except that when we are moving projects to the server and moving the drawings to the Drawings folder, the link to the referenced part is lost.
For as long as I can remember, we've always separated the 3D files (part & assy) from the drawings in different subfolders. The main reason being that it makes it easier to quickly find drawings since they are all grouped together in one folder. I've read in many threads of people claiming that solidworks functions better when drawings are stored in the same folder as their reference part/assy, and I tend to agree.
For one it would make moving things much more simple - no more lost reference. Also, it allows to open the drawing from the 3D part file, which is nice-to-have.
Our part numbers are set in a Custom SW Property ("partno"). Do you know of a way to search and open a SW part/assy based on a custom property, like partno?
If I could find the drawing/parts/assy simply by performing a search by part number (which is stored in a custom property), then I wouldn't care how the 3D file structure is, and I would probably put all the drawings, assys and parts all in one folder.
Maybe the answer is PDM. We certainly do not have the budget and resources for EPDM, but maybe WPDM would meet our needs. I have never used it.
I was planning on installing it, however I decided not to after speaking to a friend of mine who works at large, known international company and they only use network storage for their CAD data - no PDM.
Thanks for your inputs.