23 Replies Latest reply on Feb 22, 2015 2:14 AM by Iftach Priel

    Implementing EPDM on shop floor.

    Mike Ramsey

      Let me start off by saying I've been reading some pretty interesting threads in here on getting shop floor users in EPDM. We are starting down that path to replace a network drive that contains duplicate pdf copies of 2D drawings. Our plan is to have a search card that allows the users to search by part number only for the part they are machining or finished product they are assembling. We are doing this because there are complaints that trying to navigate through a folder structure is too difficult and time consuming for the guys on the floor (not my words, operations).

       

      Anyway aside from the search card what else has been successful for you folks and on the flip side what hasn't worked?

       

      How do you ensure the guys on the floor are working with the correct released print? I realize I can make it clear the local cache on log out but the PC's n question are rarely if ever restarted. It sounds like some people are having success with a script ran by windows task scheduler to clear the cache on a regular basis and that helps.

       

      How are you dealing with files that are currently involved with an ECN? Do you make them disappear from view with workflow permissions or do something else? When we do make certain states unreadable by the shop floor what boxes do I need to check to enable them to see the last released version of the file?

       

      I'm just looking for ideas from the crowd here on what worked for you and what didn't.

        • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
          Jason Spansel

          I would make sure they are their own "group".  Set the permissions so they cannot move, delete, etc.  Only read.  In the group permissions, you can always check the box of "always work with latest version" as well. (under group/settings/reference dialog).

           

          Our prints are attached to the "Job" that the floor sees through our production software.  So we generally do not have the floor going through PDM anyways.   That way we know they have the "latest" and our Production control people take care of all that.  If a drawing changes mid "Job", (all departments notified through PDM Notifications), then that job is cut short (if cant be reworked) and new job is created to new rev.  Something of that sort.

            • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
              Mike Ramsey

              I'm in the process of setting that group up now actually. The plan is to give them access to native CAD files in a "released" state and we also have a PDF version of those files we generate for supply chain to sent to suppliers. They will have access to the PDFs also because we have several drawings that we still use that got turned into PDF files from the old hand drawn mylar prints.

                • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                  Adrian Velazquez

                  Mike, if you have  Revisions properly setup on your Workflow, I would also advise that for your Group of Shop users you uncheck "Show Working Versions" This guarantees they won't see any work in progress files.

                   

                  Another thing I experience in the past is that sometimes that the previews of Drawings files (edrawings) Don't show the latest version saved. We made it user procedure to save SW Drawings as "Detached" drawings. I'm not sure if this is still the case on the EPDM 2014 or 15

                    • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                      Mike Ramsey

                      I'm not even sure I'm going to show them the preview window, just make them open it up to see it. The preview window slows down browsing and the legacy CAD stuff we have shows up as a text file in the preview.

                       

                      On a related note is it possible to keep them from opening the history of a file? Doesn't sound like we want them to be able to see it.

                        • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                          Jason Spansel

                          I know you can remove the "History" Button from the toolbar and the right click menu options.  From the Admin tool, Groups, Settings, Toolbar and Menus.

                          • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                            Tim Webb

                            Mike,

                             

                            You are heading in the right direction. I like your approach of not wanting them to navigate through the system. Limit the bad decisions they could make by serving up only the data they need to use when they need it.

                             

                            My first recommendation is to talk with Chris Vaught with Flatter Files www.flatterfiles.com about "publishing" your data to a central repository automatically during release. Let his solution handle it all for you, I've seen it in action and even shared a booth with him at SolidWorks World 2015 last week. It's the best publishing system I've ever seen for getting data to supply chain, production, and both internal and external vendors. I've recommended it to all my EPDM clients. It has a built in viewer that your shop floor customers will appreciate. One of my EPDM Dashboard customers is already using Flatter Files heavily and they have integrated EPDM into operations outside engineering in Supply Chain and Production like you.

                             

                            Next, I have implemented this type of solution several times in EPDM and have made it work powerfully. And after doing that several times, would not recommend doing it in the future just because there are other tools that will manage that publishing you need.

                             

                            If you decide to, then here are the key guideposts to consider for your strategy. The high level strategy I use is talk with the customer to understand their needs then serve up only the data they need. I have found that too much data in their hands can create an environment of making bad decisions with the data they have due to complexity. So, simplify it as much as possible.

                             

                            1. Define the right solution. Ask yourself if this is best handled by EPDM or if a publishing utility like Flatter Files would handle it better or if the Web viewer like Web 2.0 would be the right solution.
                            2. Talk with several of your customers and their boss about their needs for data visibility
                            3. Decide how much data your customer needs to see and "which" data your customer needs to see and show them only that (PDF, SLDDRW, DWG, DOCX, XLSX, etc.)
                            4. Decide if your implementation warrants segregating that data off into a separate folder structure where the data is shared there from #3 above. Possibly through an add-in during release transition or one of your Document Control staff by process share released data to the shop folder. You can then use a much smaller datacard for that folder with only the part number, description, and REV...etc.
                            5. Develop the pseudo roadmap for data visibility (workflow roadmap) and test it as a test user logged in as someone in their group to see what the interface looks like
                            6. Develop the process based on #5
                            7. Develop the training
                            8. Communicate the process you're about to implement
                            9. Take feedback before, during, and after implementation
                            10. Make it better based on your customer's feedback

                             

                            Hope this helps,

                            Tim CEPA

                            equivaQ Software

                              • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                Chris Vaught

                                Tim - Thank you very much for the endorsement.

                                 

                                Mike - It sounds like Flatter Files might be a really good fit. Everything you have mentioned is already handled seamlessly within Flatter Files. Currently it is being used by many EPDM customers including Makerbot for both internal production access as well as external supplier access. I look forward to discussing your requirements and potential for Flatter Files within your company. Please feel free to contact me directly at cvaught@flatterfiles.com or (405) 261-9295.

                                  • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                    Mike Ramsey

                                    Tim and Chris,

                                     

                                    Thanks for showing me that flatter files program. I'm not sure that's exactly what I'm looking for at least not yet but as we get further into this I may re-evaluate it.

                                     

                                    All that aside is there a way in epdm, other than using separate workflows, to hide certain file exstensions from users? I want the guys on the floor to see the slddrw files but not the sldprt or sldasm files.

                                      • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                        Brian McEwen

                                        The easiest way to show only slddrw files is probably with a separate state for drawings - it could be done with an auto transition after they all get released.  And there is nothing wrong with a separate workflow - it would allow you to have 2 States called "Released" but they could be treated differently (permissions)  because they are in separate workflows.  There are probably other ways...

                                         

                                        But I also have to ask why can't they look at a 3D model? sometimes that is helpful.

                                         

                                        We use state based permissions. The "Show Working Versions" setting does not seem that important as long as you have permissions set for the states you want them to be able to see, and not for the states you don't want them to see. But it depends on how you set up your workflow.

                                          • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                            Mike Ramsey

                                            Kind of what I suspected Brian. I'm not opposed per say to letting them see the 3D models but I've had some issues with people outside of engineering getting confused between looking at a model or a drawing. For me the ideal world would be to just let to see one file for each part they are making just to cut down on questions I'm getting.

                                              • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                Adrian Velazquez

                                                Mike, In may experience, having access to 3D models helps on cutting down do number of issues (I thought this dimension was pointing to this point/edge on the drawing ...) from Manufacturing to Engineers/designers. It's just a matter of having a couple of training sessions with the people on the floor that will be accessing this info.

                                                • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                  Brian McEwen

                                                  I just  had another thought on this - since you are making a custom search card for the shop (an excellent idea, keep it simple) - you can have it by default only return drawings. Then they can go to the folder if they want to see the 3D parts. 

                                                    • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                      Mike Ramsey

                                                      Well that would be perfect to work it like that.

                                                       

                                                      Is that set up in the card editor or somewhere else?

                                                        • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                          Jim Sculley

                                                          I don't think this is possible.  There is an SPR (734941) for it.

                                                           

                                                          Wouldn't it be easier to generate PDFs and have the shop floor (and anyone outside the Engineering group) use those?  That's how I set things up here.

                                                           

                                                          Jim S.

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                            Brian McEwen

                                                            Well... it is not going to be as easy as you would expect...  Out of the box you cannot use the Search card Default Values (lower right in Card Editor) to get what you want (you can use it, but first you need a useful variable).

                                                             

                                                            Here is one approach by  Iftach Priel Re: How to search EPDM for both Parts and Assemblies but not Drawings?

                                                             

                                                            So to get this drawing-only search to work you need to capture either the whole file path, or just the file extension in an EPDM version free variable.  Then you set the default value to "*.slddrw"

                                                             

                                                            There are a number of reasons to get the full filepath written to a data card variable (and probably a few to not do this, like you have to keep it updated) - if you have that then the filename and extension are also included. One advantage of Filepath over File Extension is it has more uses, and you don't need to use Dispatch to cut the file name down to just an extension (depending on how you use it).

                                                             

                                                            You could probably create a Favorite, but using Default Values is more elegant.

                                                             

                                                            Only part of Priel's approach I don't get is the "Radio Button" in step 4 - if I wanted the ability to change the search to different file types, I would think an Editable Combobox.

                                                              • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                                Jason Kerns

                                                                Brian,

                                                                    Sorry if I read this wrong, but I have a search that does filter by drawings only.

                                                                EPDM 2013

                                                                  • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                                    Brian McEwen

                                                                    That makes sense. But that works because you don't have a File Name control on your search card. If you did that "-01.slddrw" text would appear in the Edit box or whatever, and then it would be easy to type over it.

                                                                    ... Actually I don't know for Mike Ramsey - I assumed he would be using file name, but his words were actually "search card that allows the users to search by part number only" so if they are really using a part number field (all their data cards are populated), and not the file name (Name variable), then he could simply use the default values to limit the search (without a new variable).  Good point. 

                                                                      • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                                        Adrian Velazquez

                                                                        In conclusion... EPDM Search Cards suck!

                                                                        • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                                          Mike Ramsey

                                                                          Part numbers/file names are not always the same. Anything we've created with solidworks will be but we have a lot of stuff that was created before solidworks and the full part number isn't always used. We have a "smart" 12 digit part number logic which like anything else has its pros and cons. Part of the "smart" number is a 3 digit field for a material code; iron is 100, steel is 271 and so on. Prior to using solidworks we would only use 7 of the 12 digits that make up the part number for drawings but our ERP system used all 12 digits. That did cause some issues outside of engineering so when we implemented solidworks we started always using all 12 digits of the part number. So I need a search card that will find solidworks files (preferably just drawings), me10 files and pdf files.

                                                                      • Re: Implementing EPDM on shop floor.
                                                                        Iftach Priel

                                                                        Brian,

                                                                        There are a number of reasons to get the full filepath written to a data card variable (and probably a few to not do this, like you have to keep it updated) - if you have that then the filename and extension are also included. One advantage of Filepath over File Extension is it has more uses, and you don't need to use Dispatch to cut the file name down to just an extension (depending on how you use it).

                                                                        Interesting. I never thought of using the whole path. Only thing is that in may company files tend to move around often, so the path changes. I actually use the extension variable quite a lot in dispatches, search cards and conditions.

                                                                         

                                                                        Only part of Priel's approach I don't get is the "Radio Button" in step 4 - if I wanted the ability to change the search to different file types, I would think an Editable Combobox.

                                                                         

                                                                        Editable Combobox would work just as well. It really depends on the graphic interface of the search card. For radio buttons, you set up a few of them, and relate them all to your extension variable. The caption in each one is slddrw, sldprt, sldasm, sld*, pdf, dxf, and so on.

                                                                        Another trick, is to have the box of the radio button small enough so that only the button can be seen, but not its caption (see image). 

                                                                        Capture1.GIF

                                                                        Then, add a static text next to the button with the text you actually want to show. This way you can have a radio button with a caption like sld* but the user see something like "SolidWorks Files Only".

                                                                        You can do something similar with drop-lists, referring to a special value - a list of "text with alias".