PDMWorks Enterprise Workflow – Lifecycles vs. Routes

For those who use PDMWorks Enteprise, you will notice that all documents are assigned a workflow when they are added to the vault.  These workflows are developed using the Workflow Editor (here is an example).Workflow_example

Everything from a CAD drawing to a word document will have a workflow assigned.  Because of this, we have seen some people confuse workflow with document routing.  In PDMWorks Enterprise, a workflow can serve two purposes, Document Lifecycles and Document Routing.  Here is the difference:

Document Lifecycle:  This applies to documents that undergo revision control.  For example, a SolidWorks drawing may start out as "Work In Progress", then move to "Pending Approval", then "Approved".  Once Approved, the drawing gets a new revision which moves it back to "Work in Progress." The file goes through "Pending Approval" and "Approved" once again and then goes through this loop every time a new revision is required.  This path represents the lifecycle of the drawing.

Document Routing: This applies to documents that need to be "delivered" to various users in an organization.  For example, an ECN would be attached to a route that could start at "Initiated", move to "Engineering Review", "Manufacturing Review", to "Completed."  In this case, the workflow has a beginning and end.

So, as you are working on your SolidWorks Drawing workflow, keep in mind that drawings are typically lifecycled not routed.  If, you need to route your solidworks drawings to various departments for approval, usually we see those being attached to ECNs or New Drawing processes that have their own forms and routes.  If anyone has any questions, just reply to the post or send comments to the team at InFlow Technology.

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