SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard and Pro are both robust data management solutions. However, PDM Pro has a number of exclusive features, any one of which could be a significant piece of a company’s data management solution. Let’s look at some of those features.
This feature allows companies to share data across multiple locations. Each location has its own archive server, this is where all vaulted files, both CAD and other, are stored. Data created each day at one location can be shared, via a set schedule, with each other location. Because files are local they are fast to retrieve. Each archive server works in conjunction with a single SQL database and database server, so file metadata and vault configuration are common across all locations.
PDM Pro offers the PDM administrator the option to allow vendors or customers to access vault files through the web. The Web clients are included at no extra cost. If configured appropriately anyone with access permission can preview and access vault files using most internet connected devices, including phones and tablets. Some companies use the web client to give their employees on the floor the ability to preview vault files using eDrawings on tablets.
Multiple Workflows and Unlimited Workflow States
For many companies PDM goes well beyond CAD files. With multiple workflows each department, division, or process in a company can be represented in PDM with a specifically tailored workflow. Additionally, each workflow can be expanded to accurately represent the product or ECO lifecycle. Because PDM Standard is limited to one workflow with ten states this is often not possible.
Certain features in PDM Pro allow the admin to automate PDM operations to minimize the upfront work required by the user and to eliminate mistakes. Let’s look at three of those features.
- Serial Numbers – Assign automatic names to files and folders and running values to data cards.
- Templates – Automate the creation of new files, both CAD and other, and folder structures.
- Tasks – Allows the automatic conversion of files to different file formats.
It’s fair to think of Dispatch as a sort of API Lite. In reality it is a PDM Pro Add-in built for creating client-side macros and can be picked up in a couple of hours. These macros can consist of an action or series of actions initiated by the client manually or by automatic trigger. Dispatch can be used for all sorts of things. See below for a few examples of common use cases.
- Check In/Check Out Automatically
- Move/Rename Files Automatically
- Write Properties to the Data Card
- Write Parameter Files
- Cancel PDM Operations (if something is done incorrectly by a user)
- Check variables on the data card Default tab and write values to the @ tab
- Delete PDF from library if native drawing goes under change
Andrew Bornstein, PLM Solutions Consultant, West