SolidWorks PDM (Product Data Management) is a powerful tool that can help you manage and organize your engineering design data. It is an essential software for design and engineering teams who need to track and control versions of CAD files, manage revision histories, and collaborate with others on complex projects.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of SolidWorks PDM, from its key features to its benefits and limitations. Whether you are new to SolidWorks PDM or looking to improve your knowledge of the software, this article will give you a better understanding of what it can do and how it can help you in your design and engineering projects.
So, let’s dive into the world of SolidWorks PDM and discover how it can simplify your design data management process!
Today SolidWorks has many Domains for its user to work with. For inter-disciplinary usage, we do need a data management system. We need to understand each and every product of SolidWorks. The domains of SolidWorks are as follows:
- Design/ Engineering.
- Data management / Collaboration.
- Manufacturing ERP.
- Manufacturing / Production.
- Marketing / Sales.
SolidWorks PDM comes under the 2nd Domain. Data is the driving force behind product creation. It provides a secure area for your stakeholders to interact, iterate, and create real-time data, accessible anytime and from anywhere, by safely storing and sharing it.
SOLIDWORKS Product Data Management (PDM) solutions assist you in gaining control of your design data and significantly improving the way your teams manage and communicate on product development. The SolidWorks PDM is a tool that brings connectivity to any organization.
SolidWorks Product Data Management (PDM) has several packages which are as follows: Standard, Professional, and Manage.
- SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard: A data management tool designed for small organizations that operate from a single location. At a later time, it can be upgraded to Professional.
- SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional: A data management program with outstanding performance and scalability that connects with third-party CAD software and Microsoft Office.
- SOLIDWORKS Manage: An advanced data management system built on records that can be disseminated and used across businesses.
Explanation of technical terms
- Product Data Management (PDM): PDM is a software that manages product data throughout its lifecycle. It includes the creation, version control, revision history, and sharing of product design data.
- Version Control: Version control is the process of managing and organizing different versions of a file. In SolidWorks PDM, it allows you to track changes and access previous versions of a file.
- Check-in/Check-out: Check-in and check-out are actions that you can take on a file in SolidWorks PDM. When you check out a file, you are locking it so that no one else can make changes to it. When you check in a file, you are unlocking it and saving your changes to the file.
- Revision Control: Revision control is the process of managing and organizing different revisions of a file. In SolidWorks PDM, it allows you to track changes to a file, such as modifications or corrections, and keep a history of those changes.
- CAD Files: CAD (Computer-Aided Design) files are digital files that contain design data for a product. These files can be created using various software programs and can include 3D models, drawings, and other technical data.
Here are some real-world examples of how companies have used SolidWorks PDM:
- Röchling Automotive USA – Röchling Automotive, a leading global automotive supplier, implemented SolidWorks PDM to streamline their product development process. With SolidWorks PDM, they were able to easily manage and control their design data, automate their release process, and reduce the time it takes to bring a new product to market.
- AirBorn Inc. – AirBorn Inc., a manufacturer of electronic components, used SolidWorks PDM to improve their design data management process. With SolidWorks PDM, they were able to eliminate data loss, automate their design review process, and reduce the time it takes to find and access design data.
- L-3 Communications – L-3 Communications, a global supplier of communication systems, used SolidWorks PDM to manage their complex engineering design data. With SolidWorks PDM, they were able to improve their design data accuracy, reduce the risk of data loss, and enhance collaboration between their engineering teams.
- EDAG Engineering GmbH – EDAG Engineering, a leading engineering service provider, used SolidWorks PDM to manage and control their design data across multiple sites. With SolidWorks PDM, they were able to standardize their design processes, reduce their engineering change orders, and improve the quality of their product designs.
These examples show how SolidWorks PDM can benefit various industries, including automotive, electronics, and engineering services. SolidWorks PDM provides a range of benefits, such as better design data control, improved collaboration, and reduced time to market.
SolidWorks PDM Features:
The SOLIDWORKS PDM centralizes the storage of all of your engineering data and related files, allowing you to make use of the following features:
- Version control for both minor and significant revisions to help minimize data loss
- A secure repository for quick information retrieval
- Integrated workflows that automate your design and approval procedures, allowing you to evaluate and distribute final designs more quickly.
- Other product data management solutions take a long time to implement; this solution takes only a fraction of the time.
You can drastically reduce the time you spend looking for parts, assemblies, and drawings with SOLIDWORKS PDM.
SOLIDWORKS PDM is a part of the SOLIDWORKS product development solution, which includes design, simulation, technical communication, and data management. It will help you manage your complete product development process and drive design reuse.
Designers can stay focused in one environment with the rich toolset incorporated in the SOLIDWORKS user interface, eliminating the need to switch interfaces for data management activities.
SolidWorks PDM Standard:
SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard delivers a straightforward collection of configurable tools to manage your SOLIDWORKS files, powered by Microsoft SQL Server Express and fully incorporated inside SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD and Windows Explorer. PDM’s major job is to serve as version control, which is a crucial and necessary aspect of any product design process. However, the program goes much farther, giving tools and capabilities that facilitate total product lifecycle management as well as allowing and encouraging collaborative collaboration.
Find the data you need quickly:
Today Engineers and designers often waste a significant amount of time looking for files. SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard comes with powerful search tools to help you get things done faster.
- Advanced searching inside Windows Explorer.
- The configurable search form presents users with input fields
relating to company-specific information.
- Built-in SOLIDWORKS file preview helps confirm the desired
file is accessed.
Keep track of revisions and versions:
It’s tough to keep track of version and revision history, and it leads to a lot of duplicate data. SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard makes this simple because it keeps track of all design changes automatically.
- Versions are automatically created and references updated.
- To adhere to company requirements, a flexible revision method is used.
- When using SOLIDWORKS, it is simple to access past iterations of components, assemblies, and drawings.
When document approval processes are manual or inefficient, time is lost. SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard helps automate this process and keeps everyone informed while doing so.
- Limit individual or group access based on the current process state
- Automatically notify specified users and groups whenever a file’s state changes
- Use up to 10 adjustable states during the approval process to add electronic signature details.
- Visual workflow tool that is simple to use
Secure access management:
Security of data and information is crucial during the product design phase. Nobody wants a new product’s specifications to be revealed before its official launch. You may set up secure access control with SOLIDWORKS PDM so that only users with a specific login and password can access particular files.
Granular control can be set up to limit who has access to move and rename files, grant some users the ability to perform restricted activities, etc.
SolidWorks PDM Professional:
SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional, powered by Microsoft SQL Server Standard, expands the features of SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard to enable easy data sharing and design collaboration throughout your whole organization.
The SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional includes all the functionality of PDM Standard, but it adds a number of additional features, which are as follows:
Working together across boundaries:
Organizations for product development can operate across time zones and continents. No matter the distance or location, SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional fosters collaboration.
- Search for data using a variety of criteria, including the document or file name, the data it contains, or custom attributes like the component number, description, or the current workflow status (e.g., released or in the process).
- Vault replication can provide remote users with instant access to designs, specs, and documentation.
- Make web-enabled portals available so that workers and partners may contribute using various connected devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
- Through secure access, including connections with Active Directory (AD) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, you can manage who has access to particular technical data and project information (LDAP).
Easily manage non-CAD data:
SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional offers effective administration of all design-related information and extends essential product data management beyond mechanical CAD files.
- It is simple to create individualized bills of materials (BOMs) for different departments.
- More than 250 different file kinds, including the most common CAD formats, Microsoft Office files, pictures, and animations, may be managed, viewed, and printed.
- Create neutral files automatically, such as PDFs, eDrawings, or STEP.
- Utilize the numerous connectors to SOLIDWORKS Electrical, Microsoft Office, and popular CAD programs that are already included.
Automate operational procedures:
While automating the tracking of approvals and sign-offs, SOLIDWORKS PDM’s graphical user interface makes it easy to map processes and reduce administrative labor while maintaining accuracy and accountability.
- Apply a variety of workflows to deal with various document kinds and approval procedures.
- Use parallel transitions to make it easier for the many needed approvers.
- Utilize serial number generators to automatically create and assign properties, such as part numbers, project numbers,
and document IDs.
- Automate the development of standard documents and project folder structures to assist assure data consistency and completeness.
Above are the added features of the SolidWorks PDM professional.
The above article has given us a very quick brief about the SolidWorks data management systems.
Limitations of the software
Here are some limitations of SolidWorks PDM:
- Learning Curve – SolidWorks PDM can have a steep learning curve for users who are new to the software. It requires some time to understand its features, configuration options, and workflows. It may take some time and resources to train users to use the software effectively.
- Limited Collaboration Features – While SolidWorks PDM provides collaboration tools, it may not be suitable for all types of collaboration. For example, it may not have robust features for collaborative design, such as live collaboration or version merging. Therefore, it may not be the best solution for some teams that require more advanced collaboration features.
- Cost – SolidWorks PDM can be expensive for small and medium-sized businesses. The software requires a license and annual maintenance fees, which may not be affordable for smaller teams or startups.
- Scalability – While SolidWorks PDM is suitable for small to medium-sized teams, it may not be scalable for large organizations. The software may face performance issues when handling a large number of files, users, or workflows.
- Integration – SolidWorks PDM is designed to work with SolidWorks CAD software, which may limit its compatibility with other CAD software. This can be an issue for teams that use a mix of CAD software programs.
It’s important to note that while SolidWorks PDM has limitations, it remains a powerful tool for managing design data. It can help teams streamline their workflows, improve data accuracy, and reduce the risk of data loss. However, it’s important for teams to assess their needs and requirements before choosing SolidWorks PDM as their design data management solution.
- SolidWorks PDM Help Documentation – The SolidWorks PDM help documentation is a comprehensive resource that provides information on using the software. It includes step-by-step tutorials, videos, and examples to help users learn how to use the software effectively.
- SolidWorks PDM Forum – The SolidWorks PDM Forum is a community where users can ask questions, share their experiences, and get help from other users. The forum is moderated by SolidWorks experts who can provide technical support and guidance.
- SolidWorks PDM Tutorials – SolidWorks PDM tutorials are a great resource for learning how to use the software. They provide step-by-step instructions and examples that cover a range of topics, from basic concepts to advanced workflows.
- SolidWorks PDM Partner Products – SolidWorks PDM partners offer products that integrate with the software and provide additional features and functionalities. These products can include data analytics, product lifecycle management (PLM), and project management solutions.
- SolidWorks PDM Training – SolidWorks PDM training is a good option for teams who want to improve their skills and knowledge of the software. SolidWorks provides online and in-person training courses that cover various topics and skill levels.
In conclusion, SolidWorks PDM is a powerful tool that can help you manage and control your design data. It provides a range of features and functionalities that can simplify your data management process, reduce errors, and improve collaboration with your team.
With SolidWorks PDM, you can easily track and control your design data, automate your release process, and reduce the time it takes to bring a new product to market. Additionally, the software provides collaboration tools that allow you to share your design data with your team and improve your overall productivity.
While SolidWorks PDM has some limitations, it remains a popular choice for design and engineering teams who require a robust and reliable design data management solution. With the right training, resources, and support, SolidWorks PDM can be a valuable asset for any team that needs to manage their design data effectively.
We hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of what SolidWorks PDM is, how it works, and its benefits and limitations. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about SolidWorks PDM, we encourage you to explore the resources provided in this article and contact a SolidWorks expert for guidance.