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Using PDM to Maintain PDF Revisions of Drawings

When you look at most organizations who design using CAD tools, almost all use the .PDF format to share files with others. The .PDF file format is easy to share, works consistently and most everyone has access to software to open them.

The problem that most companies face with this process is that someone has to manage these files. Doing this requires someone to know where it needs to be placed, whether to overwrite and old version of the .PDF or, move it. Don’t forget, they must remember the naming scheme so it can easily be identified as the latest and all while timing this with a change. It is a very resource intensive function and requires precision. If done incorrectly, there is a potential for the wrong data to go to the wrong person. An example would be if someone from the purchasing department was looking for the latest version to send to a vendor for manufacturing and they grab an old revision because someone forgot to generate the .PDF or made a mistake.

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Customer Spotlight: Castle Power Solutions

Making the switch from 2D to 3D can seem like a daunting task to companies who still find themselves entrenched in their legacy design processes. With this in mind, I wanted to take a minute to highlight one of CADimensions new partners from 2016, Castle Power Solutions.

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Is ERP - PDM Integration on your wish list?

The holiday season is a time to check things off your wish list. Whether you have been naughty or nice, crossing things off that list can be therapeutic. But what about your desire to no longer manually enter Bills of Material (BOM) into your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. That is a big wish for many organizations. Engineering has designed products in SOLIDWORKS and created a nice, neatly formatted, and complete BOM on a drawing, yet we still have to manually re-enter that data into our business process system. Let’s take a look at how we can make this sharing of data possible with PDM Professional and our partners.

Approaching a solution that will fit your organization requires us to layout and discuss all the possibilities available to make a connection to your ERP system, starting from an out-of-the-box answer, up to custom development. Here are 3 approaches to handling this connection.

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Customer Spotlight - Caldwell Manufacturing

Caldwell Manufacturing

For more than 125 years, the Caldwell Manufacturing Company (“Caldwell”) has created quality spring balances for window manufacturers around the world. Caldwell currently has six locations in the United States and three locations internationally that all work together to design and manufacture their line of spring balances.

Caldwell was faced with the challenge of slow speeds, communicating, and collaboration between their engineers across multiple locations. The process that Caldwell originally had in place was to work on designs over the network, through their server file structure. However, this created an enormous drop in production for the engineering team, due to the speed of working through a network. On top of slow speeds, the engineers were spending almost 15-20% of their time searching for parts and assemblies. These were the two factors that caused Caldwell to start the investigation process into purchasing SOLIDWORKS PDM Pro.

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Why Can't I Just Rename the File?

Renaming Files in the Feature Manager in a PDM Environment.

It happens all the time, during the development process we name files based upon their function like bracket, plate or handle. Then as the design progresses closer to manufacturing release, you often want to rename the files to a corporate part number. That process is cumbersome without PDM. In 2016, we have new options to perform this task inside of SOLIDWORKS if you are using PDM. Let’s take a look!

We will start by talking about what options must be set in both SOLIDWORKS and PDM to allow this to work.

In SOLIDWORKS, navigate to Tools> Options> System Options> Feature Manager and turn on “Allow component files to be renamed from FeatureManager tree.”

In the PDM Administration tool, you will need to have permissions to “Add or rename file” for the workflow state and the folder the file resides in.

Renaming Files

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Drawing Property Links (Part 1)

This SOLIDWORKS PDM blog is the first in a three part series. The information about SOLIDWORKS drawing properties contained within is the foundation for the other two topics. The second post (Part II) will be about linking model properties to the drawing file data card. This blog post comes directly from a SOLIDWORKS knowledge base solution: S-010321. The last post (Part III) will also explore linking drawing or model properties to the file data card with a little bit of a twist. The details in the last post is the result of an experiment per a customer’s request.

Please note that this blog is not about how to link annotations/notes to specific properties, but rather highlight the fundamental differences between each type of property link. If you want to learn more about how to create property links, then go to the following webpage: help.solidworks.com.

What the heck is $PRP, $PRPSHEET, $PRPMODEL, and $PRPVIEW?

Upon reading this question, you might answer as a SOLIDWORKS user, “Sure, I know what these property links are, but what does this have to do with SOLIDWORKS PDM?" The answers to this question are clearly defined in the next two blogs. For now, realize that the specifics below are beneficial to both SOLIDWORKS users and SOLIDWORKS PDM administrators.

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Linking SOLIDWORKS System Defined Properties to File Data Card (Part 3)

This is the last SOLIDWORKS PDM blog in a three part series. The first posting (Part I) laid the groundwork for understanding different types of SOLIDWORKS drawing file property links ($PRP, $PRPSHEET, $PRPMODEL, and $PRPVIEW). Part I was written with the notion it would benefit both SOLIDWORKS users and SOLIDWORKS PDM administrators. The second blog article provided instructions on how to link property values from the SOLIDWORKS model to the controls on the drawing file data card. The main audience for this topic was for SOLIDWORKS PDM administrators only. 

The information below details how to insert SOLIDWORKS system defined properties (SW-File Name, SW-Author, etc.) to the associated file data card within SOLIDWORKS PDM. Again, this posting is mainly directed towards SOLIDWORKS PDM administrators. Like the second blog, the details contained within apply only to clients with SOLIDWORKS PDM CAD Editor License type. This requirement is reinforced below under “Exercise” section.

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Linking Model Properties to Drawing File Data Card (Part 2)

This SOLIDWORKS PDM blog is the second in a three part series. The first posting (Part I) laid the groundwork for understanding different types of SOLIDWORKS drawing file property links ($PRP, $PRPSHEET, $PRPMODEL, and $PRPVIEW). Part I was written with the notion it would benefit both SOLIDWORKS users and SOLIDWORKS PDM administrators. This article, on the other hand, is directed towards SOLIDWORKS PDM administrators solely.

The administrator will learn how to link property values from the SOLIDWORKS model to the controls on the SOLIDWORKS drawing file data card. This blog posting comes from the following SOLIDWORKS knowledge base solution: S-010321. The details contained within apply only to clients with SOLIDWORKS PDM CAD Editor License type. This requirement is reinforced below under “Important Notes” section.

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