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# Small company PDM implementation

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## Small company PDM implementation

(OP)
We are a small company that is specialized in CAD.

We curentlly use two PC workstations with Solidworks Standard on one and Solidworks Professional on other. One workstation is also used as data storage, so the other is working over the network to access this data. This is curentlly working fine, but it is not recommended as I'm aware. But we are limited with our resources and this was the only way to go so far. We also use collaboration option when we work on same projects.

The plan is to implement PDM to our company, because of easier work and easier versioning, specially on larger projects. Does anyone have any recomendations about implementation? Companies here that implement PDM don't sell server computer and we have to find it ourselves. This will probably be the first step. To acquire server and use it as a main data storage and after some time implement PDM. Any recomendations about server computer for such small company? I have to point out that we do all IT work for our small company ourselves and if it is possible we would like to keep it that way.

We would also like to know main practical differences between PDM pro and standard, if anyone can point them out quickly.

### RE: Small company PDM implementation

JerinG,

What do you need PDM to accomplish? Without clear objectives, you will screw up.

PDM gives you a storage vault. It logs who is doing changes. It prevent unauthorized changes. It allows you to drop all of your working data on a local hard drive. This is especially useful for remote laptops. You should make your drawing database searchable. This will require a lot of thought. You need to communicate outside your engineering department. PDM may help you with this. Again, you need to think out what you want.

--
JHG

### RE: Small company PDM implementation

(OP)
That is also why I'm asking this here. For some feedback of PDM in small companies.

I don't need PDM for checking who is doing changes, because we are too small for this. Some of our projects are big for such small company and it is hard to manually making revisions with all parts renaming - you quickly forget something. Solidworks Explorer is also slow and if I'm correct PDM uses different database managing. It would also be great if we could have all our data on remote server computer and then work localy only with files that need changes. This is useful also for making remote database on server PC which is also under RAID protection. Every few weeks we also make a backup copy of all our data and store it in another remote location. So I see a server PC as another backup and with RAID some aditional data saftey. But to work quickly and effective and with large amount of data we have to load this data to our workstations and I'm only aware of PDM that does this. If there are any other options, please state them. We also don't like having two different databases because this makes work much harder, if we are working on same projects.

### RE: Small company PDM implementation

We are a small company. I mainly use it but we have 2 contributors that just use it to look at stuff. I do all the changes and I also do all the approvals in all the areas of the workflow. Its not ideal, but its just me running it for now. We mainly use it for document control, consisting of revision management, work locally, files are stored on protected server that is backed up (unlike my HDD). Allow others to view the files and their data cards for better understanding of the parts\assemblies makes life easier for everyone and my phone doesn't ring near as often. Using PDM forces us to follow specific rules, where before you just named the file to anything you wanted, which doesn't work in PDM. I love the fact that everything is saved under a part number, even if its purchased. We have other rules for internal jobs, also for library (purchased) components.

To me all files should be saved a unique part number and the data card is where the description and all the other info about the part\assembly should exist. We have special cards for engines. The engines are purchased, but they have specific information we needed added to card so we can look at the card and not have to open the files to check it. All the other purchased components have a different card. Same goes for projects and Internal projects.

Example of our Engine and Purchased Data cards.

All of our Projects have a "Project number" and a "Project name". That info is transfer down through all the folders that I create in the Project. That info is also transferred to all the files I add to the project. If you setup the variables properly and you link your all your files types correctly along with your templates you won't have to do much.

We have PDM STD and it works for what we need. Yeah the Pro would be nice and would remove some of the manual stuff I have to track, such as Project Numbers and our Library numbers, but since its just me doing all of it, its no big deal. If I had a couple of more hands in the cookie jar, then there would have to more rules made, but it still would not be a problem.

The biggest thing you should do before implementing it is to have a plan on what you want to do and how you want to accomplish it. Such as part number control, revision control, workflow process, etc.. If you are going to be using the PDM STD, then you need to be aware of the limitations within that bundle. PDM Pro has far less limitations.

Scott Baugh, CSWP
Evapar

www.evapar.com

#### Quote:

"If it's not broke, Don't fix it!"
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

### RE: Small company PDM implementation

(OP)
SBaugh and drawoh,

Thank you for your answers. Nice to hear from someone who uses PDM in very similar way we would like to. I know that I have to know and plan what I want to do and accomplish. We already have a manual workflow with project numbering, revisions, etc. that works for us. We would like to implement it to PDM and automate as much as we could. But I don't know how to gnerate a workflow, when I don't know what PDM can offer me. I saw some presentations and it looked like we could accomplish a lot with PDM pro. I never used PDM before. And it is also quite an investment for us.

My plan is to set a meeting with my VAR and show them on our most complex projects what we would like to achive. And then we will se if we could do that with PDM standard. It will be more afordable for me to upgrade one SW standard to prof to get one more licence of PDM standard. It would still be nice if I could find some practical pointers on what are the limitations in PDM standard in comparison with PDM prof.

### RE: Small company PDM implementation

You don't have the full automation in PDM STD that you get in Pro. Such as automated part number scheme. I handle that manually myself and since its me its easy. At my last job there was two of us and the hardest part was we both had our own ideas on how it should be. He got what he wanted, because I left, (not because of that of course). That is a huge difference between the two. STD also has a 10GB Database limit, however that is a hard limit to hit, but its still a limitation.

The workflow is really fairly simple. Its all the little items inside the state and transitions that will be more confusing. I recommend that you take the training course if you buy the software. PDM is not something that can be learned on the fly. I merely learned by playing with it for several years. This is only the 2nd time i have had to set it up since its release several years ago.

Scott Baugh, CSWP
Evapar

www.evapar.com

#### Quote:

"If it's not broke, Don't fix it!"
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

### RE: Small company PDM implementation

(OP)
I will try with PDM standard first. It is enough expense for now to get a server and one SW upgrade from standard to pro. I checked and PDM pro will be too much for us. Any recomendations for the server machine? This is something I have to find first. I will also ask my VAR but it doesn't hurt to know more.

### RE: Small company PDM implementation

Do you not have an IT person there to help you sort out a server? I ask because at my previous job I was forced to be the IT Engineer and I am not in any way an IT dude. Myself and another employee talked the owner into purchasing a basic tower server, similar to this:

http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/cty/pdp/spd/po...

### RE: Small company PDM implementation

(OP)
Yes, that was an option also. But how would you suggest to get the files to both of our workstations to work on them? I don't want to work with files directly over network anymore. I'm doing it now, when I access the database we have on one of our workstations. It was causing us some problems in the past and the files get larger (don't know why, but Dassault also says that is an possibility with that kind of procedure) and we loose workstation performance. Copying manually back and forth is not an option. Too much room for error.

I'm considering PDM standard for now as I mentioned. We have one already and we will get the other with upgrade of one of our SW standard licences to Professional. I also have support, implementation and traning in current offer pricing. We planed for bigger expenses than what is curentlly in offer, so it's good. Main problem is to find time for PDM implementation during all work that is in progress. But if we won't do it now, we will probably never do it.

I will also replace one of our weaker workstations with a new one and use the older as a "server" machine with RAID (probably level 1) data storage for all our company data. It should be enough for two of us and get the job done for what we need.

### RE: Small company PDM implementation

To answer one of your questions, for a file server I would recommend RAID 5, or 10 depending on what you can afford. It has saved our bacon more than once when drives inevitably fail and the machine stays up and running.

That would also be a reason to buy a true “server” machine and not a PC. Servers tend to have RAID built in and “hot swappable" drives. Which means when a drive does fail, you can pop it out and replace it without shutting the machine down and opening up the case.

Check out Dell's Outlet site. They have reconditioned machines, including servers at discounted prices and full warranties. You just have to be quick as they don’t stay there long.

--
Ryan Gudorf
Budde Sheet Metal Works, Inc.

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
Solid Edge V20
NX10.0.2.6
TC10 in Testing
32 GB RAM, nVIDIA Quadro K4200

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