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Pros/Cons of Migrating Material & Symbol files from Network folder/drive to Windchill folder?

LawrenceS
17-Peridot

Pros/Cons of Migrating Material & Symbol files from Network folder/drive to Windchill folder?

We are considering migrating the following files from a network drive to a Windchill folder, but would first like to hear what the pros and cons of doing so.  Obviously a pro of having in Windchill is back up and revision/state control.  However what else have you found?

  1. .mtl Material files (pro_material_dir)
  2. .sym Symbol files (pro_symbol_dir)

 

Currently, from the network drives, if either one of these file types are modified, and the Creo model opened again, neither will look at the new file as they are both saved with the model only and loose their connection to the original file.  Does it work differently when using Windchill?  Have you found any config options to help control this or for these files to work better using Windchill vs Network folders?


"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

These files work the same whether in Windchill or network drives - a copy is stored inside the Creo model.

 

There are pros and cons to each. Drawings formats are the only thing that have to be in Windchill.

 

Network drive:

  • Pros
    • Users don't always have to be in Windchill. Companies may want the ability to toggle between Windchill and non Windchill.
    • Can have the same file name in multiple locations. Example: you can put the material in multiple folders if desired.
  • Cons
    • Users have to make sure the network drive is mapped. You can use the full UNC path to work around this.
    • Network drives can sometimes be slow and performance can vary greatly by location. A workaround could be 'always available offline' on network drives if your company allows this but this has its own downsides (changes take time to sync, may require user to perform this action,). If 'always available offline' is combined with borrowing a Creo license, users can completely disconnect from the network while still keeping the company setup.

Windchill

  • Pros
    • Check in / out history with the ability to have comments.
    • Encourage use of Windchill only.
    • Leverage any Windchill replica servers (hopefully faster more consistent performance)
  • Cons
    • If the user has a typo (case sensitive) in the name of the Windchill server in Creo, the files in Windchill will not show up for users.
    • Importing and exporting has to be done through the workgroup manager to make files 'cad objects' otherwise Creo will not see these files.
      • Option 1 - Save directly to workspace.
      • Option 2 - Set Creo config setting allow_import_file_extension to allow importing various file extensions into a workspace (separated by a comma - MAT, MTL, SYM, etc.).
    • File names must be unique in Windchill. Cannot have the same file name in multiple folders.
    • Not everything can go in Windchill. Creo files like config.pro, config.sup, ModelCheck files, etc. cannot be currently stored in Windchill.

Third Option - Copy some or all files from Network drive to user's computer (robocopy when Creo starts, IT setup a once/twice a day background sync with users computers, etc.).

  • Pros
    • Having local files is the fastest. Example: Using ModelCheck from a network drive can be really slow.
    • Allow for completely offline working if users borrow a Creo license.
  • Cons
    • Slower start of Creo if copying a bunch of files.
    • More complicated to setup

View solution in original post

10 REPLIES 10
Chris3
19-Tanzanite
(To:LawrenceS)

Having them in Windchill doesn't change the functionality of coping the materials into the part file or the symbols into the drawing file. Part of the reason for this is configuration management. Once something is released most customers wouldn't want released drawings and parts to be updated because an external file is updated.

 

Do you currently have drawing formats and or templates in Windchill? If so I don't see this as a big deal. If not consider that you will be causing some pain for users that work offline. Maybe this isn't something you want to encourage anyways, but our users work offline from time to time due to poor VPN connections, wanting to do quick what if trade studies, etc.

LawrenceS
17-Peridot
(To:Chris3)

Hmm, it is too bad there isn't an option for it to work this way.  After all it is already considered accepted functionality in WC that if a component (or format) is changed it will be updated in the WS and therefore the next time that asm is opened.  Now for parts and sub-asms we do have some WC configurations as well as manual options that can be changed to get the latest vs as checked-in (or some other configuration).

 

The offline scenario is a good consideration, although if someone is not connected to the VPN they won't see our network drives either.  So I don't think that would be a negative impact.  Yes, we do already have templates and drawing formats in WC so anyone modifying parts/drawings will usually not be able to work in offline mode.  Now that I think about it, other things like modifying mapkeys may not even work correctly without the VPN network drives.


"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"
BenLoosli
22-Sapphire III
(To:LawrenceS)

A format does not update unless the user explicitly replaces it with the new one. I have made revisions to formats along the way and when an existing drawing is loaded, it pulls in the format that it was saved with. My latest format may be 0.10, but the drawing was created with 0.6. Opening the drawing in a clean workspace will pull in 0.6.

My formats are stored in Windchill as well as copies on disk.

rreifsnyder
13-Aquamarine
(To:BenLoosli)

Be careful with the formats, some aspects of the formats will update immediately, it depends more on how you add things to your workspace and whether it comes in "As Stored" or "Latest". If your default is to be added "As Stored" then you are correct that it would bring in that version of the format but if it comes in Latest then the newer one will be used. Everything other than table cells will update. We had to deal with this when one of our customers wanted a change to a note that existing in regular text in the format but our other customers didn't want that to change so we had to make a copy of our standard format without the note and replace all that customer's drawing formats as we touched them to make changes. 

You are correct that any changes within table cells don't update with new formats but only show up when replacing it and having the old cells deleted.

TomU
23-Emerald II
(To:BenLoosli)

@BenLoosli,

I think you are mistaken here.  Creo's 'on the fly' behavior is to pull in the latest version of any dependent object from Windchill.  Unless you manually add the non-latest version of the format to your workspace in advance, you will automatically get the latest version.

 

There are two aspects to formats - drawing tables and everything else.  Drawing tables are copied from the format to the drawing each time the format is applied.  Any changes to the tables on the format will not be reflected in the drawing unless the format is reapplied.  Everything else on the format (sketched lines, symbols, notes, etc.) is sort of 'behind' the rest of the drawing, and any changes made to these items will instantly be visible in all drawings that reference that format.  Changes to these items will automatically appear without ever needing to reapply the format.

BenLoosli
22-Sapphire III
(To:BenLoosli)

Everything in my formats is in tables.

Nothing gets updated unless the user does it and removes the existing tables.

I guess I was a little off in the above. The 0.10 format will be pulled into the workspace, but since everything is in tables, the drawing still looks like it did with the 0.6 format used when created.

Whenever we update a format with any significant change we always do a save as and add the date to the file name.  I never understood why as it always seemed such an inefficient way to do it when we could just revise.  However, both of your explanations are helpful in understanding why it is better to use the apparently 'inefficient' way.  Thank you! 🙂


"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"

These files work the same whether in Windchill or network drives - a copy is stored inside the Creo model.

 

There are pros and cons to each. Drawings formats are the only thing that have to be in Windchill.

 

Network drive:

  • Pros
    • Users don't always have to be in Windchill. Companies may want the ability to toggle between Windchill and non Windchill.
    • Can have the same file name in multiple locations. Example: you can put the material in multiple folders if desired.
  • Cons
    • Users have to make sure the network drive is mapped. You can use the full UNC path to work around this.
    • Network drives can sometimes be slow and performance can vary greatly by location. A workaround could be 'always available offline' on network drives if your company allows this but this has its own downsides (changes take time to sync, may require user to perform this action,). If 'always available offline' is combined with borrowing a Creo license, users can completely disconnect from the network while still keeping the company setup.

Windchill

  • Pros
    • Check in / out history with the ability to have comments.
    • Encourage use of Windchill only.
    • Leverage any Windchill replica servers (hopefully faster more consistent performance)
  • Cons
    • If the user has a typo (case sensitive) in the name of the Windchill server in Creo, the files in Windchill will not show up for users.
    • Importing and exporting has to be done through the workgroup manager to make files 'cad objects' otherwise Creo will not see these files.
      • Option 1 - Save directly to workspace.
      • Option 2 - Set Creo config setting allow_import_file_extension to allow importing various file extensions into a workspace (separated by a comma - MAT, MTL, SYM, etc.).
    • File names must be unique in Windchill. Cannot have the same file name in multiple folders.
    • Not everything can go in Windchill. Creo files like config.pro, config.sup, ModelCheck files, etc. cannot be currently stored in Windchill.

Third Option - Copy some or all files from Network drive to user's computer (robocopy when Creo starts, IT setup a once/twice a day background sync with users computers, etc.).

  • Pros
    • Having local files is the fastest. Example: Using ModelCheck from a network drive can be really slow.
    • Allow for completely offline working if users borrow a Creo license.
  • Cons
    • Slower start of Creo if copying a bunch of files.
    • More complicated to setup

@lhoogeveen, this was a very comprehensive and helpful answer.  You have given us a lot to digest, which is really what I was looking for so thank you very much! 😀


"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"
Chris3
19-Tanzanite
(To:lhoogeveen)

To resolve the first Windchill Con bullet, we have a robocopy with a If not exist to copy the .srv_mgr_db3.fldx

 

 

If Not Exist "%PTC_WF_ROOT%\.ssappd\ServerMgr\.srv_mgr_db3.fldx" robocopy "%SERVER_DIR%\creo7\configs" "%PTC_WF_ROOT%\.ssappd\ServerMgr" /r:0 /NDL /NJH /NJS /nc /ns /if  .srv_mgr_db3.fldx

 

 

If the user hasn't logged into Windchill then it copies down a .srv_mgr_db3.fldx which has a default workspace that everyone has access to and is set to "no server". Doing this makes sure that everyone is using the same Windchill server alias.

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