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How do you manage SolidWorks upgrade with Windchill?

HJ1
13-Aquamarine
13-Aquamarine

How do you manage SolidWorks upgrade with Windchill?

Hi,

 

Being somewhat confused after testing new SolidWorks version and Windchill,

How do you deal with upgrading a 3rd party CAD like SolidWorks used with Windchill 11.1 M020. Is the only option to open the 3D-models via WGM in SW and let that manage upgrading to new version when saving, but then end up with a must to iterate the EPMDocument because of the modification of the content file?

What a nightmare of pointless revisions   😲

13 REPLIES 13
lhoogeveen
17-Peridot
(To:HJ1)

We've used workspace locking to help alleviate this problem for our Solidworks Windchill users. Locking also helps make objects read only in Solidworks to make people check out objects before starting their modifications rather then when they click save.

 

You can lock objects the workspace in several ways:

  • Manually from the Workspace using File>lock/unlock but this gets pretty tedious.
  • Use the Windchill preference to 'Automatically lock all objects added to workspace'. If in Solidworks, this requires users to unlock before checking out. Better but still tedious.
  • Use the newer Windchill preference 'Smart Lock Objects in Workspace'. This is probably the best option for Solidworks users. PTC keeps making enhancements to this. We're using READ_ONLY for Solidworks but the new ALL option in Windchill 12.1.0.0 could be interesting too. 

You can set these preferences at the Org, Site, Context, or user level. We have our Solidworks users set it.

Windchill Workspace Locking.jpg

 

Released data from an earlier CAD tool release generally should not be updated to the current release without considerable process and validation that nothing has changed.  It's good that Windchill forces Revise for this.

HJ1
13-Aquamarine
13-Aquamarine
(To:MikeLockwood)

Once again, highly appreciate the replies from you guys, thanks.

 

I don't think any from our users have actually utilised these options to lock objects, so something to take a look at more closely..!

 

However, given PTCs answers in another related occasion suggesting upgrade of SW and error messages (even SW error about a corrupted file, but that was because of an old workspace... go figure), what should one think about the WWGM compatibility matrix. If you never upgrade your 3D models at some point quite soon they will be of a SW version in the category of "Supported: CAD version is expected to be used successfully..." by WWGM. Or, even dropped off from the matrix: I'm positive in our vault there's valid design SW 2015 files which is not in the 11.1 M020 WWGM matrix..

HJ1_0-1643050660093.png

 

TomU
23-Emerald III
(To:HJ1)

Just like Creo, older Solidworks files open fine in newer versions of the software.  We don't make any attempt to go back and mass-update older Solidworks files to newer versions of the software.  When we do need to work on something it will get opened in the latest version we currently have installed.  Solidworks is free to update the files that are checked out and not locked to the latest version, but all other files are left alone, in whatever version they were originally created in.

HJ1
13-Aquamarine
13-Aquamarine
(To:TomU)

Ok, I get this, but does one need to worry about WWGM and SolidWorks versions becoming incompatible? For example, you'd possibly never need to revise a 3D-model for some simple part in a mass production product, it's the same for years, but at some point the SW-version of the file is not in the support matrix of the WWGM version. If you just keep locking the file is never upgraded. Does that count?

I don't understand the details what all happens with WWGM and SW, but from what I see I am a bit concerned.

 

TomU
23-Emerald III
(To:HJ1)

The compatibility matrix has nothing to do with what version the file is, it has to do with what version of Solidworks is installed and talking to the Workgroup Manager.  As long as you have a compatible version of Solidworks installed, opening older files, even if they were created by some earlier version of Solidworks, will still open fine in the newer (compatible) version.

avillanueva
20-Turquoise
(To:HJ1)

So long as Solidworks supports the old files which most all CAD systems do, WWGM should not care. The support matrix is more about aligning the WWGM and the CAD tool, not the files and whatever version they were saved in.  Are you seeing errors in testing that are attributed to older files or is Solidworks complaining about them?

HJ1
13-Aquamarine
13-Aquamarine
(To:avillanueva)

I am/was under the impression it's how Tom describes, compatibilities are relevant to the client software only. Still... 

 

Some time ago SW2021 complained about a family table instance, file version SW2018, to be corrupted and was not able to open it. Previous iteration opened ok. It turned out that an old workspace from before rehost was used, however the model was added there when testing after rehost. When a new workspace was created and used this error did not appear.

There have been a couple of other occasions of "Older version file" error in SolidWorks, but we haven't got to final conclusion yet.

 

Also, and not necessarily related, we started getting "Failed to open in SolidWorks 2018" errors (and the mentioned "Older version file" in SW occasionally) in WWGM after upgrading Windchill from 11.0 to 11.1. It was suggested that we should upgrade SW2018 (reading between the lines the message was "otherwise don't bother to ask more..") to a more recent version, but it's still the same with SW2021. The models do open despite the message, but read-only behavior is changed from 11.0.

 

So, go figure. All these together very disturbing.

 

RME_DH
11-Garnet
(To:HJ1)

The previous replies are correct regarding file version and application version.  Whilst SolidWorks does support old versions, you will get some files that are not compatible with the modern version and have issues with the changes in the software.  We just went from SW2017 to SW 2021 and WC11.1 m020 to WC12.0.2.     We have a very large CAD repository (old PDM vault is 12TB and WC is currently 2.5TB after 2 years), so updating everything to the newest file version is impossible.  We target our most used files (toolbox items, purchased parts etc) that get used all the time (and are usually never revised), our master parts and assemblies and any active projects to get the most out of the upgrade.  We just do this with a bulk admin checkout, export them and run them through a batch updating tool that reports errors etc, then check them back in with a iteration and comment. 

 

There is a performance hit on opening read only files that have not been converted to the newest version, so we try to strike a balance.  If a large assembly is having performance issues, we would then flag this assembly for all of its parts to be upgraded and checked for errors as a first resort.

magnus.salomons
14-Alexandrite
(To:RME_DH)

Anyone know how it works in Solidworks PDM? It seems difficult to solve in any PDM/PLM system where you should not have rights to change a released part/drawing.

Do they have an upgrade tool that mass updates every CAD file to a newer version?

Yes there is a SW PDM tool, that checks out, updates and checks in each file/folder of your choosing.  It was never a good tool and we never had much luck with it in our vault.   We tend to just target the files we reuse and then update others when they change, or when saved-as a new part number.

 

Standard/master parts and assemblies help in this process - but its a discipline that is not always followed by the users.

Here's a 4 minute video about the SOLIDWORKS PDM - File Version Upgrade. It looks like there are several options to overwrite or revise the existing PDM objects.

TomU
23-Emerald III
(To:lhoogeveen)

Wow, I can't believe they let you completely overwrite (replace) the existing content in the PDM system.  Seems like a really bad idea.

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