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solidworks integration in PDMLink 11


solidworks integration in PDMLink 11

Hello gurus !!!

PTC provide a Workgroup CAD manager for Solidworks but I have never used it, implemented it, nor have been given any datasheets.

I am expecting some limitations vs Creo Integration, however, while my company could be migrating to Windchill, it is unlikely we move from SW to Creo (not that I would mind )

Instead of getting the list of all the functionalities that works, I was wondering if I could find out what sucks with the SolidWorks Workgroup CAD Manager.

eg, I love in Creo the fact you access the workspace (and even more) via the embedded webbrowser. How does that work with SW ? Is there a workspace at all for instance ?

Are all the SW features recognized in PDMLink.  (imagine if you could create family table in Creo but once in PDMLink you would only see the generic !!!)

Thanks for any tips and for the gurus who are using this Workgroup CAD manager.

Best regards

22-Sapphire I

We have SW (2015 now; 2016 within the next month) in use with WC 10.2 M030.  Appr 150 SW users, doing quite a lot.  Essentially no issues.

I've personally worked w/this same combination hundreds of hours preparing to bring in data from acquired companies.

One huge caveat: SW System Option for assemblies allows parts created within assemblies to be stored in the assy file, not as separate part files.  This causes major havoc with Windchill, especially with renames, configurations (family tables) and other.  Have to set this option to checked and save the assy this way.

Also, Creo Parametric forces family tables to be verified but there is no such concept in SW.  Geometry that is not possible can be checked in.

Creo Parametric is "smart" for download. You can add just a drawing to a WS, then open it - all needed models will be downloaded.  WIth SW and WGM, if it's not in the SW, it just doesn't open it. There is a timer and it goes ahead w/o really letting you know that it's opened w/some models missing.

For publishing, the Creo View adapter considers "Suppressed" as "missing."  You cannot check "fail publish for missing components" if you allow suppressed to be ok.

Lots more experience that I have on these things but in general it works very well.

Thanks Mike

very useful as usual

Why go to PDMLink instead of PDM Professional? My company is in the middle of implementing PDMLink (not our choice) and we are having nothing but trouble.

Hi Jeff,

we are already on PDM Professional and the reseller himself told me it was a file manager and not a PDM.

It is lacking many functionalities that you find OOTB in PDMLink.

What type of trouble are you having ?

Instability. Lockups. Everything comes in with full access, not read only, so it's easy to get screwed up. No previews being created. Noticeable performance issues.A lot of things.

Sounds like the PTC reseller told you that. That's what they told our management and how we ended up with it. OOTB is pretty much useless. No automation OOTB. Workflows are just enough to say that they have them. Many basic things that you expect from PDM just isn't there or you have to pay extra to have customized. Windchill is primarily an upper level lifecycle management tool for Creo with a little PDM thrown in. If you need PDM get PDM, If you have Creo and want to go to advanced PLM them maybe consider Windchill. But it is a very large, complex set of tools that can cost a chunk of money and resources.

Depends upon what you want to do. PDM Pro is a strong EPDM tool that will do pretty much anything that you can imagine including connect to other systems. But you have to have workflow procedures defined for your company, it doesn't come with any. But they are easy to create and manage. OOTB boasts of a lot, but delivers very little on that front. You cannot do automated workflows OOTB. There is a good article on the Tristar website about Workflow automation vs OOTB that hits it very well.

I'm sure I just offended a bunch of people... This isn't to say that Windchill isn't a powerful PLM tool, only that you need to get what you really need and not what someone is trying to sell you. All resellers tend to poo-poo on the competition and build up their own solution into a miracle fix-all.

But Windchill is a big, complex  and it is expensive, and it does typically take extra people to run and maintain. There is also a pretty big learning curve.  A few things can be configured, but if you want automation it can take customization which means writing code, and that's not cheap. So it's not something to be entered into lightly.

Thanks Jeff for this insight.

I have evaluated Windchill against a few other solutions (not working for a reseller but as part of the companies wanting to invest in PLM) and also led a few implementation. I personally do not share your view but every implementation is different.

Regarding PDM Pro, it is to me just file manager. For instance, you do not have change objects or discussion object.

If you want a change management process, you need to create the workflow but then all the information (change requests, discussion about it, impact analysis,  implementation plan etc...) are stored in files like any other office files. Managing the relationship between those files and the affected files is not great compare to how Windchill deals with change management. Just my experience.

In addition PDM Pro does not support document type. you can work around with the data card but then as far as I was told you cannot control authorization based on some data card parameters.  Do you not have item management in PDM Pro.

Anyway, this is going off topic now as my original post was to learn from other experience about the Solidworks used in Windchill.

It seems there are two opposite experience here

Have a great week end

Agreed. PDM Pro does not have change objects and end items (WTParts/Products). So you could say it is a file manager in that respect. I've never tried to control authorizations based upon data card values. Usually location and the workflows, etc would suffice. Sounds like you're looking for full blown PLM and not PDM. In our case it is the other way around.

I still have reservations on using it to manage Solidworks as separate workgroup managers tend to be limited and unstable, and I have found issues with it already myself. However if you have Creo that story would be different.

All that said, if you intend to use PDMLink to manage your PLM I would definitely utilize the workgroup manager despite its shortcomings, as a number of functions like viewables, opening directly from Windchill, checkout and checkin from the application and automated printing  will not exist without it. I would also not plan on utilizing OOTB as it is very limited.

Thanks and have a good one!

Hi Jeff,

sorry I have been quite busy recently.

This is the point of my discussion ie trying to find out what the limitations are of having Windchill and Solidworks  vs Windchill and Creo.

According to mlockwood-2 it seems to work quite well.

However, I have learnt that you cannot check out on the fly as you can with Creo.

As many things, it is trying to understand my company needs vs the real limitation and if the limitations are less of an issue vs the benefits of Windchill (PDMLink + ProjectLink) vs PDM Professional.

Thanks all

This said. this post is also an opportunity to collect information for whoever in the future has the same situation.

What do you mean that you can't check out on the fly?

Just wondering about what to expect...

23-Emerald IV

It won't ask you to check when you make a change but it will as soon as you try to save.


Thanks Tom.

This is not too bad then. I was under the impression that the user needed to go back to the WS to check out the object.

I guess, if PDMLink is configured to Upload on Save, this works the same .


‌We have yet to get started with v11.0 as we wait for M030, but here's a summary of what we know from ~4 years of using Solidworks with v10.0 (M040, M050) and v10.2 (M020, M030).

The introduction of "universal upload" in v10.2 and setting the Preference for Upload on Native Save makes it work much better than it did in v10.0, and much more like Creo Parametric.   It is also a good idea to set the Preference to Lock on Add to WS, as that helps users avoid 'accidentally' modifying files (but if you set this at Org or Site level, then you have to unset the Preference for the file-sync 'd cadworker).  Relying on the availability of checkout on the fly may be OK in Creo Parametric where it happens immediately upon any modification, but may lead to problems for the users when working with Solidworks as it will only pop-up when the modified file is first Saved, eg. if another user has checked-out the file in the meantime.

The most notable missing features in WGM compared with embedded browser in Creo Parametric include : frames, offline Workspaces and portable Workspaces, although the WGM will work offline with the last used Workspace if you click to continue three times, I believe.  If you do this it is essential to do a Synchronise upon reconnecting to the server before doing anything else, and to make sure you have all the files you need, including copies of templates in the Workspace before you go offline.  An offline Workspace will just look like a folder - but do not be fooled into moving or renaming anything in that folder in Windows or you will probably loose your work.

Overall the WGM with Solidworks is pretty respectable, and MUCH better than the one for Creo Schematics !  Shame on PTC for not providing any Windchill Attribute mapping in Creo-Schematics.

You will probably need to edit (customise) the "download delegate" to fill in the anoying gaps in the OOTB list of PTC_WM_  Attributes, in order to get the same information shown on your Solidworks drawings as you have in Creo Parametric, and then work though a few issues to get the cadworker running nicely to make PDFs and to get Thumbnails of the PDFs.

Mapped Attributes (or at least implicity mapped Attributes with names in CAPITALS) can be used with SolidWorks configurations - for example if the Material or Description are different for the particular configuration (FT instance) then add the same File-Property name(s) (in CAPITALS) to the configuration specific property tab and edit the value accordingly.  Its basically the same mechanism as you would use in a Creo Parametric Family Table.

Extra things provided for Solidworks that you don't get in Creo Parametric include the ability to selectively filter the Solidworks configurations by name(s) to exclude the ones that you don't want to be recognised and handled as Family Table instances in Windchill, and a choice of whether to ignore or recognise Solidworks 'virtual parts' (ie. parts stored inside an assembly file, such as 3D routed cables...) as separate CAD Parts.  Solidworks configurations often get used for things like showing partial assemblies on drawings when view dispaly states would be a better choice, so establishing a naming convention for the filter is a very good idea.



Hi Nick

thanks a lot for this detailed explanation. Much appreciated.

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