The new SolidWorks Enterprise PDM web portal has a number of advantages over the previous web portal. The fact that it is programmed from scratch with updated language to support any web browswer is by far the most notable. This has a direct impact on the reliability and accessibility. You can use the web portal to participate in approval workflows and can even upload new content which can be especially handy with contract engineering relationships.
This quick video highlights some of the key capabilities that customers are enjoying as the technology is getting rolled out.
With the latest release of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2014, a new web portal has been included that give access to the EPDM vault with any web browser. This includes all mobile phones and tablets! Check out this video I made to highlight some of the key capabilities of the new web portal accessed through my iPhone. The direct integration with the eDrawing IOS app is amazing and when browsing SolidWorks Electrical PDF’s the embedded hyperlinks are amazing.
There is no additional licensing but it would be recommended to have a member of our EPDM implementation team setup the web portal for you as there are some subtle details which shouldn’t be missed.
Over the last 7 years I have been working with EPDM I have had many clients justify the investment based purely on performance increase. Many clients without a PDM system in place need to work off a shared network drive in order to centralized data for security and backups. It can be tempting at times to save designs locally for weeks at a time to get that local open and save performance off your hard drive. This technique is quickly regrettable however as files get overwritten, duplicated or lost very quickly.
SolidWorks Enterprise PDM is the absolute best solution for this common desire as it gives all the benefits of a coordinated design team but with local open and save performance. It has been tough over the years convincing customers of this real measurable savings so I have created an incredibly boring video to demonstrate exactly what I have been talking about for years. This video features opening a 1000+ part assembly that is ~500mb in size from three possible locations:
1) Network drive – Open Time = 9:19
2) Local drive – Open Time = 1:06 (88% reduction)
3) EPDM Vault – Open Time = 1:19 (86% reduction)
The measurable time benefits of opening files locally or in the EPDM vault are outstanding. In comparison to working off of the network, this video demonstrates that a local drive may result in 88% reduction in open/save time while the EPDM vault may result in a 86% reduction in open/save time. The most important factor I wanted to get across in this video is that opening from the EPDM vault is virtually the same performance as opening from your local hard drive. If precious time is wasted with opening and saving files from a network, I recommend using pack and go to transfer the assembly locally and measure the performance increase.
When translating to measurable savings, I would survey the engineering team to understand how much time they are spending waiting for their computers to open or save their assemblies on a weekly basis and use that number in this calculation:
It is also important to note that the impact of poor performance also results in increased frustration from the design team that my have other indirect costs such as a higher employee turn over or reduced moral. This calculation can easily justify the investment in the EPDM solution and will open the door for a number of other benefits that will also have a positive financial impact on the company.
DS SolidWorks has included electrical routing in their SolidWorks Premium package for a number of years now, but with the release of the new SolidWorks Electrical 3D software provides a number of features which really enhance the routing experience. The most substantial feature is the ability to define pathways for wires, cables and harnesses to run. This leaves out a lot of the ambiguous decisions that SolidWorks Routing Auto-route did in the past and can create a route path which is in line with your requirements.
To illustrate this key functionality I have created this quick video to highlight both the wire routing and cable routing functionality. I will leave the harness routing for a future post. Please let me know if you have any questions related to this functionality.
Selecting new software to use for electrical wiring design can be a difficult decision. There are many considerations and the result can have ramifications for many years. To start off with let me clarify that there are two main categories for ECAD design software: Electronics based software for printed circuit board design and design software focused on wiring. This article is focused on selecting electrical wiring design software for interconnect electronics with cables and harnesses, or interconnecting electrically controlled components that are scattered around a design or in an electrical enclosure.
If you’re reading this post, you’ve likely wondered at some point about how you can help rationalize what may be perceived by some as “intangible” – the return on your investment for implementing a data management solution. Many of our customers have justified the purchase of EPDM because they simply wanted to get better with the right systems in place, but with today’s tight margins and cash flows, CFO’s are more frequently relying on their team to prove that there is a valid return on investment that is competitive with other investment options. Calculating a return on investment for SolidWorks Enterprise PDM does not need to be complex. It can be as simple as estimating some potential time savings in comparison to current methods and multiplying it by the number of potential users and average cost per employee.
So you’ve implemented SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, you’re seeing some benefits, but what’s next?
With the growing list of customers that have invested in SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of common services and added functionality that customers have been requesting from us. The purpose is to let our EPDM customer base know that you are not on your own and there are lots you can do with the system to get a bigger impact on your business. This list is by no means all inclusive and if there is anything you would like help with related to EPDM, please do not hesitate to ask us.
1) Upgrading vault to 2012
Our most common services for our clients are assisting with upgrades to the latest release. Enterprise PDM 2012 offers a number of enhancements including the new integrated search functionality, but most importantly offers support for SolidWorks 2012. With so many people relying on the vault, it becomes risky business taking it offline for an upgrade but our professional implementation team know exactly how to do this without missing a beat.
Javelin Technologies is aiming high with the creativity of coop students. Our electrical engineering coop Rami Eisawy, from Waterloo University, has just completed some fantastic work to help our client base by working on E3 library content; plus as a special project Rami figured out how to use Microsoft Kinect as an interface for E3.WireWorks. It only took him a few hours to map some of the Kinect interactive controls to E3.WireWorks interface tools. E3.WireWorks software has some similarities to AutoCAD Electrical, but is designed from the ground up for electrical design and has countless advantages.
Microsoft Kinect Sensor
It is of course a proof of concept at this point, but I am looking forward to the day that electrical design can be carried out in a virtual environment and gestures can be used to easily piece together a new design and document how it should be wired up. Have a look at the video below to see some of the interaction take place. Please share your comments or suggestions to help future Javelin coop students to take the concept further.
E3.WireWorks has been having a very positive impact on our clients, but just because the design team wants the tools, does not mean they can convince the ones that hold the purse strings to invest in it. To justify the E3.WireWorks investment it is important to identify 1-3 areas where there will be a measurable return. With the work that I have been doing with our clients over the last few years with E3, I have identified 5 top areas where a good return is possible.
1) Product development time shortened
A typical product development cycle for electrical engineering has a great deal of time spent on schematics and an equal or greater amount of time spent detailing panel layouts, cable or harness plans, and generating reports like bill of materials. E3.Series and E3.WireWorks have the capability of greatly reducing this product development cycle by streamlining original schematic creation, partially automating panel and cable layouts and completely automating reports. The graphic below shows how the typical design process may change.
Even more important than the time savings of the original design is the time savings of design changes. With all electrical design fully associative, design changes will automatically propogate which avoids the extra time spent updating information in all appropriate places.
2) Manufacturing is easier
With drawing packages being done in E3.WireWorks, manufacturing will be more streamlined than ever. The extra detail makes it a breeze to interpret and there are a variety of ways to consume the documentation electronically such as the intelligent PDF’s with hyperlinks between references. You can even take it as far as building step by step instructions for panel building with the combination of wire reports and the E3 Viewer. This video shows some of the ways to build from E3.WireWorks:
3) Common costly errors are avoided
Errors creeping into designs can be more than a nuisance – it can lead to many wasted hours of corrections, unnecessary communication and ordering of materials. If the errors make it through the manufacturing stages and into the field, there are even more costs related to making fixes out in the field. E3.WireWorks plays a significant role in reducing the amount of errors that make it into the drawing package. By keeping devices and wires organized and unique, it makes it easy to copy, update and reuse drawings without forgetting to do rename and make repetitive changes to multiple drawings and reports. There are even online design rule checks that catch miswiring signals together, catching loops or in some cases performing online circuit calculations.
4) Get the information you need, when you need it
There is a lot of benefit to a company to get the information you need when you need it. If high lead time items need to be ordered from an early bill of materials or milestones of work need to be shared with clients, it can be very advantageous to have a tool in place that avoids unnecessary work to hit your intermediate goals. Even more significant is being able to leverage the work that has been done to speed up the remaining design steps. WireWorks has allowed our customers to achieve this by keeping the entire electrical design associative on an electrical engineering database. You can literally start anywhere in your design process and fill in the blanks elsewhere later on.
Here is a quick list of steps that can easily be the first on your list:
Bill of Materials
Single line schematic
Hydraulic or process schematics
Location and hierarchy planning
5) Sales boosted by increased competitiveness and quality
Up until this point I have been focusing on reducing cash flow out of the business. This is great, but many companies have been seeing a large benefit to the cash flow coming into the business as well. With higher quality deliverables and incredibly quick turnaround times, customer relationships and margins have improved. Both of these have lead to more dollars and cents in your pocket by increasing loyalty and winning more contracts.
Many clients are looking for further integration between SolidWorks piping and process design and the schematics that dictate them. In SolidWorks 2010, P&ID import was introduced but there was no clear contendor at creating the appropriate XML file. This has changed over the last couple years because E3 has done the appropriate development to create the XML and integrate the two together. At SolidWorks World in San Diego this year I have decided to put together a detailed presentation on how to do this integration. Here is the presentation details:
P&ID – A New Design Flow for Piping – Eric van Essen, Javelin Technologies
E3.WireWorks intelligent schematics can be set up to quickly map out P&ID diagrams, which can be used as the driving force for P&ID imports in the SolidWorks routing module. This presentation will talk about the details required to set up the solution and make it work to drive your pipe routing.
P&ID Event is on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 10:30 AM, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California, USA
If you are able to make your way down to the conference, it would be great if you could come by and attend my session. Visit the following link for the SolidWorks World agenda, list of exhibitors, justification letter, and more: http://www.solidworks.com/sww
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