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Connecting SOLIDWORKS Manage to a SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Vault

Article by Joe Medeiros, CSWE created/updated October 17, 2019

SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional can be easily connected to SOLIDWORKS Manage. The close relationship between SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and SOLIDWORKS Manage, is evident in the fact that SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional, is included with SOLIDWORKS Manage. In this article we will look at how to connect SOLIDWORKS Manage to a SOLIDWORKS PDM Vault.

First, there are prerequisites that need to be in place, before we create that connection.

  • SOLIDWORKS Manage Server is installed (same SQL Instance as PDM).
  • SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Server is installed (same SQL Instance as Manage).
  • SOLIDWORKS Manage is installed on the computer that will be used to create the connection.
  • SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional is installed on the computer that will be used to create the connection.
  • SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Local Vault View has been created.
  • The Manage add-in for be PDM has been added.
Manage Add-in for PDM Vault

Manage Add-in for PDM Vault

Once all the prerequisites  have been confirmed, launch SOLIDWORKS Manage and access Administration Options.

Administration Options

In System Administration, select the Structures Area and then the Documents & Records Section. Next select New PDM Object.

New PDM Object

This will launch the SOLIDWORKS PDM Configuration Wizard, which will guide you through the process of creating this Object.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Configuration Wizard

Pressing next will take you to the Connection Window. Here you provide a Name, a Numbering Scheme and a Revision Scheme (enter A for alpha 0 for numeric) for the Object,. In order to create the Connection, the SOLIDWORKS PDM SQL Server and Database must be identified.  Additional options include how User names will be configured and the amount of detail that is provided during Synchronization. As with Objects the PDM object can be Enabled or disabled

Connection

Synchronization between the PDM and Manage Databases

The next screen is where the Synchronization between the PDM and Manage Databases is initiated. Pressing Synchronize will start the process. Synchronizing of the databases ensures consistency of data between the two databases.

The option Rebuild Database Indexes, can be used to address Index fragmentation. If rebuilds are already scheduled in SQL Management Studio, this may not be required.  But, a Rebuild of the PDM database indexes, should be considered before creating the PDM Object, if the Indexes have never been rebuilt, or a rebuild has not been performed for a long time. New Databases, as is the case when installing PDM Professional for the first time, should not require a rebuild.

Synchronization Details

SOLIDWORKS PDM Configuration Fields

After closing the Synchronization Details panel, you will be presented with the SOLIDWORKS PDM Configuration Fields Window.  This Window provides a list of Properties that match PDM Card Variables and provides the following options:

  • Update PDM Variable, allows the Manage to update the Variable value in the PDM vault.
  • Visible on Lists, determines whether the Property Field will visible in a predefined list of values.
  • Unique, will specify whether a Field is Unique
  • Required, will specify whether a field needs to have a value
  • Type describes the Field. When connecting Manage to PDM Variables, the Type is read from PDM. The System Type are Fields contained within PDM. These Fields are ones that were defined at the beginning of creating the PDM Object. Being a System Field does not preclude pulling the variable from PDM . As can be seen, System and PDM Fields are given different icons for clarity. PDM Fields have the cylinder icon which is used for PDM vaults.
  • Groups will display differing information, depending on whether the Field is a System Filed or not.
  • Visibility displays the permissions for each Field.

Fields

Fields are used in all Manage Objects and contain information related to Records, as well as Manage reporting. Fields act similarly to Properties in SOLIDWORKS or Variables in PDM. Double clicking a Field allows you change the Field parameters such as Field Type (i.e. Display Name, Updates PDM Variables), Properties (i.e. Is Required), Options (i.e. Numbering Scheme) and Access Permissions

Field Properties

Along the top of the Fields panel, are options to create a new a Tab (contains groups of field and folders), create a new Folder within a selected Tab and create an new Field. Clicking on Field Groups, opens a Window where Field Groups can be administered. Field Groups allow the grouping of Fields, to simplify tasks such changing the visibility.

Fields Top Menu

Back in the Fields menu, there are several additional Field Options.

Field Options

 

This includes how Records are ordered and presented to the user. The Option Default Search

Order by Record

 

The Option Default Search Columns sets the default columns used in a Simple Search. Specifying columns will improve the performance of Simple Searches, by limiting the search to the specified fields.

Default Search Columns

SOLIDWORKS Options

Main Options controls many aspects on how SOLIDWORKS interacts with Manage. There are controls for Releasing documents, generating related files (i.e. PDF’s), naming SOLIDWORKS files, linking of Component and Drawing properties and the Numbering schemes that will be used by SOLIDWORKS Parts, Assemblies and Drawings. In General Table Options, a General Revision Table can be enabled and configured.

Main Options

 

SOLIDWORKS Custom Properties

The mapping of Fields to SOLIDWORKS Custom Properties is done by selecting Custom Props (SOLIDWORKS). The Fields can either be displayed Alphabetically or as they appear in the Property Card

Configuring SOLIDWORKS Custom Properties

Limiting lists are Lists that are driven by another Field or List. Conditions can be used can be used to control the visibility and requirements of Field, for different scenarios. Limiting lists will be covered in another article.

The Conditions option, for Fields, can be used to control requirements for field visibility as as a variety of other scenarios. Fields will covered more extensively, in a future article.

Bill of Materials

After the Fields menu, you can Enable/Disable BOMs. If required new BOMs can be created and existing BOMs can be edited. The Show BOM Configuration on Front Page option, is used to identify which BOM sill be displayed for a Field Group.

Bill of Materials

In Part Number, Description and Revision Mapping, the way these Fields are mapped is defined. Clicking on the pull-down for Part Number, Description and Revision will list the available Properties. There is also the ability to choose an Alternate option for Part Number and Description, if primary choice is not available.

Part Number, Description and Revision Mapping

Configuration Options

Configuration Options is where you define how Configurations are handled in Manage. Configurations of a file can be part of a single Record, or a Record can be created for each Configuration. If a Record is created for each configuration, the creation of Record can be controlled by a condition. In the below example Configurations containing Flat or DisplayConfig,  in their name, will not generate a Record.

The PDM Project Window is where PDM files are Promoted to the SOLIDWORKS Manage environment. Under File Promotion Settings, you can specify at what State of a selected Workflow, that a file will be Promoted. The Workflows for the PDM vault are available from the Workflow pull-down. Once a Workflow has been selected, each State can be identified, to create Record, for all files in that State. To further define which files will be promoted, there is the option to filter SOLIDWORKS files by extension(s).

File Promotion Settings

 

Selecting Same as Parent, applies to files in sub-folders. If unchecked, Promotion settings for files in a sub-folder, can be individuality changed. If Any State is checked, this will Promote every file of all Workflow States. Here too is the Option to Promote only certain file types.

Promoting Files in Any State

SOLIDWORKS Manage Process

When SOLIDWORKS Manage Record is created by the Promotion of a PDM file, the file can also be sent directly to a SOLIDWORKS Manage Process. This is done by choosing the Process under, the Default Process tab.. As with the File Promotions Settings tab, the sending of files to a Process, is done for each workflow. Also, as with the File Promotions Settings tab, there is an option use the same Process for files in a sub-folders

Default Process

By pressing the top-left Icon of the PDM Projects menu, the Properties of a sub-folder can be modified. This includes the Field Group Name, the Numbering scheme, Access Rights and the Life Cycle. By default a sub-folder will inherit the parent folders Properties.

Sub-folder Properties

Users and Groups

After the Promotion of Files has been defined, PDM Users and Groups can be Imported into Manage. Import Users will only Import PDM Users, Import SOLIDWORKS PDM Groups will Import PDM Groups. Auto Map will automatically Map PDM Users and Groups. As noted, all SOLIDWORKS PDM users need to be imported because of inherited permissions.

PDM – SOLIDWORKS Manage Users and Groups

The next menus is where Access permissions for Users and Groups, to interact with the PDM Object is defined. Along with setting Access and Visibility, Additional Rights can be given to the a User or Group. Partial Administrators can also be identified for this Object. Partial Administrators will be covered in another article.

Access Rights

Related Files

Related Files are files which are not controlled by SOLIDWORKS Manage, but are related to files in Manage. Referenced Files are internal links to other Records in SOLIDWORKS Manage.

In Related Files/References is where we specify how are these files are handled in Manage. For Related Files, we can specify the File Naming Convention, Enable a Full Text Search and under the Other tab, define what File Types can be added, to the Object Root Folder and whether Part Number or Part Number + Description will be Used as the Filename.

Related Files/ReferencesAdding or Editing a Related File Folder, allows us to define what File Types are not allowed into this folder and the Access Rights to this Folder. We can also define Report generation for this Folder.

Folder Properties

Clicking on References is where we define the Module and Module Object where the References will be found.

References Come From

Tab Properties

After defining Related Files/References we can next define Tab Properties. This will determine which Tabs Users and Groups will have access to.

Tab Properties

The remainder of the PDM Object options will be covered in other articles. These include Reports, Special Notifications and E-mails, Lifecycle, and Linked Record Objects.

Additional PDM Object Options

Now that all options have to be configured, we can complete creating the PDM Object.

Complete Creation of PDM Object

Complete Creation of PDM Object

Process Complete

Once completed another Synchronization is required and once that is done, the PDM Object will now show in Documents & records. At any time we can edit this object, to make any required changes.

PDM Object in Documents & Records

This was an overview of creating a PDM Object. There is more that can both be configured in the PDM Object and related to other areas of SOLIDWORKS Manage. To ensure that SOLIDWORKS Manage is configured correctly, a thorough understanding of SOLIDWORKS Manage is highly recommended. Contact us to perform your implementation, correctly and efficiently.

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Joe Medeiros, CSWE

Joe Medeiros is a SOLIDWORKS and PDM Certified Expert. He has been helping SOLIDWORKS users with training, mentoring and implementations since 1998. He combines industry experience with a thorough understanding of SOLIDWORKS products to assist customers in being successful. He shares his experience and expertise through blogs; one of which has been incorporated into the SOLIDWORKS Essentials training manual.

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