October 01, 2007
PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 Released
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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SolidWorks Corp. unveiled PDMWorks Enterprise 2008, a new version of its product data management system with new features for managing bills of material, replication of data across sites, foreign language support, data connectivity, platform support, and overall performance.

"These important new features improve collaboration and workflow throughout the manufacturing enterprise, making everyone significantly more productive," said Jeff Barker, PDMWorks Enterprise project leader, Paper Converting Machine Co., Green Bay, Wisc. "For us, the bottom line is designing better products and getting them to market faster, and PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 is obviously engineered with the same priorities in mind."

Fully integrated with SolidWorks 3D CAD software and reflecting numerous customer requests, the PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 product data management system helps large, geographically dispersed engineering organizations securely manage engineering information, leverage existing designs, connect global teams, streamline workflow, audit documents, and search intensively, all with SolidWorks' trademark ease of use.

PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 enhancements include:

• Better control and management of bills of material. PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 has a wide range of new capabilities supporting the creation, editing, viewing, and management of bills of material (BOMs). These tools dramatically improve communication and collaboration within design engineering and beyond, including the manufacturing, quality assurance, and purchasing departments. Organizations working on an assembly can now customize BOMs for each department, route them for approvals, and enable multiple reviewers to edit them without installing SolidWorks software. BOMs can now include units of measure for non-modeled items (e.g., glue) and can also display part thumbnails when a
user hovers his or her mouse over an item listed in the BOM.

• Improved replication across multiple sites. PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 features faster, more powerful replication of design files across distributed organizations. It optionally replicates only the latest version of design files for faster, less processing-intensive downloads. New capabilities enable design engineers to easily find the current version of any part or project, eliminating confusion and errors.

• Foreign language support. PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 nearly doubles support for native languages. The product now enables documents in multiple languages to reside on a single server, making it easy for international companies to connect their design engineers globally. Supported languages include English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish, Japanese, Swedish, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Korean, Russian, Czech, and Brazilian Portuguese.

• New data connectivity to external systems. PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 provides out-of-the-box tools to simplify sharing of data with external systems, such as manufacturing resource planning (MRP) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, via industry-standard XML files. This data-sharing capability reduces time, errors, and expense of duplicative manual entry to help automate high-value workflows. For example, a design engineer can send an XML-formatted BOM material to an ERP system, initiating ordering, purchasing, approval, and manufacturing planning automatically upon drawing release. Likewise, PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 can import data through the same process, enabling
engineers to manage costs at the design level by automatically calculating material costs as they work.

• Performance improvement. PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 has improved performance in deleting, accessing, moving, and rewriting files, as well as clearing caches. Search is faster due to new Microsoft Indexing Service support and richer now that searches from the SolidWorks software interface retrieve materials from the PDMWorks Enterprise vault.

"PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 is the ideal way for large, distributed engineering organizations to manage their product data for powerful, productive collaboration," said Jeff Ray, SolidWorks CEO. "The result is smoother coordination and better products arriving more quickly to market with new efficiencies at every step."

PDMWorks Enterprise customers include: FL Smidth, Munters, Mikuni, Spartan Motors, Tigercat, Automatic Systems, Ulma, Vestas, and Paper Converting Machine Company.

PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 is available now for purchase in 14 languages worldwide through SolidWorks authorized resellers. PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 now runs on the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system in either 32- or 64-bit versions and continues to support Microsoft Windows XP.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

PDM is an enigma – everybody needs it, but not nearly enough design/engineering departments employ it. It also still suffers from an identity crisis – no, PDM is not PLM --- but more about that later.

In its most fundamental form, PDM focuses on information essential to the core operations of a product-based company. PDM is all about managing and tracking the creation, change and archive of all information related to a product in a central database, of which MCAD files are a major component. The central database also manages metadata (data about data), controls check-in and check-out of product data, and handles engineering change management and release control on all versions/issues of components in a product. PDM is also used to build and manipulate the product structure Bill of Materials (BOM) for assemblies, and assists in configuration management of product variants.
PDM, to a large extent is what enables the much bigger PLM process, so it can be viewed as an important subset of PLM.

Product data management is focused on capturing and maintaining information throughout the product development lifecycle. Typical information managed in a PDM system includes:

• CAD drawings

• Schematics

• Part numbers

• Specifications

• Part descriptions

• Suppliers/vendors

• Vendor part numbers and descriptions

• Units of measure

• Cost/pricing

• Material data sheets

• Where used

PDMWorks Enterprise (formerly known as Conisio) is a PDM software tool now developed specifically for the SolidWorks product development environment and its customers, although it can be integrated with AutoCAD, Inventor, and Solid Edge, too. As its name implies, PDMWorks Enterprise was designed for big companies, but also fits in well with SMBs.

PDMWorks Enterprise has always provided:

• Multi-site access to securely vaulted design data

• Scalability to allow hundreds of team members (including engineers, product designers, marketing staff, sales teams, etc.) to work on projects simultaneously

• Automated revision control

• Greater design reuse, allowing engineers throughout the enterprise to plug already designed parts or assemblies into other product designs; and,

• Automated workflow that notifies team members about design changes and ensures each project follows a company's specific approval process.

For SolidWorks users, a big advantage of PDMWorks is the fact that it is so tightly integrated with the core design product, meaning that it looks, feels, and behaves in a manner a SolidWorks user would expect. This is a huge factor for implementation acceptance and maximizing PDMWorks’ utility. I expect that PDMWorks Enterprise will continue to further these causes and propel it into the hands of more potential users. Although PDM is the software tool that doesn’t seem to get the respect it deserves, it is actually becoming evermore essential as mountains of product-related data continue to proliferate.

The Week’s Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

SpaceClaim Corp. and xPLM Solution GmbH announced the availability of the SpaceClaim PLM Integration Module, a comprehensive integration platform providing a bi-directional link between SpaceClaim and PLM systems. SpaceClaim clients can manage SpaceClaim documents, references and part configurations within their corporate PLM system and directly access managed CAD models, Bills of Materials, engineering change orders and other enterprise PLM data providing an integrated and more efficient design and manufacturing environment. The SpaceClaim PLM Integration Module will be available from xPLM Solution in Q3 2007, and is available as an annual lease. Pricing for PLM system integration is
$500 per year for 3-year term and $600 for 1-year term for each SpaceClaim Professional 2007 license.

UGS PLM Software announced the expansion of its "Fast Track to PLM" SMB educational seminar series to help manufacturers understand how to improve their value chain synchronization. The need for value chain synchronization is the focus of a new report issued by management consulting company Cambashi Limited, "Value Chain Synchronization for Mid-sized Manufacturers." The report states that SMBs are seeing significant performance advantages -- including on-time delivery, overall spending, reduction in finished goods inventory and increased communication -- by employing PLM technologies. Cambashi explains that the
value chain extends the supply chain to include design and research partners as well as the traditional operational partners. AMR Research states in its "Insights into Supply Chain Innovation in Europe" report by Guy Dunkerley, Alexandria Rumble, and the AMR Research Europe Team that "supply chain innovators deliver significant business results quickly, showing more than 30 percent reduction in finished goods inventory and 25 percent improvement in on-time delivery."

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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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