SolidWorks Announces PDMWorks Enterprise

SolidWorks Corp. unveiled new software that will make it easy for large product development teams to securely share and manage enterprise data and engineering documents while ensuring version control. PDMWorks Enterprise enables large or geographically dispersed design teams to work concurrently on product designs.

PDMWorks Enterprise is the latest product data management (PDM) software from SolidWorks to help engineers and product managers work more efficiently in teams while automating workflow. "As a large company, we have design and manufacturing teams scattered around the region," said Steve Moses of Tigercat Industries. "Teams in different locations have to collaborate daily, and we can't afford to have version control issues or inefficient access to data. PDMWorks Enterprise allows us to work with SolidWorks and other data as if we were in the same office, without worrying about errors that affect production or waiting hours to download large files."

PDMWorks Enterprise provides:
  • 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.
While PDMWorks Workgroup delivers CAD data management to typically smaller engineering workgroups, PDMWorks Enterprise helps larger organizations better control each design project while streamlining development.

"Large medical device manufacturers, global retail consumer product makers, and industrial manufacturers are just some of the enterprises that can have teams of hundreds of employees working on any of 50 or more projects a year," said SolidWorks CEO John McEleney. "Seamlessly managing all project information is critical to delivering better products that are delivered on time and within budget. PDMWorks Enterprise provides the automated processes and granular management of a project throughout its lifecycle to help companies compete more effectively in a global economy."

by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

In its most elemental form, PDM is an information system that can do many things, but is primarily used to manage the data for a product as it makes its way from engineering to manufacturing. This data includes product plans, geometric models, CAD drawings, images, CAM/NC programs as well as all related project data, notes, and other documents. A PDM also manages the interrelationships between the data so that when changes are made to one database, the effects are recognized and reflected in the others. PDM systems are developed for organizations o different sizes - relatively small workgroups as well as entire enterprises. PDM systems are intended to minimize design errors with essential file access and revision controls enabled by the PDM software. PDM addresses issues such as control, quality, reuse, security and availability of engineering data, and offers new functions for the engineering environment.

So what makes engineering data so difficult to deal with anyway? Well, for starters . . .
  • there is a lot of engineering data associated with any product development, and more is created every day
  • data can exist on many different types of media
  • data is used by many people for different reasons at dispersed sites
  • data is used by many types software applications
  • data often has several different definitions
  • data exists in many different versions
  • data may have multiple relationships and meanings
  • data may need to be maintained and archived for many, many years
Ideally, a PDM system should reduce:
  • design/engineering costs
  • product development cycle time
  • engineering change handling time
  • the number of engineering changes
If successfully implemented, PDM systems should reduce:
  • the time to introduce new products
  • the cost of developing new products
  • the cost of new products
  • and, improve the quality of products associated services
How successful PDM systems really are depends on whom you ask.

We spoke with Joy Garon, PDMWorks Product Manager for SolidWorks, and she said that PDMWorks Enterprise was introduced specifically for geographically dispersed workgroups who do need PDM, but not necessarily PLM (however you want to define what PLM is). These users have different needs than those using PDMWorks WorkGroup, issues primarily related to workflow. When asked what percentage of SolidWorks users were using any type of PDM, she speculated that 50%+ are, but some of these users include those using Windows Explorer and SolidWorks Explorer as a PDM system. This indicates that there is plenty of opportunity for PDM.

SolidWorks is serious about PDM because a few years ago John McEleney, SolidWorks CEO, was astounded by how relatively few customers were actually using a PDM system to manage an extremely valuable asset - design data. This concern, however, is improving as an increasing number of users understand and appreciate the importance of PDM systems, and are implementing them.

Admittedly, implementing a PDM system can be a challenge. In the beginning companies implementing PDM systems were medium to large companies. They included engineering and construction companies; discrete manufacturers in automotive, aerospace, electronic and mechanical engineering industries; and food and pharmaceutical companies. Today, PDM systems make sense for virtually all product development and service companies, regardless of scale.

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.

Largest CAM Software Market Vendors Named by CIMdata
CIMdata Inc. named the largest CAM software vendors for 2005 in its recently released NC Software Market Assessment Report, Version 15. In this annual report, CIMdata also projects the leaders for 2006. For 2005, CIMdata estimated that UGS was the market leader on the basis of revenue received with $123 million of CAM related software and services revenues. This resulted in a 14.6% market share. CIMdata also ranks vendors on the basis of end user payments. This ranking included revenues received by resellers as well as vendor revenue received. It is a measure of overall market presence. On this basis, IBM/Dassault is the largest vendor with an estimated $189 million in CAM-related software revenues and a 14.1% market share. Following IBM/Dassault in this ranking are UGS, PTC, Delcam, Hitachi Zosen Systems, Planit Holdings, CNC Software, Missler Software, Tebis, and OPEN MIND Technologies. The NC Software Market Assessment Report not only ranks the CAM suppliers by revenue categories, but also by seats shipped and installed, growth rate, distribution channels and resources. The full report is further described and can be obtained from CIMdata at

Boeing's PLM Implementation Leads Way In 787 Development With Dassault Systemes
Dassault Systemes is playing a key role in enabling significant accomplishments for Boeing and its global team of partners. The 787 Dreamliner team, all working within Boeing's Global Collaborative Environment (GCE), have achieved 25 percent design release on the all-new jetliner. The GCE was initially implemented two years ago with the full-scale implementation of ENOVIA. The 787 is considered the world's largest current industrialization effort. The total 787 team, including sub-tier contracts, involves companies from around two dozen countries and 135 partner sites around the world. Utilizing the Global Collaboration Environment and the Dassault Systemes suite of tools, design of the 787 can proceed simultaneously at these sites. Given the scale of the project and the volume of data being exchanged, significant performance and scalability challenges are being met by DS' V5 architecture and throughout the GCE program.

Autodesk Reports Inventor 11 Widely Adopted
Autodesk said that the latest version of Autodesk Inventor software has been rapidly adopted by industrial machinery, building and plant equipment, transportation, and consumer products companies. Released last quarter, as part of the comprehensive Autodesk Manufacturing Solution, Autodesk Inventor 11 has been well-received from both existing and prospective customers who are looking to leverage 3D design technology to get products to market faster. "Autodesk is pleased with the acceptance of Autodesk Inventor 11, as we have delivered superior functionality to address the demanding requirements our customers face," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, vice president of Autodesk's Manufacturing Solutions Division. "We're also especially pleased with the success and acceptance of our data management solution, Autodesk Productstream software, which enables customers to organize all engineering data in a centralized location, providing them total control over their design data."

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