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Solidworks PDM and PDM Professional Server Implementations for Engineering Departments

Dassault’s Solidworks is an amazing tool for engineers and product designers – offering enormous CAD and modeling power in one package. This performance is quickly degraded as soon as more than one engineer in a given organization needs to regularly edit a set of files.

A given SolidWorks drawing may have hundreds, or thousands of parts. There may be thousands, or even millions, of small changes and revisions done to a given complex model or the lifetime of the piece. How do you know who did what? How do you go back? What is 5/10 changes in the recent revision to a manufacturing assembly resulted in a net negative result? How do you track those 5? Or those 10?

For departments requiring version control, audit trails, change history, and more, Dassault offers Professional Document Manager, or PDM, for SolidWorks products. SolidWorks PDM is a complex Microsoft SQL Database that runs on a server dedicated to its operation and tracks all changes to a “Vault” of SolidWorks drawings.

Sundial can provide past examples and references for successful SolidWorks PDM implementations.

PDM does more than just version and history control, PDM also allows engineers to attach and track a host of supporting documents for each drawing – including Bills of Materials, Work Orders and more. PDM is its own Electronic Document Management system in addition to tracking drawing changes.

This great functionality does not come without a degree of complexity. PDM Server is sold separately from SolidWorks, and requires its own license. It also comes in two tiers – SolidWorks PDM Standard, and Professional (or Enterprise in some years), with the Professional offering even more functionality. The Standard edition has more than enough power for most engineering departments.

  Typical Implementation Schedule:
 Assess readiness to implement SolidWorks PDM Server.
 Recommend and implement server and network upgrades if necessary.
 Meet with Engineering department about expectations of PDM implementation.
 Determine is the Standard or Professional edition is appropriate depending on requirements.
 Install server-side PDM
 Work with departments to customize PDM deployment.
 Pre-validate and validate functionality.
 Copy to live database and rollout to users.


Can we run PDM on any computer?

No, SolidWorks PDM Server is a fairly taxing program that requires considerable server resources for large file vaults. PDM should be run on a dedicated server or a virtual server granted reasonable resources. Vaults run much quicker on SSD drives.

Can PDM run in multiple locations?

PDM is largely designed to operate off a single server, and going beyond a single server requires complex solutions like replicating SQL instances. We recommend establishing point-to-point connectivity to a single server.

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