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Guest Ross

How Do You Manage Data / Drawings Etc. Across Teams?

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Guest Ross

I'm working in an ID department which is rapidly growing - to date, we have been using fairly logical systems to track projects - sketches numbered in project folders, files seperated by client on individual hard drives etc.

 

Now that we are expanding, we are looking at getting an internal server for working files (so that we don't have to remember who has the latest version of each file!), a new format to number / track projects and files - basically, a new project / data management system. It can be as simple or as complex as required, automated or not, but if anybody can share ways in which their teams manage drawings and files, I'd be very interested to hear about it!

 

For the CAD side of things, we're shifting over to SolidEdge / ProE / Solidworks (an ongoing discussion) and Adobe CS4 - and have the option of using the corporate licenses of Team Centre, but I've had no experience of this, and know that an overly complex system will not be adopted. Any ideas?

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Guest Buff
I'm working in an ID department which is rapidly growing - to date, we have been using fairly logical systems to track projects - sketches numbered in project folders, files seperated by client on individual hard drives etc.

 

Now that we are expanding, we are looking at getting an internal server for working files (so that we don't have to remember who has the latest version of each file!), a new format to number / track projects and files - basically, a new project / data management system. It can be as simple or as complex as required, automated or not, but if anybody can share ways in which their teams manage drawings and files, I'd be very interested to hear about it!

 

For the CAD side of things, we're shifting over to SolidEdge / ProE / Solidworks (an ongoing discussion) and Adobe CS4 - and have the option of using the corporate licenses of Team Centre, but I've had no experience of this, and know that an overly complex system will not be adopted. Any ideas?

 

Teamcentre will handle your PDM (product data management) very well. I'm not sure if you are saying that your company already has this deployed elsewhere within the company or not, but if you do, it would make sence to roll this out into the ID dept. IMO.

 

It also makes sence to go for Solid Edge if you are going to run Teamcentre. I recently evaluated Windchill (Pro/E), Teamcentre (Seimens) and PDM Enterprise (Solidworks), and I couldnt see much to chose between Windchill and Teamcentre, both to me seamed more robust and user friendly than PDM enterprise.

 

There are light versions of all the afore mentioned PDM apps, and are perhaps worth a look at.

 

I ran a benchmark model with SE, SW and Pro/E and found SE abel to produce the form quickly and relaibly. SW fell over and took longer to get satisfactory results, Pro/E did well too, but the workflow seemed too restrictive.

 

SolidEdge ST, does have the benifit of offering two modes, as in parametric and explicit modeling, and whilt the parametric data wond get carried over if you convert to ST, it still provides a more versatile product and IMO very good value for money. their new ribon interface too seems easy to use.

 

Another reason I chose SE over the others is, I feel that PTC has lost a lot of ground over the years, and whilst they have caugh up, I still get the impression that they are slow to adapt to market demands. I felt too that SW are in dager of resting on their laurels and are perhaps held back a little from the Catia glas ceiling effect of having a high level product. at least ProE is scalable and I think this is still a worthwil contender for that reason. With ProE you can buy a Wildfire Seat for about £4500 and keep scaling it untill you have the same tool set as the Ferrari F1 team.

 

I began a blog on SE/Teamcentre and will be rolling out the software during April

 

http://www.buffindustrialdesign.co.uk/blog.html

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Guest Ross

Thanks for the detailed feedback - you've confirmed my thoughts on SE compared to other products. TeamCentre is being adopted by the company, so by purchasing Solid Edge, we'd receive Team Centre by default anyway - so I guess we should at least give it a go. I've not looked in to the PDM side of things, but it looks like we should hold off on any other plans to manage data / drawings etc. if Team Centre is going to be adopted.

 

Thanks again for the great response.

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Guest Skint

I have been wondering wether or not I should try to get some form of PDM software, using pro-e at the moment so thier PDM software would be the way to go... whats stopped me so far... well its just so @#$@#$ expensive for what is essentially a posh filing cabinet lol.

 

Guess it depends on how many staff use and control your data and how "messy" they are. I look after the complete drawing/modelling database here, which is now almost a TB in size....there are 4 of us that use/access it... mainly pro-e and autocad stuff.

 

I keep it clean and tidy and safe :P

 

As for the format its basic but works, this would be for Pro-e stuff :

 

Main folder : Pro e

Secondry Levels : Development / Production

Third level : Year 2009

Final Level : 2009_1

Included within final level, each part then 2009_1_1, 2009_1_2 etc

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Guest Buff

How much time each week can you spend managing files/folders?

 

How do you comunicate, data to your customers, your suppliers, your customers manufacturing and supply chain. Works instructions, material spcification data sheets, email tracking, letters, pdf maunuals stc, etc etc etc

 

Perhaps Im shooting myself in the foot here, but I belive that ID has to take this on board and add more value than drawing pretty pictures. I belive that PDM will be one of the tools that ID consultacies and even freelancers can use to add that value

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We are using Windchill, which is very awful in a lot of ways. But when you have multiple designers and engineers assigned to a single product - it's essential. Just saving with revised file names isn't enough when 2 people are working on the same file simultaneously. Two people can make 8 hours of changes, save them all to 2 new files, and wind up not having their data syncrhonized. The ability to check out data prevents people from those mistakes.

 

Another nice feature is the ability for me to take a surface out of Alias, update it into Windchill, and then have all of the associated Pro E parts update parametrically. Sometimes it fails miserably but when it works it's great.

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Guest Buff
We are using Windchill, which is very awful in a lot of ways. But when you have multiple designers and engineers assigned to a single product - it's essential. Just saving with revised file names isn't enough when 2 people are working on the same file simultaneously. Two people can make 8 hours of changes, save them all to 2 new files, and wind up not having their data syncrhonized. The ability to check out data prevents people from those mistakes.

 

Another nice feature is the ability for me to take a surface out of Alias, update it into Windchill, and then have all of the associated Pro E parts update parametrically. Sometimes it fails miserably but when it works it's great.

 

I know it's a big ask. But could you possibly expand on this please.. if you have time of course

 

TIA

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I agree with Buff in that ID companies have to offer more than just pretty pictures, but I have to say that I don't use a software based PDM system, and either do any of my customers (of those using CAD). I have sat in numerous board meetings over the years looking at the pros and cons of this, and one customer even went as far as buying into one system and trying to implement it - badly.

 

Nonetheless I am very interested to hear of other's experiences in the SME and micro company market. What do you use? How do you manage revisions? How do you manage issuing data for tooling and approvals?

 

Speaking personally I use SolidWorks and Ashlar-Vellum Cobalt for 3D CAD (plus others). The thing that makes a lot of generic systems fall flat is there inability to handle file formats beyond the native core CAD format and Microsoft Office. What I use for issue of data now is pdf with embedded data files (containing tooling surfaces). That and SolidWorks Pack and Go to package up all the connected data files for each revision. I accept this is not ideal for big teams but for small teams (most of our projects are 2 or 3 people at the most) this works fine and is very accessible.

 

Has anyone tried the online project management systems?

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Guest Buff

I had a demo PDM Enterprise (SW) and would say that for the lightweight user who just needs to have revision controll, file search, file structure and autmation with some colaborative elements, it's a good solution

 

I expect that for very small team PDM Works would be fine

 

My experiances with PDM though are that it can go all horibly wrong.

 

deployment has to be very carefully planned, training very robust, legacy data transfare sytematically developed.

 

It will cost you more than you'll save if you get it wrong!

 

In my experiances too, get your PDM solution and CAx tools from the same vendor to keep things as seamless as possible.

 

Most PDM solutions take almost any digitally created data nowadays

 

I think it better to think beyond PDM also and begin thinking PLM. Any consultancy beyond 4 or 5 people not adopting a philosophy of offering total a PLM solution, as an outsource to ther clients will be left behind IMO

 

That said, if you get it wrong, It will likely cripple your business... fortune favors the brave... I think????

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