With today’s unified work environments, we have to think about all aspects of the design process. One common question that comes up is what type of integration SOLIDWORKS Electrical has into SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. Today, I would like to discuss just that. The short answer is SOLIDWORKS Electrical checks in a snapshot of the project into your vault.
There are two types of integration, and they both produce the same end results. The first is “Update Files for PDM”, which just places the “snapshot” into the vault. The second option is “Check in/Check out,” this gives you the option to use the check in and check out feature along with managing the project in the electrical environment. To select which integration type to use, open the link to PDM Configuration manager from the Tool tab of the Command Manager. Under the general setting select which option you would like to use. Select the Vault you would like to save the Project into and enter the Sub Folder that you would like the Project to be checked into.
In the Project Data area of the configuration manager, you have an option to select what the project folder will be named, and, just like in other areas, you have a formula manager. I personally recommend that you use the Project name, just be sure that you make all the project names unique. The advantage of using Project name is that when you check the Project back out and make changes then check it back in, PDM Profession will version the files, keeping your design history.
Both integration options give you the ability to control exactly what is checked in. I will explore each of the sections in detail: Drawings, 3D, PDF, Report and Bill of Material. The only requirement is that an archive of the project is checked in.
Let’s take a look at the options for Drawing. We have the ability to turn on the options to export Drawings, Subfolder name, and a Formula Bar for the file name. On the left side, there is a set of radio buttons to select file format, DWG or DXF. We also have options for what version to export to, all the way from version 2002 through version 2013.
There are only two options for 3D. These are a check box to turn on the export, and the subfolder name for the 3D folder.
For PDF, once again, we have a check box to turn on the export to PDF and Subfolder Name. There is also an option for one file per book, allowing all drawings in a book to be combined into one PDF file and an option to create bookmarks and hyperlinks. The bookmarks and hyperlinks are very useful for maintaining the associativity between component symbols, and origin-destination arrows. The bookmarks are helpful because they maintain the project document tree and component tree.
Reports, just like for PDFs, have a check box to turn on the export and Subfolder Name. We also have options to export all the reports in the projects. Or, we can select specific reports to export. We also have the choice of file format to export the reports into: Excel, CSV file or TXT file.
With the “Bill of material” tab again, we have the option to turn on the export with the check box, and then the options to control what reports are exported. By default, there are three reports: Cable lists, Wire lists, and Bill of materials per each unit, as well. We can also run an application after the export for further compiling of the reports.
In essence, the snapshot of the project contains all of the information that is needed for this project. If you need more documentation control such as version and/or revision control, I would suggest using DWGs as your controlling document. The DWGs can flow through a workflow and have attributes updated in the title blocks of the DWGs based off variables on your data cards or workflow transitions. This does take some set up inside of PDM Professional for mapping the variables to the attributes of the DWGs. Each title block does have its own set of attributes which adds to the complexity of the variable mapping.