Manually Importing CAD Data into SOLIDWORKS PDM (Overview)

Article by GoEngineer on Apr 29, 2018

Introduction

You have decided to start using SOLIDWORKS PDM to manage your CAD data. Previously, you may have been using folders in Windows or another PDM software. So, now you want to move all of your CAD files into PDM. What tools are available to help you? What is the best procedure to use?  In this document, I will be giving an overview of the three methods to bring already existing files into PDM.  Detailed instructions on how to do these methods will follow in other documents.

“Automatic” options: If you are implementing SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional then one of your options is to use a custom program to import your information. Another option is to hire your VAR to do the import.  They can help even if you are moving from Workgroup to SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard.  However, you may decide not to use an “Automatic” option – usually due to cost considerations.  This document is intended to help you with the decision as to which “manual” process is right for you.

Considerations

  • Unique file names: Your vault should be set to not allow duplicate file names. This setting applies to the entire vault – not just to a single folder. In Windows, as long as the files are in different folders they can have the same file name.  In PDM this requirement will not allow the check-in of two files with the same name. PDM will check the entire vault for a duplicate name and won’t allow the check-in of two files with the same name.
  • Maintaining file references: Assemblies, drawings and sometimes parts all need to be able to find their referenced files. SOLIDWORKS finds those references by looking in saved file paths for the exact file name. When moving files into PDM how do you update these references so that the assemblies and drawings will open without errors?
  • Revisions: You have probably already released many of your files so they contain revisions. When you import them into PDM you want these files to maintain their existing revisions. If you add the files into PDM and release them using the normal workflow, they will take on the first revision of the workflow.  This isn’t want you want, so how do you get them into the released state in PDM at their proper revision?

Import methods

There are three methods for moving your files into PDM

  • Copy/Paste a folder containing your files into PDM
  • Use “Pack and Go” to copy an assembly and all of its referenced files into PDM
  • Windows Copy/Paste files into PDM

Copy/Paste a folder

Advantages:

  • Maintain folder structure – If you want to maintain the same folder structure inside of PDM as you currently have outside of PDM then this might be an attractive option. When you paste a folder into PDM the sub-folder structure and file locations within the folders will be maintained.
  • You will get all of the files that are in the folders into PDM.

Disadvantages:

  • None of the references will be updated in the files. Therefore, they will continue to attempt to open the files from the original location outside of PDM.
  • There may be duplicate files in subfolders. These will have to be located and resolved.

Procedure Overview:

  • Verify that your vault is set to not allow duplicate file names
  • Copy the top level folder with all subfolders and files into the desired location in PDM
  • Check in all files that have unique file names
  • Identify and resolve files that have duplicate file names
  • Fix file references so they all point to files inside of the PDM Vault
  • Release files inside of PDM that have previously been released outside of PDM. Set the PDM Revision to match their current, released revision.

Use Pack and Go to cOpy a file with its references

Advantages:

  • You are certain to get all of the referenced files
  • File references are updated to point inside of the PDM Vault
  • All files can be copied into a single folder. This can help with resolving name conflicts and fixing file references
  • You can create a brand new folder structure

Disadvantages:

  • There may be files that are not copied into PDM

Procedure Overview:

  • Verify that your vault is set to not allow duplicate file names
  • Right-click an assembly or drawing outside of PDM Vault and choose “Solidworks: Pack and Go”
  • Set options in the Pack and Go dialog. Save to a single folder inside of PDM
  • Select “Save” button to start the copy process
  • Check in all files in the “Save To” folder that have unique file names
  • Identify and resolve files that have duplicate file names
  • Open the assembly to verify that all references point to locations inside of the PDM vault
  • Fix file references so they all point to files inside of the PDM Vault
  • Release files inside of PDM that have previously been released outside of PDM. Set the PDM Revision to match their current, released revision.

Windows Copy/Paste files into PDM

Advantages:

  • Simple process that is familiar to most people using Windows
  • Useful when only a few files are being imported

Disadvantages:

  • None of the references will be updated in the files. Therefore, they will continue to attempt to open the files from the original location outside of PDM.

Procedure Overview:

  • Verify that your vault is set to not allow duplicate file names
  • Use simple Windows Copy/Paste to copy files into the desired location in PDM
  • Check in all files that have unique file names
  • Identify and resolve files that have duplicate file names
  • Fix file references so they all point to files inside of the PDM Vault
  • Release files inside of PDM that have previously been released outside of PDM. Set the PDM Revision to match their current, released revision.

About GoEngineer

GoEngineer delivers software, technology and expertise that enable companies to unlock design innovation and deliver better products faster. With more than 35 years' experience and tens of thousands of customers in high tech, medical, machine design, energy and other industries, GoEngineer provides best-in-class design solutions from SOLIDWORKS CAD, Stratasys 3D printing, Creaform & Artec 3D scanning, CAMWorks, PLM, Altair, and more

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