You’re longing for tools offering secure file vaulting, access control and revision history in your CAD-projects. And maybe you’re considering a PDM system as a solution? But it is no simple decision. Dassault Systèmes offer two different solutions for a PDM system. PDM Standard and PDM Professional. Standard is the right solution if you need a simple setup with few options. But many users and companies will find that PDM Professional is a very attractive solution offering a customizable system for your wants and needs. Below, I will tell you all about why PDM Professional is a great choice – and there’s 8 good reasons.
As mentioned, PDM exists in two versions – Standard and Professional. As it is often the case, a Standard version is fundamental and basic. A PDM Professional on the other hand is not just an advanced version for super users. It is a version with a strong motor for automation and customization carrying a broad appeal.
There are several similarities between the two versions of PDM, and as they are built on the same platform you can always move on from a Standard to Professional if you want to. But not the other way around. Mostly because each version run on their own SQL.
PDM Professional contains a lot more functions and features which are exclusive to the version or simply limited in Standard. They extend the automated functionality and the customizable procedures. Let’s have a look at them.
8 awesome features included only in PDM Professional
- A Serial Number generator controlling the naming of files
- A native add-in for other CAD-systems and programs
- More workflows for defining the processes of your files
- Transitions in workflows driving the process ahead
- Tasks automating the generation of files
- Automatic data import/export in and out of PDM
- Replication ensuring security when sharing files
- Copy/Move tree keeping track of all references
1. A Serial Number generator controlling the naming of files
With the integrated Serial Number generator, you can get PDM Professional to automatically name the files being put in the file vault. This ensures a consistent data structure across your team.
You can set up several serial number generators giving each of your file types an individual standard for names and numbers in the vault. Then you can rest assured that the files are named and numbered correctly depending on their type.
2. A native add-in for other CAD-systems and programs
With PDM Professional you can access the tools of the system in other CAD-systems and in Office. You can check in your files and change their state in the workflows with a native add-in.
This means, that you can work in your PDM vault in the specific program in the same way as in SolidWorks. You have all functions at your disposal in systems like Inventor or Pro/Engineer (Creo).
3. More workflows for defining the processes of your files
In PDM Standard, you only get one single workflow with a maximum of 10 states.
PDM Professional offers an unlimited number of workflows and states. In theory, you can have a workflow for each type of file in your system – e.g. one workflow for CAD, one for Office, one for templates etc.
You can control the workflows through the use of categories which is only possible in Professional. These categories help you control where different documents are stored. And in this way, you don’t mix CAD and Office documents for instance.
4. Transitions in workflows driving the process ahead
With PDM Professional you get a few more options for making transitions in your workflows. For an example you get the option of making automatic and parallel transitions. In Standard, you only get one transition.
An automatic transition is a function you can use, for instance, for sorting your files. With these transitions you can define that files with one type of property goes one way in the workflow and files with another property goes a different way.
This means, that when the files are in a given state in your workflow, then automatic transitions define the way from there. The file moves automatically through the flow when it lives up to the criteria defined for the given transition. Otherwise, the file stay in its current state until it does.
In Standard, you will always have to move the file along on your own. For instance, if you have to update some variables then you need to move the file through a transition manually.
Parallel transition is a function that are useful for teams. For instance, when you and others need to approve the same drawing. Then you can add a parallel transition which means that when the people involved have approved the drawing, then the file automatically moves to the next state.
In Standard, you will need to add a state in your workflow for each person that needs to take action on the drawing. In this way, you will quickly use up the limited states you have at your disposal.
More transitions between two states
This function is really handy when you have a mix of files where you need to do an export to DXF/STEP for some of them and not for others in the same workflow.
An example could be that you have some parts, some of which are Sheet Metal and some are not. And you want to take these parts from one state to another in your workflow. If you send them all through a state tasked with creating DXFs then the task will fail due to the parts that are not Sheet Metal. In this case, you can make two transitions with the same name and add some criteria to them dividing the files between different transitions. But having shared the same name makes it so there’s only one option to choose when you manage the files.
5. Tasks automating the generation of files
As a part of PDM Professional, you can create tasks which carry out an automatic export to different file formats (e.g. DXF, PDF and STEP). This way, you put an end to repetitive tasks of manually creating deliverables – and manually storing them in the right place.
You can do a setup of tasks that places the files in other locations on your network than your vault. If you want to transfer your files to your ERP-system, then you can export the files to a location where the ERP-system can read these files. Or if you want to share files with colleagues in a location that they have access to outside the vault.
In PDM Standard, the automatic file generation is limited to creating PDFs and placing them in the vault.
6. Automatic data import/export in and out of PDM
If you want to transfer some data from your files in the PDM-system to your ERP-system, such as specific properties, you can use transitions to automatically manage import or export of data with PDM Professional.
7. Replication ensuring security when sharing files
If your company has several departments in different locations and you want to achieve a better performance of checking files in and out, then you can set up replication of your servers in PDM Professional.
In this way, all departments can access a local server and thus achieve better performance in your system. PDM controls where files are located and also ensures that all files are being replicated – or mirrored – to all servers.
8. Copy/Move tree keeping track of all references
In PDM Standard you have the option to ’Copy tree’, and in PDM Professional this function is extended so this function also names the new files.
Additionally, you can move files around in the PDM-system by use of ‘Move tree’. This means, you can move files from one location to another and the PDM-system keeps track of references and leveling on its own making sure assemblies and drawings are found where the files have been relocated.
See the full table of features in the two PDM versions
What do you think?
Whether you are already using PDM Standard or no PDM at all, I hope that you see how PDM Professional might help you and your team.
If you want to read up on the basics of product data management, you can do so in our e-books here:
- How to increase productivity with integrated Product Data Management
- 6 Great Benefits of Product Data Management
The most common reasons for upgrading to or choosing PDM Professional count better options for automation and customization.
Flemming Bruun Nielsen