Product data management

Powerful software tools like SolidWorks, create amazingly complex files that are detailed and accurate to many decimal places. So it goes without saying that the management of this data presents a challenge when it comes to optimizing performance while still maintaining some sort of process to centrally manage the hours of data created each day.

Some companies use the network to allow their employees access the files and refrain from using the same file at the same time (eventhough the access is read only).
Let’s see what happens when you open a file across the network.

When a file is opened across the network, it follows a specific process that can lead to corruption and Solidworks Crashes.

The ‘Request for File’ begins on the local machine that moves through the various communications devices where it reaches the server. The data is loaded into server RAM where it is then prepared for transfer back to the local machine.

During the trip – data is broken up into ‘packets’ to send. The packets are approximately 20% larger in overhead because each packet contains information to re-assemble the data at the destination (local) machine.

Since the files only reside in the RAM of the local machine, each time a user clicks SAVE or Rebuild, the process takes place for each and every file open on the local machine. With large assemblies or drawings of assemblies, this means for EVERY part and assembly that is referenced too!

Have you ever noticed that when you copy your files to your local hard drive, they Open, Save and Rebuild shockingly faster?!

If your answer is no, please verify that you didn’t just copy the ‘Assembly’ local while all the parts it references aren’t still on the network.

Go to FILE > FIND REFERENCES and make sure all of the files are being referenced from the local machine drive. 99% of the time, many of the parts and sub-assemblies are still being opened over the network.

Unlike to the network, opening the files locally (if they are copied to the local hard drive) is very simple and faster.

Using Product data management :

  • Files are stored on the network in a vault.
  • When users open files from the vault, they are seamlessly copied to the local machine where all file saves and rebuilds are also performed locally.
  • When users check-in files, only the changes are copied back to the vault on the server where version history is retained.
  • The server vault data is backed up using normal IT backup procedures.

As you can see, there is a clear benefit to working locally vs. working on the files live over the network.