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Solid Edge built-in data management?

We are in the process of rationalising our CAD files to a central location and are pondering a better way of managing them.  We have used Insight in the past and then wasted several years trying to get Teamcenter to work and then jacked that in.  Since then we have been using an unmanaged environment.

 

Now we are aware of the new built-in data management tools in ST9 and are wondering how good they might be.  Our situation is probably a bit different from most of you guys in that we are an engineering department in a steel mill and our design efforts are more to do with working on and continuously improving the plant and machinery - rather than producing discrete products.  As such, over a decade or so we have built up a large number of 3D models of the plant.  These models are continuously updated from project to project.

 

So our question is this:  has anybody used the built-in data management tools in ST9?  What are the limitations and has anybody reached them?  Or would it be better to consider Solid Edge SP (SharePoint)?  Don't mention Teamcenter!

11 REPLIES

Re: Solid Edge built-in data management?

Good morning Chris,

 

We used Insight for about 6 to 7 years and for the past 4 years we are using Solid Edge SP. So unfortunately I can't comment on the new built-in data management tools.

 

My question to you is the following. Why did you guys move away from Insight in the first place?

 

Regards,

Theodore

Re: Solid Edge built-in data management?

I get the impression that new SE SP implemmentations are not really recommended as it's being quietly phased out...

Re: Solid Edge built-in data management?

BiDM contains:

  • No workflow or approval routing.
  • No custom naming and numbering rules.

 

BiDM relies on:

  • A structured folder hiearchy, with applicable Windows security.
  • Disciplined employees, at least those with data management access.
  • Workarounds for the functionality not yet developed (this is new, and it is only Windows file management).

____________________________________
--Scott Wertel, P.E.

Re: Solid Edge built-in data management?

[ Edited ]

@TheodoreTurner, we found that Insight was becoming unreliable with the volumes of data we had.  We had problems with the checking in and out processes and would sometimes lose data as a result.  We moved away from Insight when we thought that Teamcenter would be the way to go.  While testing workflows and getting data ready for migration to Teamcenter we ditched Insight and reverted to an un-managed environment.

Re: Solid Edge built-in data management?

[ Edited ]

@Alex_H, I am curious - why do you say SP is being phased out?

Re: Solid Edge built-in data management?

@swertel, I note your recent blog.  So I take it you are using BiDM yourself?  Other than the comments in your reply, are there any show-stoppers or nasty surprises?  How does it handle large models with or without  a lot of inter-part links, etc.?  Does it slow down (more than expected)?

Re: Solid Edge built-in data management?

I certainly haven't got any 'official' word on this but from conversations with our resellers and other users at SE Uni, i got the impression that new SP wasn't recommended or pushed by Siemens. It's clear in recent years that at Siemens big push is either BiDM for (very) small customers and TC/rapid start for everyone else.
When was the last time there was new news about SP?

Re: Solid Edge built-in data management?

[ Edited ]

I can't find it right now, but I've seen a list with both Insight and SE for Sharepoint marked as 'obsolete' or 'phased out'. That leaves us with Teamcenter and BiDM with quite a gap in between if you ask me. We also had a painful Teamcenter (Express) experience. Can you tell me what version you tried? Because our reseller is pushing it again and says it's a lot better and easier now...

 

We now are an early adopter of BiDM. It isn't a full PDM system, but a set of tools integrated in Solid Edge. It doesn't use a database. Your files remain in Windows folders. It is easy to give it a try with some test data, as there is not a lot to setup or configure.

 

What we use:

  1. Fast where used search, based on Windows file indexing
  2. Fast search on (custom) SE properties, based on Windows file indexing
  3. Prevent duplicate SE Document Numbers, based on Windows file indexing
  4. Modified Save dialog that helps to keep file name and SE Document Number identical
  5. When you Save As or Revise a 3D file, SE can autocopy the linked DFT for you without the need to perform a Where Used
  6. Simple standalone Item Number generator (unsupported)

What we don't use:

  1. Separate file folders for each lifecycle status (In Work, Released, Obsolete etc.)

In ST10 some new functionality will be added:

  1. Button to open Draft directly from the 3D model (with a single click I hope)
  2. Tool to analyse duplicates, based on properties and geometry. This also shows if a draft is present for each 3D file
  3. Integrated Item Number generator

There are some issues with BiDM however:

  • When I copy large assemblies in Design Manager with (5) enabled, things get very slow. We have a workaroud for this. Siemens cannot reproduce our problem at the moment.
  • Sometimes I have to re-register a Windows DLL that BiDM relies on. You need admin permissions for this on each SE PC.
  • Sometimes (3) fails to prevent duplicate Document Numbers. Siemens cannot reproduce this at the moment.

Hope this helps.

Re: Solid Edge built-in data management?

My employer has, what I would classify as, a failed Teamcenter implementation.  Our CAD data never even made it into the migration stage.  Therefore, we've had unmanaged CAD data the entire 16+ years of using Solid Edge here.

 

  1. BiDM is being utilized.  I reorganized our CAD files into a vault with life cycle stage as the top folders.  (We actually had our data organized in a very similar fashion, so it was a quick change to move all the files into the exact structure needed for BiDM.)
  2. I worked with our IT department to get the indexing services setup on the server.  Not quite sure why, but there were errors in the index and with getting the custom properties populated.  Not a show stopper, though, and with ST10 so close we're not worried about fixing it for ST9.
  3. One issue we have is that we use DFS and linux-based NAS & SAN devices for network storage over mapped network drives.  None of these things play well with BiDM, and quite frankly played havoc with links because
    • some links appeared directly to the storage devices UNC.
    • some links appeared through the dfs server UNC.
    • some links appeard through the mapped drive UNC.
  4. The NAS & SAN devices are mounted to the server as a local drive letter.  That may be why custom properties has errors, but the fast search and indexing seem to be working.  I haven't had much time to fully test it.
  5. We had to "add a network location" for all CAD users, which wasn't hard but now all links point to the same UNC.  IT loses some flexibility it had with upgrading hardware since they can't change the DFS location, but this only affects CAD users and we'll deal with that server change when it happens.
  6. Fast Search only works with the network location UNC, not a mapped drive.  The users had to change their habits.  We helped by using group policy to remove that mapped drive.

 


____________________________________
--Scott Wertel, P.E.