A common concern many CAD users share is what happens when work is interrupted due to unscheduled breakdowns where connection to the server is lost and the user has to close the existing session until the link is restored.
Another related concern has to do with idle time during the planned maintenance activity. Often, people ask, ‘Is there any way to access my files so I can continue to work?’
Now there is a way! Teamcenter Integration for Solid Edge supports handling of documents even during times when connection to the server is lost. A new working mode, ‘Offline Mode’, is available to handle such situations.
Imagine a scenario where you are working on a design and the connectivity to the server is lost. You will get an error when you access any Teamcenter command which communicates with the server.
The changes you have made so far cannot be uploaded and there may be a chance that the changes may not be retrieved when the link is restored and you try to upload the work to Teamcenter.
To tackle this this situation, Teamcenter Integration for Solid Edge now allows the user to switch to offline mode.
When the connection is broken, the error itself suggests the user about the next action;
Once in Cache Assistant, you can see that a new command group called Working Mode has been added to the ribbon.
Without closing the files, user can change the working mode to offline by clicking on the command. Once you are in offline mode, the commands which require to communicate to the server are disabled.
The user can now keep working on his or her design. Rest assured that the changes you make are captured in the cache upon Save.
When the work is completed, the user can close the design and switch back to online mode once the server link is established. The user then just has to open the last saved model from the cache, verify the changes and upload the work to Teamcenter. He might want to check in the document from Cache Assistant instead of opening the document in Solid Edge, as check in commands are also available in Cache Assistant.
The same procedure can be followed in the case of planned maintenance. The user simply has to download the documents to the cache, check out the items he or she wants to work on, and switch to offline mode.
This also means that by switching to offline mode, you can resume working on your documents even outside of your office where there is no Teamcenter connection is available!
When this was demonstrated to users during the Solid Edge beta program, there were smiles all around. But immediately this was followed by a question: ‘To be able to switch the working mode, I need to log in to reach the Cache Assistant dialog. I have the documents in the Cache, and I have write access for the required documents. What if I forgot to switch to offline mode before I moved out of office?’
Well, there is a way to do that. In such situations, launch Solid Edge and go to Settings/Options. Under the Manage group, access the General Tab. Select the option shown in the below image and exit Solid Edge. Now if you launch Solid Edge again, it will be launched in offline mode.
By the way you can access your Cache from Open Dialog too!
While reading all of this, you might be thinking ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to also create new documents in offline mode?’ We always want more, don’t we ?
It is cool and it is possible.
After switching to offline mode, the ‘New’ command group remains enabled in the Solid Edge session. If the templates are downloaded prior to switching to offline mode, then those would be used or else local templates would be used.
While creating new documents, the documents’ properties can be accessed and property values can be entered. Depending on the item type selection, the grid will be updated to reflect the attached properties.
All document types can be created in offline mode.
All of these links will be remembered and retrieved during check in. Since the links are remembered, Where Used does work in offline mode.
Copies of the existing documents can be created using the Save As command.
The new documents do appear in Cache Assistant.
These new documents do not necessarily have to be checked in before you switch to online mode. Those can be opened in online mode and worked on from there. Once the design is finalized, then the user can choose to save the file or files to Teamcenter.
The user can also synchronize the cache while toggling the working mode.
By now, you must have a fair idea about working in offline mode. It’s like being in Teamcenter Managed mode and utilizing it to the fullest even though the server connection is temporarily unavailable.
Before signing off, I would like to share one small but efficient utility. Oftentimes during a work day, we need to look for related drawings for a component we are working on. We either find these by executing Where Used or searching for and then opening the file. There is now a new, faster way to accomplish this.
Teamcenter ribbon bar now has a command called Open Draft. It automatically searches for related drawings and opens these. In the case of multiple drafts for a single document, Open Dialog gets launched and all the drafts are listed in it. Select the required one and proceed with Open.
The great thing about this command is that it works in both online and offline modes. In online mode, the search is done on the server, while in offline mode the query is made to the local cache.
In conclusion, Teamcenter integration with Solid Edge provides you a failsafe in the event that your connection to the server is disrupted in the middle of a project, so you can rest assured that your work will not be lost. It also gives you easier ways to find and save the files you need, so you can work from any place at any time.