SolidWorks: Introduction to PDM

SolidWorks Product Data Management (PDM)

Team Collaboration, you may love it, you may hate it, but it is often necessary when it comes to coordinating projects among teams. There are many tools and applications designed to go about streamlining this process, however, there are better choices for specific purposes. Here at Perception Engineering much of our work is design work done through SolidWorks. To make our team project collaboration more efficient we have implemented SolidWorks PDM. This blog will go over what that is, some of the functions we have found particularly useful, and how to set up your first vault.

Introduction to SolidWorks PDM

SolidWorks PDM stands for SolidWorks Product Data Management. It is an add-on package that provides you with the tools to manage and coordinate your files while being very closely integrated with SolidWorks. It allows you to create file vaults within your computer’s file explorer that allows each team member, that is appointed access, to check files in and out of on their own computers. Once a vault is created, files can be uploaded and organized into folders within the vault. This program is especially useful for SolidWorks. Team members can check out design files, make their changes, and check them back in. This allows for collaboration on a part without working on the same computer. There are also features such as folder and file data cards which allow you to change your part properties from the file browser; also making it possible to change multiple parts’ properties at once. You can also create workflows to streamline the approval process of a project. With these, you can designate team leaders to oversee the status of a document submitted for approval which will automatically update revisions of a SolidWorks file. More in-depth walkthroughs of these features will be included in future blogs.

Starting a New SolidWorks PDM Vault

The first step to creating a vault within PDM is to open the Administration application, which will most likely be found in your programs file on your computer.


Figure 1: Administration Application Icon

Next, you must add the server that your team plans to work on. This can be done by selecting “File” → “Add Server” and following the prompts. Once this is complete you are ready to add your first vault. To do this you must use the drop-down menu for “SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration” and right click on the option that has your server name and select “Create new vault…”.


Figure 2: Location of Vault Creation

This selection will bring you to the “Create New Vault” wizard. This will walk you through the rest of the steps needed such as selecting the type of vault, naming your vault, and where to place it. Once you reach the “Choose database” page, if your server is not an option on the drop-down menu make sure to type in your server name in the edit box provided.


Figure 3: Database Entry in Vault Wizard

You will then continue through the wizard, choosing the settings that you prefer. Once you reach the “Configure vault” page, it is suggested that you use the predefined configuration, “SOLIDWORKS Quick Start”. Carry out the last few pages of the wizard, select finish and there you have it! Your first SolidWorks PDM vault.

That’s all for now! You now know how to set up your own SolidWorks PDM file vault. If you like the content or have questions, sign up for our email list to stay in the loop for solutions or weekly content.

Written By: 

Matthew Fontana

Matthew Fontana

Engineering Co-op at Perception Engineering