Getting/Using Solidworks PDM

In years past we’ve used GrabCAD workbench for managing our CAD files during build season. However, it appears they are not doing to support current and future Solidworks versions because we can’t view our SW2018 files on the website and are unable to install the plugin into SW itself. Considering this, we want to switch away from GrabCAD to Solidworks PDM next season. We looked into it last offseason but weren’t able to get anything working. What do we need to get PDM working for us and to use it for next build season? For teams that already use PDM, is there anything we should know?

I tried really hard last year to get SW PDM Professional working for our team, but it was such a huge departure from PDM Workbench (which worked well for us) that it wasn’t worth the effort or expense (you need the full SQL 2016 not Express) to get it set up so we switched to GrabCAD. Here is an installation guide if you’d like that I was sent from Solidworks and some contact info for more help if you need it. Good luck!

Professional Channel Technical Sales Manager
Office: +1 781 810 5071
DS SolidWorks Corporation 175 Wyman Street Waltham, MA 02451-1223 United States

We attempted PDM before we moved to GrabCAD two years ago, and it was night and day for ease of use. GrabCAD does still support all forms of Solidworks models, the models simply are not seen on the visual display. From talking with their support, they have been working to get it updated for SW19. In any case, the software still does what it needs to, save files and revisions for use.
I would suggest not jumping ship just yet as PDM is a very tricky process to implement correctly and use correctly as well. Also, it will need to be updated as SW is updated every year as well, unlike GrabCAD.
Just some food for thought for you.

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For whatever it’s worth, my team had tremendous trouble with SolidWorks PDM, and that was our main motivation for switching to OnShape. For example, many times we would save and check in an assembly, then the next time we checked it out and opened it half the mates would be gone. It also took an unreasonably long time (5-10 min) to check documents in and out. None of us had prior experience with PDM, so it’s possible we were making mistakes that others could easily avoid, but if no one on your team has used PDM before you might find yourselves in the same boat.