Can Windows SharePoint be used as your SOLIDWORKS PDM?


Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 has been out for nearly a year now. It certainly adds a lot of collaboration tools over WSS 2.0. I think that just the simple fact that 3.0 now supports blogs and wikis makes WSS a nice design collaboration tool. With all these new collaboration tools now included, can it replace PDMWorks Enterprise?

There certainly is a lot of overlap between WSS and PDMWorks Enterprise. Both products allow you to check in and out documents, have a nice easy to use interface and provide file version control; but to date neither product can truly replace the other. Bottom line: WSS is great product but it is not an engineering tool. It is very weak as a CAD document manager -especially for SOLIDWORKS files.

Just a few quick examples:

  • No toolbox support
  • No configuration support
  • No automatic part numbering for SOLIDWORKS generated parts (mirrored parts and assemblies)
  • No automatic SOLIDWORKS parent/child relationships. WSS knows nothing of assemblies -this means the BOM need to be manually calculated.
  • No automatic parent/child relationships also means finding where a part is used or what an assembly contains is a manual process.
  • With PDMWorks Entperise you can check in and out documents while they are opened in your assemblies. WSS makes this a manual process.
  • WSS does not have an integrated SOLIDWORKS interface.
  • With WSS you work on the files over the network – you lose the speed you get working on your local hard disk as you get with Enterprise.


7 comments on “Can Windows SharePoint be used as your SOLIDWORKS PDM?

  1. I agree with Jeff with the unique requirements around CAD and Document Management. We have partnered with a very innovative company Cadac Group which has a product called Organice. Organice is a SharePoint extension product which provides the much needed features (Document Management and Keywords) required to make CAD work with SharePoint. Hope this was helpful

  2. Thanks for the tip Sunil, I had not seen that integration before. I have seen a few others for CAD packages but so far I haven’t found one that integrates with SolidWorks. I predict the first guy to write a WSS integration for SOLIDWORKS -that can hit a majority of the weaknesses I listed above is going to be a rich man. Hopefully he’ll at least take you and I out for dinner as a thank you for this idea.

  3. Our IT has sharepoint here where I work. Have you heard any recent news of anything that has been developed for a SOLIDWORKS integration?

  4. Hi I’m doing some browsing around and was wondering if you’ve tried SharePoint 2010 yet?

  5. We have been using sharepoint for about 6 years now in production and we are about to migrate to SPS2010. Our current version is SPS2003 and we use it to maintain our cad drawings and have developed a PDM and Automated workflow process for our Engineering Change Request(ECR), Engineering Change Order(ECO)and Engineering Change Notice(ECN). We use Solid Edge and there PDM Insight connect (Free on the Disc). This works very well wth sharepoint 2003 and we expect it to work even better with SPS2010. We are also using a Workflow tool From source code (K2) that allows us to automate the ECR/ECO/ECN process.

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