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Configuring EPDM to allow for a 'linked' PDF to follow it's Drawing through the Workflow.

Friday January 10, 2014 at 12:03pm
If you are using SOLIDWORKS EnterprisePDM to manage your SOLIDWORKS Data it is likely you have implemented the 'Convert' Task to automate the generation of PDF, IGES, DXF etc. as part of your Workflow. I was reviewing a post on the SOLIDWORKS forums recently where somebody was asking how they could make sure that if they 'archived' or 'obsoleted' a Drawing that they could make sure that the associated PDF also changed State and likewise dropped from the general view of the average User. 
There are actually two things that need to be done to get this working. The first may be more obvious than the second so we will get that out of the way quickly. If your PDF (etc.) enters a different Workflow to the CAD file it is linked to then you may need to modify BOTH workflows so that there is a State and (more importantly) and Transition to that State using the same name and Workflow permissions. In my example I have added a State called 'Obsolete' to both Workflows and a Transition to that State from the Approved CAD Workflow State and 'default' PDF Workflow State
Fig A: Linked Workflow Transitions
PDF and CAD workflow with common Transition name
Now we get to the interesting part...
First let us observe the behaviour of a Drawing when you push the Part it contains through a Transition. The Drawing is the Parent in this relationship as we see when looking at the Where Used Tab for a Part and the Contains Tab for a Drawing.
Fig B: Drawing - Drawing showing on Contains for an Assembly
Drawing 'contains' the Assembly referenced within it
This means that if we select the Assembly / Part referenced by the Drawing and push it through a Workflow Transition then the Drawing is available for selection in the Transition References Dialog Box.
Fig C: Part & Drawing Reference
Drawing Node displayed in Transition for Part
NOTE: This behaviour is different to a Part / Assembly reference. Selecting a Part to Transition DOES NOT show the Assemblies it is used in as part of the dialog box.
This behaviour is based on a flag that has been automatically set in the EPDM Administration Tool called 'Drawing Node'. For SOLIDWORKS Parts and Assemblies, SOLIDWORKS Drawings and PDF has been defined as a potential 'Drawing Node' link so will display as an option in a Transition Dialog. We also see Drawing Node items in the Contains Tab for a Part / Assembly when we have the option 'Do Not Show Configurations' enabled.
Fig D: Drawing Contains with Drawing Node
Drawing Node display within Contains Tab for Assembly
Therefore in order to have the PDF available when we transition the Drawing it needs to be defined as a Drawing Node for the Drawing.
If we open the Administration Tool and expand FileTypes we can locate and DoubleClick slddrw. In here we can add (separated by a comma) and file extensions that you may have a Drawing attached to via the Convert Task (or manually by 'Paste As Reference'). In this case I have added pdf, dxf and dwg.
Fig E:  File Type properties for slddrw
Once this has been done and we select the Drawing to Change it's State we can now see the child Part and Parent PDF's in the dialog box.
Fig F: Drawing File with PDF References
This process could easily be adapted to add 'Drawing Nodes' for PDF, STEP, IGES, STL, DXF etc for Drawings and 3D CAD files to ensure that all automatically generated files from the Convert Task can be managed as the linked SOLIDWORKS file changes state through the Workflow. 
I hope you found this article of interest.

Thanks for stopping by. For more information about EnterprisePDM be sure to visit the product pages.

by Wayne Marshall
Customer Support Manager

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