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10 Reasons to Use SOLIDWORKS PDM Pro

Friday January 26, 2024 at 8:00am


  1. Automatic Part Numbers
  2. PDM Templates
  3. Workflow Expansion
  4. Enhanced Workflow Automation
  5. Expanded Task Automation
  6. BOM Exporting Tools
  7. Improved Searching Power
  8. Extended Collaboration & Remote Access
  9. Multi-Product Support & Integration
  10. Adaptable API

Whether you’re looking at data management for the first time, or have been using SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard for years, these 10 features will help you decide that PDM Professional is right for you and your business.

This review focuses on the benefits of PDM Professional when compared to PDM Standard, so if you’re just starting out on your data management journey or still deciding if SOLIDWORSK PDM is right for you, then check out these 10 reasons why you need SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard first.

#1 - Automatic Part Numbers

SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional can generate numbers (and therefore filenames) automatically. Incremental numbers can be triggered during file or folder creation, to allow for consistent and unique file naming and/or part number allocation.

Serial Number schemes can be tied to specific filetypes or Templates. These can be simple sequential codes, numbers pulled from a pre-defined list, or created by using the additional Project Numbering add-in developed by Solid Solutions, and configured to provide semi and fully significant numbers.

#2 - PDM Templates

Creating a consistent folder structure across multiple projects can be time-consuming work, prone to human error and generally reserved only for administrators.

Using PDM templates, a pre-defined file structure can be re-created on demand, allowing administrators to put more power in users’ hands to create these folders themselves and save some valuable time.

Folder Templates can also include files, leveraging existing metadata in a location based on pre-configured rules, or by requiring specific input at runtime meaning the folders can be created and populated with files with a single command.

File-based templates can also be created that add files directly into a selected folder, inheriting metadata from the selected location that can be used with Part Numbering rules as required.

#3 - Workflow Expansion

In SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard, only one Workflow is available, and it has a maximum of 10 states. This limit is removed in SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional, where workflows can increase significantly in complexity.

Multiple workflows can be deployed to handle files with different revision schemas, approval processes, or permission requirements.

Links can also be created between workflows to allow files to enter / exit alternative workflows based on changes to the lifecycle.

#4 - Enhanced Workflow Automation and Validation

In addition to the increased number of states, new and powerful transition types can be added to workflows in SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional to allow files to automatically transition based on pre-set conditions, or to add extra levels of validation by requiring two or more users in a parallel approval process.

Discover the power of automatic workflow transitions in this quick explainer.

#5 - Expanded Task Automation

Tasks in SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional are enhanced - allowing over 20 different file types to be exported via a workflow or manual trigger. This includes PDF, DWG & DXF (including flat patterns created directly from a part), STEP and STL files.

It also does not require the user triggering the task to have the exporting application installed, as the task can be outsourced to another machine.

This can allow non-SOLIDWORKS users to trigger tasks which they would not be able to in SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard. Tasks can be initiated on a case-by-case basis through a right-click command.

Plus, with PDM Professional having open API, we can create custom tasks to fit your requirements. Solid Solutions have developed a library of tasks for all sorts of scenarios, for example: converting Visio files to PDF, DWG, or DXF; and creating a book of PDFs for SOLIDWORKS Electrical projects.

#6 - BOM Exporting Tools

One of the most important outputs from a product data management environment is the Bill of Materials or ‘BOM’. This can be manually saved out to CSV from SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard (and Pro), but that has its limitations and must be done explicitly for each file.

By triggering an Export Rule during a workflow transition, SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional can be instructed to export BOM data from an assembly in XML format. In most cases, this can be directly imported into your company’s ERP system.

If the data needs to be in another format for importing or readability, Solid Solutions have developed an add-in which allows a BOM to be generated through a Custom Export task. It can be exported to CSV, TSV, or to an Excel Template which allows for the data to be displayed in a defined, consistent manner.

#7 - Improved Searching Power

The search tools in SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional get even more powerful, with the ability to integrate with Windows Indexing to search file contents, not just the metadata available in the database.

Search favourites allow you to save a search which you will be repeating often, saving you time setting up the search terms each time.

The standalone search tool provides more flexibility to users, allowing them to carry out a search without first loading into the Explorer view, and search across multiple vaults.

As a standalone application, this can be run from a shortcut which can be modified to load a given search, allowing users with less PDM experience to easily use the search functionality.


Have You Tried...

Learn how to customise your notifications in SOLIDWORKS PDM.

It's straightforward to do with a little bit of HTML coding, so you can make your notifications work for you.


#8 - Extended Collaboration & Remote Access

When working across remote offices, nationwide or even globally, connecting to a central server and downloading large assembly files can often be prohibitively slow.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Archive Replication allows files to be synchronised to a remote server overnight, whilst automatically transferring any new versions created during the day on demand .

SOLIDWORKS PDM Database Replication (requires SQL Enterprise at each location) can also be used to speed up database operations in remote sites with high latency connections back to the Primary site.

Using SOLIDWORKS PDM Web 2.0, access to the vault through an internet browser, without the need for an installation of PDM is possible.

This works both on desktop (Windows, iOS or Linux) and mobile devices, and provides most functionality including previewing files, checking files in and out, viewing and modifying metadata.

Documents can even be downloaded and uploaded allowing them to be modified locally.

#9 - Multi-Product Support & Integration

SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional opens up integration with many other SOLIDWORKS products such as SOLIDWORKS Electrical and SOLIDWORKS Composer, as well as third-party products such as SWOOD and Autodesk products.

The expanded functionality is delivered via a combination of an add-in and a File Format plugin to seamlessly interact with PDM, where using these in conjunction with PDM Standard would otherwise require manual management.

Some Solid Solutions productivity tools such as SolidQ also offer PDM integration which only works with SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional.

Over 250 file formats can be previewed with the built-in file viewer, and tasks can be used to export PDFs from other file types including DWG and office documents.

#10 - Adaptable API

SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional includes a simple automation tool called Dispatch, but also allows software developers to extend the capabilities of PDM further through the use of API and custom add-ins.

At Solid Solutions, we have a dedicated team specialising in developing and maintaining these add-ins.

We can provide add-ins for any number of issues, some of them are tried and tested (such as the advanced number add-in and the BoM export tool mentioned previously), but bespoke tools can be created if an issue isn’t covered by an existing solution.

For more details on some of the available customisation, visit our SOLIDWORKS PDM Customisation page.

Take the Next Steps...

Master data management with our CPD-accredited SOLIDWORKS PDM training courses. Our friendly and expert Trainers have first-hand experience of implementing and using SOLIDWORKS PDM in industry and are ready to help you get started, either online or in a classroom near you.

Why not take a deeper dive into SOLIDWORKS PDM and learn how PDM can work for you and your business?

Or get in touch with us directly to discuss your specific solutions today on 01 297 4440.

As part of the TriMech Group, we can not only implement SOLIDWORKS PDM, but support you and your users throughout your design journey with our expert Technical Support team, helping to give you a smooth experience and keep your projects on track.

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