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  • Writer's pictureAlan

What are the differences between Data Management and PDM?

I recently saw a post in the user community asking " Is there a comparison chart between 'Data Management' & 'TeamCenter'? I would like to know the pros and cons of each piece of software." and I could not find any comparisons, so thought I would try and address the question here.

I think it is unlikely that you would be able to find a comparison chart on this topic, as it is not as simple as comparing features (like you commonly find in CAD comparisons). This is much harder to clarify as you are not only talking about working procedures, but let me try!

Some of the reasons for looking at data management/PDM are:

  • Broken links

  • Duplicate files

  • Can't find files

  • Revisions difficult to manage

  • Difficult to efficiently reuse parts

  • Difficult to collaborate internally and externally

  • Reporting on project/file status

  • Visibility of project status

So let's take a look at some of the features of the two products:

Solid Edge Data Management

  • No database to configure - The Solid Edge Data Management uses standard Windows indexing technology to store information about your Solid Edge files, so there is no database software to install or maintain, so there is no need for IT support.

  • Searching - The index stores both filenames and solid edge file properties, so searches are quick and can include more meaningful searches on key words in titles, comments or keywords. The index also improves the speed and ability of the where used functionality.

  • Unique document numbers - By setting the automatic assignment of the filename based on its generated document number and revision, you can ensure that all new file names are unique.

  • Unique filenames - because of the indexing, it is not possible to have document names in the vault that are the same.

  • Basic lifecycle control (released, in work, in review) - There are tools in Solid Edge and Design Manager that allow you to register a file as in-work, released, obsolete, etc and this can force files to be locked once released, ensuring new revisions are created when edits are required.

  • Basic workflow approval - The data management tools allow for a simple means of email notification process that approval is required.

Teancenter Rapid Start (TcRS) / PDM

  • Installation - The installation of is more complex with server set-up, database installation and various other components required. A good level of IT knowledge is required. This would either be done by a Siemens representative (reseller/Siemens staff) IT department or an IT provider.

  • Pre-configured - TcRS comes with many pre-configured items, such as user roles, workflows, numbering systems, etc, so that the planning the structure of the PDM is minimal.

  • File storage - TcRS uses a secure vault where files can only be accessed through the interfaces, which stops anyone from accidentally moving out or deleting files.

  • File Types - TcRS is able to store most CAD file types (Solid Edge, NX, CATIA, solidworks, etc), as well as other data that may be related to a project - ie reports, spreadsheets, PDF's, DXF's, etc.

  • Searching - Searching in TcRS is more robust and slightly quicker than data management. TcRS now also has access to a shape search that can find files that are a similar shape to the one you draw.

  • Project based - TcRS is geared towards working with data related to whole projects, not just an individual CAD file.

  • Filenames are not used in a PDM as it uses a combination of document number and revision to maintain uniqueness. Each part is recorded as an Item and stored within the item is each of the revisions and associated 2D documents. Related documents, such as text documents, calculations, spreadsheets, etc, can also be stored within the item so that the information is easily found when looking at the item.

  • Lifecycle - A PDM does more than just manage the revisions and workflow state of a file - it is also used to store why the changes were made, by whom, what other parts were changed in the same process, etc.

  • Workflows - These are used to control how your lifecycle is to work. A change control specifies the steps that need to be followed to complete a product change or a part approval could trigger a PDF or DXF to be automatically created.

  • Visibility - TcRS enables other members of the organisation to view CAD files (without having a CAD application on their desktop), its related files and change history, based on the level of access they are granted.

  • Bill of Materials - This can be structured to whoever needs it and can be listed as the latest working (files that are released/in work) - useful for designers - or just the latest released - useful for shop floor, purchasing,etc.

The real question here is to ask "What is it you want to achieve?", which should lead you to be able to make the choice of data management or PDM? If all you want to do is just manage files, at next to no cost (cost being someone's time to set it up), then data management is the way to go, but if you want to manage projects (including non-CAD related data), keep a track record of who is doing what and why, then PDM is your solution.

This is by no means an in-depth look at the two options, but just a high level overview to start you thinking about what you want to achieve and how much money you have to spend, although the flip side to this is how much money and frustration you could save!

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