How to Choose the Right SOLIDWORKS PDM Software Package

By Tony Bucchino on

TriMech carries two solutions to fit your Data Management need. Our products include SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard, and SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. While both manage your SOLIDWORKS design files, supporting documents and product development process, there are several things that may push you into one solution over the other.

Manage Non-CAD Data Easily

Essential product data extends beyond mechanical CAD files and SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional enables efficient management of all design related information.

  • Easily produce customized Bills of Materials (BOMs) for individual departments.
  • Manage, view and print document from more than 250 file types including major CAD formats, Microsoft Office files, images, and animations.
  • Automatically create neutral files, such as PDFs, eDrawings, or STEP
  • Take advantage of the many included integrations to popular CAD applications, SOLIDWORKS Electrical, SOLIDWORKS Inspection, SOLIDWORKS Visualize and Microsoft Office.

SOLIDWORKS Users and Database Size

One of the easiest ways to narrow down a PDM package is to look at the number of users using SOLIDWORKS as well as the number of users that will be in contributing and viewing files inside of your vault. Once the user group gets above the 6-8 range on concurrent users in the vault, SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard will start to slow down and create a bottleneck on the data being transferred to and from the vault. This happens because PDM Standard runs on SQL Express, while PDM Professional runs on a full seat of SQL Standard. On top of the speed bottleneck there is a maximum database size set to SQL Express (see below)





Maximum compute capacity used by a single instance – SQL Server Database Engine 4 sockets or 24 cores 1 socket or 4 cores
Maximum relational database size 524 PB (524000000 GB) 10 GB

Back it up! How to Properly Backup your SOLIDWORKS PDM >>


If you are looking to pull or push information to and from your ERP/MRP to your PDM environment, this can be done in PDM Professional. Things like Part Numbers, BOM information, Supplier, and Client Lists can be pulled from your ERP/MRP system and populated to PDM data cards and BOM’s. Any data from the PDM side can be pushed to the ERP/MRP, including things like Part Numbers, BOM information, and Custom Properties information. This will allow one system to drive the data that you need, not only on your ERP/MRP system but inside of your PDM vault as well. The real crown jewel of PDM, however, is its API: a rich programming library that allows companies to customize at will and integrate PDM with their business systems, creating seamless data transmission and removing any need for double data entry within an enterprise. If the API doesn’t contain the tools necessary, many times data can be read from SQL database directly. As a result, the possibilities are endless for integrations with other systems, whether passing single fields of data found in PDM data cards to passing entire PDM BOMs to MRP and ERP systems. Even linking PDM to the newer cloud based business and PLM systems is possible with via web services.

Whats in Those Documents_ SOLIDWORKS Data Management


The Web2 client is a Web client that lets users connect to a SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional vault from most devices with an internet browser. Web2 client is beneficial for external and internal users who are not connected to their office network or have an unsupported operating system.

The Web license comes with each CAD Editor, Contributor, or PSL license. You can dynamically preview SOLIDWORKS files The preview quality for other common file types is more like viewing the file in its native application.

Web2 client lets users connect to a SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional vault from a mobile digital device such as an iPhone. This lets users browse folders, view file information and thumbnails, search, and change file states.

Some advantages of Web2 client:

  • Viewing capabilities for many file types such as PDF, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Browser independence.
  • No client installation requirements.
  • Transition action support such as setting revision variables.
  • Quick searching and viewing of vault data.
  • A mobile version for small handheld devices like smartphones.
  • The ability to preview multiple file types.
  • Thumbnail previews of SOLIDWORKS files when accessed via the mobile version.
  • The ability to open SOLIDWORKS files with the eDrawings application for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
  • Contains and Where Used information.
  • State change capabilities.
  • Editing capabilities.

Multiple Workflows, More Workflow States, and Serial Number Creation

If you need multiple workflows, more than 10 workflow states or automatic serial number creation, moving to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional will get you there.

Having multiple workflows for different file types, different groups or different ECO processes may be important to your company and moving to PDM Professional will give you just that. PDM Standard offers one workflow while PDM Professional offers multiple workflows. Also working with multiple workflow states and transitions may be a priority as well. PDM Standard is restricted to ten workflow states while PDM Professional has unlimited workflow states and transitions. You are also able to use the Serial Number generator for renaming files or adding part number information for your vault data

Every business is different and PDM can be complicated to setup as a result, but the rewards, both with regards to time and money, can be significant. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what these solutions can do, which is why getting a demo of the software and understanding the requirements is so important. TriMech has an entire team dedicated to professional implementation services that you can reach out to with any questions about specifics and would be more than happy to show you around these products.

Want to learn more about PDM and see how it works? Contact us to request a demo!