SOLIDWORKS PDM & Toolbox: How To Set Up For a Multi-User Environment

By Tim Paris on

Enterprise Data Management solutions are used for keeping your design data files organized and under control. Organizing your data in a vault, or central archive, is ideal for automating workflows, finding files and ensuring manufacturing teams have the latest file versions. If you’re a SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional user, there are ways to optimize the performance by using the benefits of the SOLIDWORKS Toolbox.

Using Toolbox in the PDM Vault

Without using the PDM vault, some companies will have the Toolbox stored on a network drive so all users have a central location to pull standard parts. This helps with consistency but leads to network issues as the users are accessing the Toolbox remotely rather than from their own computers. As such, it’s recommended to transfer the Toolbox into the vault. This will help to ensure that all users have access to a consistent set of Toolbox files and that the files be accessed locally. The users should see an improvement with performance.

Requirements to Use the Toolbox in the PDM Vault

Once the Toolbox is transferred into the vault, you will want to make some changes to permissions and settings, both in the Toolbox and in the PDM Administration tool to optimize performance and utilization. To begin, ensure that all users who need access to the Toolbox have the PDM Administration User or Group permission to refresh cache during login for the root level Toolbox folder and subfolders. This will ensure that the users have a local copy of the Toolbox files and that they consistently will have the latest versions of the files.

Another permission for the Power Users or engineers that will be creating new hardware, is the ability to create new files and check files in and out within the Toolbox folder. When transitioning the Toolbox into the PDM vault, it’s important that the transition goes smoothly so that the users will not become discouraged with the new process and new access to the commonly shared hardware. Applying permissions so the users will experience the same level of access to the Toolbox that they had prior to transferring into the vault will help with easing into the transition.

PDM Administrator Tool

In the PDM Administration tool, when configuring the vault settings to utilize a Toolbox, it’s also helpful to restrict the users from pointing their SOLIDWORKS settings to a Toolbox outside the vault. Each user will need to repoint the Toolbox settings in SOLIDWORKS (Tools > Options > System Options > Hole Wizard/Toolbox) to now point to the vault location. Once set, it’s recommended to keep the location to point to the Toolbox in the vault and there is a setting that will restrict users from attempting to use other locations for Toolbox files. Again, consistency and standardization are key.

Toolbox Settings Interface

In the Toolbox settings interface, it’s also recommended to change the settings to create new files rather than to create new configurations. When working in SOLIDWORKS and within the vault, the more configurations a file has, the more performance is impacted. Opening files with many configurations for example, upwards of a hundred configurations, will cause the file to load slowly, perform slowly and take longer to load the information into SOLIDWORKS and in the local vault view due to the number of data card tabs, configuration specific information, etc. To alleviate these performance issues, it’s recommended to create new files in the Toolbox rather than creating new configurations. 

Interested in learning more about PDM? Click on the button below to download our guide, Keeping Your SOLIDWORKS PDM Archive Size Manageable.