SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 343 - Toolbox, EPDM Friend or Foe?

Toolbox, EPDM Friend or Foe?:

This podcast covers the various ways of integrating SolidWorks Toolbox and Enterprise PDM in order to properly manage those non-revisioned parts created by this hardware generation tool. Topics covered:

- Toolbox options for single and multiple users

- Toolbox part generation options

- Supported methods for integrating Toolbox (full & partial)

- A partial method using EPDM's Dispatch and Toolbox copy parts mode

- Pros and Cons of all methods

SolidWorks Toolbox is one of those add-ins to SolidWorks that users want to use for the idea of it but end up running into issues properly implementing when working with teams of users.  This post is not focused so much of Toolbox's functionality or lack there of but more on how it can be integrated with SolidWorks Enterprise PDM.

Since 2010, EPDM has had integrated support for Toolbox to be fully managed inside the vault, allowing users to share a single Toolbox dataset with the option of replicating it to all sites using EPDM.  Now in a "day forward" approach this sounds great but let's face it, most companies that are moving to EPDM do not have a "day forward" business and want to put their data into EPDM and continue the move forward.  Depending on how Toolbox is currently deployed can have a major impact on the easy on integration.

The one important thing to remember is if you have a group using Toolbox, the first step is to get everyone using the same Toolbox folder and not everyone using their own Toolbox dataset.  This is typically the hardest part since everyone is using their own and selecting which one is going to be the new seed Toolbox is hard.  There is no way to just merge them so someone will win and the rest lose.

Enterprise PDM supports a couple of ways to use Toolbox effectively and one is not supported officially but works OK for the most part so I will share that with you as well. ~Lou

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