More than 15,000 people have signed up for Workbench since we launched it in June. We’ve heard a lot of stories from people who are using Workbench to share CAD with vendors, with customers and clients, and with non-CAD users in their organization. For many engineers, Workbench has made it easy to get partners involved in the design process. Today we’re happy to announce that we’re building on this success by adding a broad array of file management features to Workbench to make it easier to keep your design team on the same page.
Why CAD file management is important
It’s hard for more than one engineer to work on a part or assembly at the same time. Historically companies have purchased expensive PDM or PLM systems to solve this problem. But these systems have two significant weaknesses:
Cost of ownership - PDM and PLM systems are expensive, with high upfront license fees as well as maintenance and ongoing IT costs that put them out of reach of many mid-size companies.
Lack of support for collaboration - Traditional file management tools don’t match the way engineers work today- constantly sharing CAD files with partners inside and outside the company, many of whom don’t have CAD systems.
As a result, PDM and PLM solutions are the wrong answer for many companies - especially mid-size companies - which is why more than 60% of engineers don’t use one. We discussed the problems with these solutions in a previous blog post.
Introducing Collaborative Product Development (CPD)
But that leaves more than 60% of companies without a way to manage files. We’re going to try to fix that.
Today we’re introducing Workbench as a new breed of Collaborative Product Development solution that enables users to manage, share and view engineering data. In addition to the existing CAD model viewing and sharing tools, we’ve added file management capabilities such as:
Desktop sync - Link folders from your desktop to any cloud-based Workbench project, but keep control of when files are synced.
File locking - Working on a file? Lock it with one-click to let others know not to modify it.
Visual version comparison - Overlay two versions of a model to see what changed.
Dependency tracking - When you change a file, we’ll let you know if other files are affected.
Partner Spaces - Easily release and track specific versions with your manufacturers, clients or partners.
Get started with Workbench in under 3 minutes
As a Workbench user you can get started in less than 3 minutes (see the video above) by simply linking your desktop files to a Workbench project. Because Workbench is a cloud-based solution, there’s no need to set up or maintain a server, and no need for ongoing IT support.
Release to partners when you’re ready
Once you’re ready to share the file with an external partner, Partner Spaces make it easy to release that particular version of the file to specific external partners. This ensures that your teammates and your partners are always working on the right file version and never get in each other’s way.
Try Workbench for free
We’re releasing these features today in beta form and we’ll be adding additional capabilities over the next several months. File management features will be free to all users during the beta period. Once the features are officially released in January, they will only be available to users on paid plans (such as our $25 per user per month Pro plan).
Our goal is for Workbench to be the Collaborative Product Development system that engineers love. We hope you agree!
I wouldn't want to use any other file management system but this....it looks like it was designed by a mechanical engineer for a mechanical engineer - Electronics Manufacturer
That is the sexiest thing I have ever seen in any PLM system - Manufacturer
This is definitely better than any PDM system that Solidworks has come out with - Engineering Services Company