The product development team at Paul Hammerstrom Design needed a better way to manage PTC Creo data, but traditional PDM was too expensive. They also wanted an easy way to share externally, but low cost file sharing options couldn't cope with their complex assemblies.
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What services does Paul Hammerstrom Design offer?
Paul: We are a Mechanical Engineering consulting firm. We offer 3D CAD modeling, Finite Element Analysis, CFD, 2d Drafting, Rendering and general engineering design services. We currently design things like automotive suspension, mountain bike suspension, high end scooters, vacuum chamber components, and bicycle racks.
What Creo file management problems were you looking to solve?
My team is spread out across the US. We were looking to have a common vault for everyone to access and have the ability to lock files- prevent users from overwriting each other's work. We also wanted an easy way to share files with clients.
What was your method of managing and sharing files before Workbench?
We were using a system of online folders. When someone needed to work on a file, it would get moved from the in process folder to the individual engineer's folder. Then when the work was done it was moved back to the in process folder. When files were released to the client, they would be put into a released folder and a link was sent for the client to download the files.
Did that system work for you?
It worked well but became cumbersome, especially when assemblies were involved. Also, some of our clients didn’t have a CAD system so we had no way for them to visualize files. Keeping clients in the loop during the design process was requiring too many screen-sharing sessions.
You ended up implementing Workbench. What were the results?
Better version control has sped up design iterations. Versioning coupled with the file comparison has given us the ability to quickly look at the changes that were made from one version to the next, which can be a lifesaver if we have to quickly address problems. Having the ability to lock files is reducing the time it takes to make changes to parts and assemblies. We no longer have to continuously check that all files are up-to-date.
The collaboration process is also an order of magnitude better. If I have to review something I can just add notes and sketches right in Workbench using the comments area. This minimizes my time in screen-sharing sessions. By utilizing partner spaces the clients are in a much better position to give feedback during the design process. This has created much closer relationships with them.
Who do you think could benefit from a solution like this?
I would definitely recommend Workbench to my peers. Companies could benefit greatly from the decreased time it takes to look at changes made to parts. It also greatly improves communication between team members and customers.
I have looked at and worked with a lot of PDM solutions over the past 13 years. When I started my own company a couple years ago, I knew that having a PDM system would allow me to have a leg up on the competition. I simply couldn't afford it though- not to mention hiring someone to manage the software and hardware required. I also tried many of the lower cost solutions out there, but nothing is even close to the cost/benefit ratio of Workbench.
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