Importing Files with Existing Revisions into an EPDM Vault

Manual Revisions

When working with SOLIDWORKS files outside of any PDM system, it is very common to want to manage the revisions of your files by manually setting the custom property values. You would simply define a “Property Name,” (most commonly “Revision” or “Rev”) and then set the value:

Excel sheet

With these values set, you could then push these mappings onto a drawing to display the revision and maintain your production system. However, the problem with this scenario is that it requires a lot of discipline and upkeep to ensure that everything is at the revision level it should be. As a result, it is common to invest in a PDM system (especially EPDM) to have the revisions automatically managed.


Importing Files with Manually Set Revisions into an EPDM Vault

However, when importing SOLIDWORKS files into EPDM, the database needs to be taken into consideration as EPDM does not automatically sync the custom property values to the database unless you build in the logic to do so. For instance, if you just added legacy files with existing revisions to your normal production workflow, EPDM would treat them as any new file, ignore any manually set revision, and then when it came time to stamp the revision, it would simply start at the beginning.

Work flow chart

In order to ensure the revisions on the files being imported to the vault get synced up properly, it is first necessary to understand how revisions are handled in EPDM. There is a set “database” revision that gets incremented automatically when progressing through any workflow and this gets synced up with the data card revision.

Data card revision example

However, when importing files with existing revisions, a different approach needs to be taken. We ideally want to use the EPDM variable mappings to pull in the custom property value from the file, and then tell the database to match the value in the data card. This way, when the files are put into a normal production workflow, they should increment normally.

The first step in the process is finding out how many property names for the revision variable you have (as it could be “Revision, Rev., rev,… etc”) and build your attribute mappings in your Revision variable accordingly:

Edit variable

Creating these mappings will pull the value from the custom property into the data card. However, we simply cannot take the file and place it into a normal production workflow. We must build what is known as an “Import workflow.” The purpose of this workflow is to provide a “staging” area to sync the data card revisions with the database revisions.

Flow steps

In the above example, there is an initial state, and then several potential automatic transitions, for each case where files can have an “A, B, or C” revision. The workflow will ideally sync the custom property revision to the database and then automatically send it to the “production” workflow by the use of a workflow link.

Each branch has a condition which only allows files to go through its transition if it contains the appropriate value. (NOTE: be sure to use Text Equal to instead of Text Contains when you have revisions like AA so that AA files do not go through an A transition instead of an AA transition) See conditions filter below:


Also, each state will have a different “increment by” count which tells the database what revision EPDM should regard that file as:


At this point, the database revision for the file should be set to match the original custom property. This same concept can be applied to any revision scheme, and is not limited to just a simple Alpha scheme. One thing to be aware of is that building this process requires a good amount of research in examining how the revision scheme in your company progresses, and how your scheme is currently being managed if you are just beginning to migrate files into your vault. However, after applying this procedure, the process of getting your files into the vault at the correct revision is much easier and more efficient.


SOLIDWORKS PDM: Managing Legacy Data YouTube Video


Automated Data Cleansing and Import

The procedure described above is well suited for migration scenarios involving a minimal amount of data that is well organized and already in line with company standards and processes. However, some migration scenarios are more complex and require an automated, bulk approach to clean and standardize the data before importing into EPDM. Various factors over the years may have contributed to the need for data cleansing including limited or poor data management practices, limited enforcement of company standards and procedures, non-centralized data storage, changing company standards and processes, acquisitions of other companies and their datasets as well as a host of other reasons. If there is value in moving your legacy or other data sets into EPDM, then now is a good time to consider doing it the right way by correcting the data management challenges, mistakes and oversights of the past. This will ensure that you’re able to leverage the full capabilities and value that your data management system has to offer. Below are a few examples of some common data migration challenges that can be easily corrected by investing in an automated solution with a data migration partner:

  • Large number of files
  • Data sets stored in multiple locations such as local workstations, servers or network drives
  • Multiple data sets with differing standards (properties, filenames, etc.)
  • Conforming to new or changing standards and processes for data management
  • Short timeline for completing the data migration
  • Insufficient internal resources to support the migration effort
  • Resolving duplicate filenames
  • Resolving missing references
  • Renaming or standardizing filenames/part numbers
  • Cleaning or manipulation of custom properties
  • Moving descriptive information from filenames into searchable properties (revision, description, etc.)
  • Cleaning or standardizing drawing title block information or drawing formats
  • Syncing and/or correcting discrepancies with revisions
  • Incorporating properties or other metadata from external databases (PDM, PLM, ERP, etc.) or data sources (Excel, XML, CSV, etc.)

Please contact your local Hawk Ridge Account Manager for more information on the data migration solutions and services that we offer.


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