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Introducing the New SOLIDWORKS PDM 2020: Performance, Speed, Control

Mike DeKoning, TPM Technical Solutions Consultant

The 2020 edition of SOLIDWORKS PDM brings some great enhancements that will ensure greater productivity for your team. Let’s look at three areas: Performance, Speed, and Control.

Enhanced Performance

  • Navigating through folders has been significantly improved by the SOLIDWORKS team in PDM 2020 by loading the data asynchronously in the background. With past versions, when you entered a folder, the system needed to load the entire file list before you could proceed. Now, the file list begins to appear before all the files are listed and this enables you to navigate to other folders if desired instead of having to wait. This technique is also present in the

BOM, Where Used, and Contains tabs allowing you to rapidly toggle between them without delay (Fig. 1). Additionally, the PDM add-in, in SOLIDWORKS itself also uses asynchronous data loading to provide this same performance enhancement inside SOLIDWORKS as well. This is great news for multi-site PDM installations where network latency can affect your database connection.

  • Figure 1

Figure 1 – Switching between tabs

  • Web2 becomes more powerful in this release with the addition of History and Bill of Materials tabs (Fig. 2). Plus, the new “Download with References” method will list the files to be downloaded along with options to include drawing and simulation files.
  • Figure 2

Figure 2 – Web2 Bill of Materials


Increased Speed for Searches

  • A new Quick Search toolbar enables you to quickly find the files you’re searching for (Fig 3). Use CTRL-F to launch the search. You can now use operators such as AND (&), OR (|), NOT (!) to finetune your search (your Search cards can be updated to use these operators as well.

An undocumented tip is to start your entry with a colon (:) to search in multiple variables. For example, entering :bracket & doc would find files with a description including the word bracket and a document number including the word doc.

Options for where in the vault and which versions to search are included. Previously used entries are available to select rather than having to re-enter them. Easily limit or expand the scope of the vault area to search. Plus, you can now reorder the columns in the search result.

Figure 3

Figure 3 – Quick Search

  • With Quick Search comes a new Search icon and an added Log out icon in the toolbar as well as a new function to expand or collapse the tabs section to allow you to view more information about the selected file (fig. 4).
  • Figure 4

Figure 4 – New icons


Greater Control

  • Ensure that the correct files are moving through a workflow using the Child Reference State condition in PDM 2020. Using this option will prevent files from being transitioned unless all the children are moving to, or are already in, the destination state. For example, only allow a drawing to be Released if the related parts and assemblies are Released (Fig 5). Or prevent a file from being Released if it has references in an Obsolete state.
  • Figure 5

Figure 5 – Child Reference State condition

  • Also, managing the SOLIDWORKS Toolbox in the vault is now simplified by using the option to install the Toolbox add-in without loading the Toolbox data on the local machine. You no longer have to worry that users will use Toolbox components from outside the vault. Note that this option is available only for an Admin image installation (Fig. 6).
  • Figure 6

Figure 6 – Install Toolbox with no data