When you are ready to upgrade SolidWorks and Enterprise PDM 2011, the number one thing that comes to mind for most users is that when SolidWorks 2010 and prior version files are opened in SolidWorks 2011, SolidWorks and Enterprise PDM think that some change has occurred to the file. This is indeed the case, as SolidWorks 2011 has a different file format that 2010 and previous versions. SolidWorks re-engineers the file format for each release to extract the most possible performance from the available feature set at the time. When you open an older file in a newer version of SolidWorks, the user is warned that the file, once saved will be converted to SolidWorks 2011 format. Once it is converted, it will gain the performance characteristics that the new version of SolidWorks imposes. The only wrinkle in this is that a PDM system like Workgroup or Enterprise PDM thinks that these files are now new and deserve a revision or version change.
There is good news however. SolidWorks Professional, Workgroup PDM and Enterprise PDM offer tools to convert your files to the latest file format. For basic SolidWorks and companies that use Workgroup PDM, open the SolidWorks Task Scheduler.
To awaken the SolidWorks task scheduler, you need SolidWorks Professional or Premium. Then navigate to the SolidWorks Start Menu under SolidWorks Tools… and open SolidWorks Task Scheduler. Here there is a wealth of tools that are meant for batch operations and I could create a blog post for each one of these, but right now we will focus on the file conversion tasks. If you do not use SolidWorks Workgroup or Enterprise PDM, simply choose the Convert SolidWorks files option. You have the choice of pointing it to a folder where you have SolidWorks files. You may choose to convert your entire drive worth of SolidWorks files or choose certain folders to convert. If you have a lot of files to convert, I recommend using the “Network Monitor.” This will turn all the SolidWorks computers in your company into participants in a file conversion processing farm. Once computer acts as a Coordinator computer and the others work as nodes. You need to go to all the “node” computers and elect to become part of the processing pool, so no worries of having your computer commandeered.
If you use Workgroup PDM, there is an option in the Task Scheduler to convert files in a Workgroup Vault. You need to login as a user with Admin rights for Workgroup PDM, and then choose to convert the whole Vault or just certain projects within the Vault. You can then decide whether you want to convert all revisions of the files or just the latest revision. This is dependent upon you use of the Vault and the “As Built” or Use Latest Revisions”. If you use “As Built”, the only safe thing to do is to convert all revisions, and if you only use “Latest Revisions” when checking out a file, then you only need to convert the latest revisions. Companies that use the “As Built” method to manage files in Workgroup PDM are generally concerned with configuration management, meaning, the revision of the assembly and parts that were shipped to a certain customer at a certain time., where as a product development firm generally is always going with the latest revisions. Please let me know about your thoughts are on this by commenting below! One caveat for converting Workgroup PDM files is that you cannot use the Network Monitor to distribute the load of the task.
For SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, there is a separate tool that has been made available to convert SolidWorks files. This is an installable program that is found with the lastest version of media that you have for SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. If you downloaded it, it will be under the SupportFile Version UpgradeFile Version Upgrade.exe. Install this package and you will have a program in your Start Menu. The steps are fairly straightforward for running this and you can follow along with the screenshots that I have below.
Please let me know what you think of these tools by commenting here on the blog. If you are in the Northeastern United States, CAPINC would love to come to your company and provide upgrade assistance services for you. I look forward to any questions that you may have and please add your comments here!