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PDM Success Story: SWG Production

The similarity to Productstream Professional is remarkable.

Andrej Geiger

Design engineer and PDM administrator

CAD drawing

The SWG Schraubenwerk Gaisbach GmbH –
Production division

High-quality fasteners and fastening technology. This is SWG Production. Based in the climatic health resort of Waldenburg in the north-east of Baden-Württemberg, the company has stood for innovative and high-quality screws for major customers for decades.
The product range includes wood construction screws, screws for fastening metal and plastics, as well as assembly screws, made of steel and stainless steel in diameters from 3 mm to 14 mm and lengths of up to 1.5 m. In addition to the European approval ETA, SWG Produktion also has special approvals for wood construction screws in the USA (ICC) and Canada (CCMC).

And if you think of Würth when you think of screws, you are already on the track of SWG production: Because the foundation stone of the company was laid in 1958 by Prof. Dr. h. c. Reinhold Würth. Its first production facility contributes to the success of the entire Group with more than 50 years of experience in screw manufacturing, material and energy efficiency, a highly qualified workforce and forward-looking management.
Thanks to the in-house engineering office “SWG Engineering”, SWG Produktion can also offer the customer extensive know-how in the field of dimensioning, planning and consulting in engineering timber construction.

 

Product data management for screws.
For over 10 years with PSP

For more than 10 years, SWG Produktion trusted the product data management (PDM) system Autodesk Productstream Professional (PSP), whose support was discontinued back in October 2017.
One year later, the company began actively searching for a new PDM system to manage the current 4,700 articles and 22,000 SolidWorks files. For several years now, Waldenburger has been designing its products and machine parts mainly in 3D. In addition, there are Outlook, PDF and Excel documents that contain various product configurations or even customer contacts.

 

Requirements for the new PDM system

About 1 year after the discontinuation of PSP support, design and project management took a closer look at a total of 3 PDM solutions.
Andrej Geiger, design engineer and PDM administrator at SWG Produktion: “The basic idea was that the program should be structured similar to Productstream Professional. GAIN Software or GAIN Collaboration could already convince here in the first run-through in a web meeting. After another presentation at our company, the decision was no longer difficult because the similarity to PSP is remarkable.”

 

Intensive test and implementation

At the Waldenburg plant, it was decided at short notice to conduct a large-scale test phase.
Shortly after, GAIN Software installed its PDM system, followed by two days of training for CAD users. So, the designers put GAIN Collaboration through its paces. From editing documents and creating articles to checking metadata transferred from PSP to GAIN Collaboration.

One month later, the final changeover from PSP to GAIN Collaboration took place. PSP was still active some time after that, but was only used for sifting information. In case you needed to look something up or check something out.

Andrej Geiger: “Sure, with a change after so many years you have to rethink in some places. However, after a training period of 4 – 6 weeks our colleagues got used to the slightly different way of working with GAIN Collaboration. Compared to other products the effort to get used to GAIN Collaboration seemed to be the least. The data we wanted was migrated from AutoCAD and SolidWorks to GAIN Collaboration. Without any loss of quality. All metadata was taken over and partly even supplemented. For example, by adding entries of the change lists.”

 

Product data management for all

Many departments at SWG Produktion now use the PDM services of GAIN Collaboration:
The design department works with GAIN Collaboration Professional, the quality assurance department uses the GAIN Collaboration Viewer and the product management department uses the GAIN Collaboration Office variant, for example to look up details of a drawing or to integrate approvals.
“We also use the JobServer when we order a tool that requires a vector file. It creates all the required neutral formats in one go,” says Andrej Geiger.

 

Adopted: The article-based search

For years, designers were used to searching for linked documents, drawings of a tool or even test reports in PSP via the articles. In addition, PSP was still used to working with views – special views of documents or links. Standing on an article, one saw only the most recent, released documents. A view that is now also available in GAIN Collaboration.
Andrej Geiger: “We almost always search for drawing numbers that are assigned to an article by us. The article then contains drawings and 3D models or 3D assemblies, which we then use to find the drawings or 3D models. The document itself gets an ENG number in GAIN Collaboration – as it used to be in PSP. In doing so, the number generator in GAIN Collaboration was set to ensure that our documents were numbered without gaps.”

Using a special function developed by GAIN Software, screw professionals can now display all drawings and models in a new search by right-clicking on an article. Simultaneously, this special function has been standardized in GAIN Collaboration.

 

Coupled: The central View System

Even in the PSP days, the company used a view solution specially programmed for SWG Produktion. Employees were thus able to view all documents for a specific drawing number.
With a few adjustments, the central viewer could be adapted to the new PDM system GAIN Collaboration. In addition, the PDF of SolidWorks drawings automatically generated by GAIN Collaboration is now available to production and other departments via this channel.

 

Practical introduction

An introduction to GAIN Collaboration could be carried out immediately after the implementation. Andrej Geiger: “At the time of the changeover, the PSP database as it existed was transferred to GAIN Collaboration. This then looked good, and we were able to try out many things. On this basis, we then conducted a 2-day training. We tested the program with all its functions. I also received administrator training. Personally, I found it easy to switch from PSP to GAIN Collaboration.”

 

After 1 year of working with GAIN Collaboration …

Concerning processes, the employees of SWG Produktion did not have to get used to anything new. In general, SWG Produktion is very satisfied.
Andrej Geiger: “It is pleasant that everyone can now design their own interface in the PDM system as they wish. So, what should be displayed where. Be it the display of the documents or the control panel. Also, the window drawing number and the title are now movable. With PSP, you weren’t as flexible at this point.
Performance with GAIN Collaboration has also improved noticeably. The system only ever makes a copy of the requested drawing. It is good to know that nothing undesirable can be changed in the original.

And if we have any customization needs, we can do a lot of it ourselves or turn to GAIN Software, who are always prompt, friendly, and service-minded. We’re pleased all around.”