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PDM Success Story: promark automation

According to PSP, GAIN Collaboration meets all expectations.

Patrick Störmer

Design engineer and PDM system administrator, promark automation

PDM Marking technology

Product data management for a characterizing company

Whenever reliable marking of metals, plastics or other materials is required, promark automation is an experienced partner. The team of experts from Eigeltingen on Lake Constance already had extensive experience in marking and printing technology before it was founded 7 years ago. Today promark automation realizes markings via laser, ink jet printer and other methods. The marking technology is used as a stand-alone solution or integrated directly into production machines in the automotive, extrusion, medical or aerospace sectors.


Switch from Productstream Professional to the PSP successor GAIN Collaboration

Due to the upcoming discontinuation of Autodesk Productstream Professional (PSP), promark automation had been looking for an adequate PSP successor for quite some time.
“The more similar and functional the new PDM system is to PSP, the better,” recalls Patrick Störmer, design engineer and PDM system administrator. “That’s when GAIN Collaboration, with its interface very similar to PSP, caught our eye right away.”

Störmer: “The actual PDM introduction only took three or four days. Before the changeover, we migrated all Inventor data to the Inventor version R2015 that we use, i.e. we updated it.
That was a perfect control for us. On the one hand, this allowed us to check the quality of our data. On the other hand, this gave us the best conditions for transferring the data to the new PDM system without errors or losses.

The changeover to the PSP successor took place in two steps. The first step was to transfer the metadata from the PSP database to GAIN Collaboration. And without any loss. The second step was the transfer of our actual documents, such as the Inventor data into the archive directory of GAIN Collaboration.

These migration steps ran through overnight and the next morning all data was available in GAIN Collaboration. Without exception, all data were taken over in their original quality. We are very satisfied with the result. Especially since everything was handled in such a short time,” says Störmer.


PDM management of CAD, MS Office documents and neutral data

A marking machine from promark automation as a stand-alone solution consists of a basic assembly with an average of 200 – 300 parts. These are composed of a frame and – depending on the application – various purchased parts in step format. In addition, there are production parts such as bent sheet metal parts or milled parts.
Currently, about 40,000 documents are stored machine-related with GAIN Collaboration – primarily Autodesk Inventor and Step formats.

“Since we worked with Autodesk Productstream Easy before GAIN Collaboration, managing MS Office documents was not possible until now. Now we can also gradually store MS Office data on the projects. For example, data sheets in PDF or calculations in Excel format,” explains Störmer.


Current CAD workstations and prospects for the future

Currently, two CAD workstations are equipped with GAIN Collaboration Professional. Patrick Störmer: “After a longer test phase, we want to equip various office workstations in sales and administration with GAIN Collaboration Office. Just in case you want to look something up. Moreover, everyone could then use the search and filing functions of GAIN Collaboration.”

To be able to profit from complete bills of materials, the Eigeltinger plan to equip two existing E-Plan workstations with corresponding interfaces. “Then, at the end of the day, we can generate a complete parts list at the push of a button. And then simply order the required electrical and mechanical parts efficiently. The all-round happy solution, so to speak,” smiles Störmer.


Simple processes with suppliers

Up to now GAIN Collaboration has only been used internally. Suppliers are currently not yet granted access to the PDM system. Until this happens, promark automation likes to use one or the other job server function of GAIN Collaboration. For example, the automatic creation of PDF files for suppliers. Störmer: “For binding order templates, we simply let GAIN Collaboration export parts lists to MS Excel. And for repeat orders or spare parts, GAIN Collaboration quickly and conveniently lists the corresponding part numbers for us.”


Highly appreciated: PDM handling and operation

The marking professionals find the operation of the new PDM system very intuitive and clear:
Störmer: “You really find your way around GAIN Collaboration rapidly. Quasi intuitively. Our familiarization time was also very short. Files can be easily dragged and dropped directly into GAIN Collaboration. And then there are the numerous, flexible configuration options: You can change something on the fly yourself. That’s very practical,” says Störmer. “I also really appreciate the data screens, which I can easily customize myself. For example, GAIN Collaboration only shows me the information I really need. Not to forget: The search function. It’s very easy to use and helps us find the right components quickly.”
Thanks to the administrator training, Patrick Störmer was able to make some personal optimizations to his search mask himself without further ado.


Familiar and faster: The Inventor interface

“The PDM Inventor interface is really cool,” Störmer says. “And since you work locally, it’s also much faster than we were used to. In the interface, we find the same tools that we had in PSP. For example, for replacing components with a copy or revision. Or that we can simply drag and drop components from GAIN Collaboration into Inventor and open them during the design process. Also, the handling of frame generator parts is simple. GAIN Collaboration automatically sets the display name for the documents in Inventor. So, we can finally see directly in the Inventor browser by the display name and number which parts are contained in an assembly. And creating drawings for models is now much easier. Here we only have to transfer the newly created drawing in Inventor to GAIN Collaboration, i.e. connect it. In the entry all information is then taken over from the model. Fully automatically. And if we should ever make a mistake here, it is quickly corrected via GAIN support,” says Störmer.


PSP successor with the best service and support

They are also very satisfied with the performance, responsiveness and reliability of GAIN support.
“It really works very well. The support team always thinks along with us and usually solves problems directly on the phone. Or we receive direct feedback as to when we can expect a response,” says Störmer with satisfaction.

Even special requests have already been realized by GAIN Software quickly and unbureaucratically. For example, the automatic export of drawing sets at the push of a button while working. Or the user interfaces, which now look exactly as promark automation would like them to.


Changeover as an ascent

The bottom line is that the switch from Productstream Professional to the new PDM system GAIN Collaboration was a real step up for the Eigeltinger.
Patrick Störmer: “GAIN Collaboration meets all our expectations in terms of functionality, overview and ease of use. Many things have become easier. And we will be even more productive when our further PDM plans are also implemented with GAIN Collaboration.”