Design data is the most important and sensitive source of information about the products manufacturing companies need to manage. Everything starts with design files – 3D MCAD, ECAD, PCB Design, 2D Drawings, and other product-related data. Despite a significant breakthrough in the development of cloud computer-aided design tools, a vast majority of existing design data is stored in files and needs to be managed, controlled, and available for internal and external users during the product development process.
Managing these files, including version control and product data management represents a challenging task for many engineers and manufacturing companies. Although product data management tools made huge progress in the last decade, most of the available tools are dated and most of PDM software in production is still 20+ years old packages that are not cloud-friendly. Talking to many OpenBOM customers for the last few years, we learned that the problem of CAD file management is not solved, despite all the efforts the industry made by modifying legacy tools like SOLIDWORKS PDM and others. Some other very interesting and simple tools like GrabCAD Workbench were discontinued, and some of them were acquired and refocused or eliminated.
At the same time, the seamless flow of information is pivotal to helping engineers to perform their tasks. From conceptualization to prototyping and final design, engineers heavily rely on design files to bring their creations from idea to production. And they are struggling to manage those files using many homegrown and not dedicated tools like shared folders, cloud storage (eg. Dropbox, Google Drive), and a variety of more complex solutions like SharePoint and others.
While the world already developed many product data management (PDM) tools, we challenge ourselves to find a solution to help engineers, design innovators, students, and many others in a different way that exists in the market today.
At OpenBOM we look at how to simplify everyday tasks for engineers and the entire team. We always look at how to provide a seamless way to manage information between engineers, all other members of the team and other stakeholders in a company, contractors, and suppliers. This is how we came to the idea of OpenBOM providing a solution to manage Design Projects.
In my article today, I want to share 5 core principles of OpenBOM online cloud PDM service. Our target is first all these engineers and companies that need to manage CAD data and they are underserved by existing vendors either because they don’t have enough IT resources or budgets, need to work remotely, or because they are just hesitant to use old and complex product data management tools and product data management solutions.
Seamless and Free Cloud Sync
Everyone is looking for magic these days. After the last two decades of web and consumer application development, it is hard to believe that the industry didn’t find a solution to simply manage CAD files and sync them seamlessly to the cloud storage. So, our first principle is to make it effortless and easy. Also, we don’t want to bother engineers with the question of cost and want to provide it for free. We are not doing it for a philanthropic reason, but we believe that OpenBOM has enough value to offer to these engineers and companies, so we don’t need to charge them for this simple solution.
Intuitive, Familiar 3D CAD User Experiences
User experience is the key. No one likes to have a complex solution these days. Therefore, we focused on how to bring the most intuitive user experience patterns that engineers can easily understand and use in a bulletproof way. OpenBOM Design Projects solution uses a combination of a familiar spreadsheet-like paradigm developed at OpenBOM combined with a Workspace Manager tool capable of uploading, downloading, checking out, and checking in files in cloud storage.
Workspace Manager is seamlessly integrated with Windows File Explorer where you can manage your own structure of folders that will be always available for you in a usual very familiar way, so you can do everything you need with these files.
Dive into Unlimited Cloud Storage for Free
We don’t want to limit users’ storage and their ability to save files. What can be more annoying than a message that you run out of storage in the middle of the sync operation? Therefore, our decision is to provide unlimited cloud storage. We keep the right to stop you if we identify that you’re using the system in an excessive way, but we will allow you to save all CAD files, the entire history of changes and to support revision control of these files.
Online or Offline: Free Access Anytime, Anywhere
Although everyone is always connected these days, we don’t want to limit engineers from accessing their files without the internet. As much as the internet is almost a commodity these days, it always disconnects exactly at the moment you need urgently to open your file or get access to the data. We don’t want to limit and stop engineers from doing their work. Therefore we reassure you that OpenBOM Design Projects is capable of giving you a way to work when you’re disconnected from the internet.
Not Just Files: Your Complimentary Data Management Platform
As much as CAD tools are in the middle of engineering processes and business processes in every company, we didn’t want to limit the OpenBOM Design Projects solution only to accessing files. We are using a rich OpenBOM data management platform to allow you to add metadata to file records using a familiar OpenBOM data management mechanism – adding properties and saving them as revision records together with files.
We are excited to introduce OpenBOM Design Projects to our users to help them solve the problem of CAD file management in a simple, easy, and intuitive way. Design Projects is a FREE part of OpenBOM service to support all engineers with a reliable and simple solution to manage all design files, keep them synchronized and up to date with the cloud storage, and manage their revisions.
Interested to learn more about OpenBOM Design Projects. Subscribe to our Community to stay in touch and to know firsthand when the Design Projects function will become available. It will happen in the next few weeks. We will gradually make it available to all OpenBOM users.
REGISTER FOR FREE and start a free trial to check OpenBOM Design Projects. We will be gradually rolling out Design Projects from October 1st, 2023.