Proper Engineering Practices & Data Management

Today, we’re going to explore the question, “What are some proper engineering practices regarding data management?”


Revision vs. Minor Change

Whenever a 3D model requires at least a change to its geometry, the 3D model and its drawing should receive the next revision level and this revision level should be equal. Oftentimes a minor change needs to be conducted that does not necessarily warrant an increase in the revision level.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Workflow example

[Figure 1: A sample of a SOLIDWORKS PDM workflow]

A product data management (PDM) system, such as SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or Professional, facilitates the process in which models and drawings require a revision or minor change. A workflow as shown above is a pathway for which engineering documents are managed in their life cycle. The blocks, such as WIP (Work in Progress) and Pending Approval, are states and the pathways connecting the states are transitions.

If a model and its drawing are RELEASED to production and if the drawing requires a minor change, such as adding or modifying a note, the drawing and its model are transitioned to UNDER CHANGE instead of back to WIP for the next revision.

Automating & Meeting CAD Standards

SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard and Professional uphold and automate an engineering department’s CAD standards through the following means:

  • Custom or predefined revision schema(s) automatically controlled through product’s life cycle
  • Secure file storage not only for engineering data but also CAD standards such as templates, weldment profiles, routing libraries, etc.
  • Streamline and organize processes for which engineering data is created, released to production, revised, and obsoleted through workflows and permissions

Revision Schemas

What if my company does not currently have a revision schema?

It’s not too late to start implementing a revision schema for proper engineering practices and utilizing a product data management system. A good baseline revision schema that meets the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standard is of a single alpha character that skips the I, O, Q, S, X, and Z letters since these letters can be synonymous with numeric characters.

Revision table integration built into SOLIDWORKS can be used to manually increment the revision without SOLIDWORKS PDM, but effective with the 2018 release of SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard and Professional, the control of revision table row incrementation and updating can be controlled automatically via workflow transition actions.

Number component properties

[Figure 2: SOLIDWORKS PDM revision schema setup per ASME standards]

Continuing Management Benefits

We’ve scratched the surface when it comes to proper engineering practices and data management. If you didn’t already know, you have a PDM Standard CAD Editor license included with each seat of SOLIDWORKS Professional or Premium and can set up a PDM Standard vault.

We will be covering other PDM topics in upcoming blogs, including capabilities and applications that are good to know about. Stay tuned for those.

This blog is authored by our PDM Applications Engineer, Max. Max specializes in SOLIDWORKS PDM and services around replication in archives and databases; software upgrades; troubleshooting and technical support; and much more. He graduated with a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering.


GSC fuels customer success with 3D engineering solutions for design, simulation, data management, electrical schematics, PCB, technical documentation, and 3D printing, as well as the most comprehensive consulting, technical support, and training in the industry. As a leading provider of SOLIDWORKS solutions, HP, and Markforged 3D printing technologies, GSC’s world-class team of dedicated professionals have helped numerous companies innovate and increase productivity by leveraging advanced technologies to drive 3D business success. Founded in 1989, GSC is headquartered in Germantown, WI. For more information about GSC, please visit