Keep the Children in Line with SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional 2020

Child Reference State

One of my favorite new features in SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional 2020 is the Child Reference State condition in Workflow Transitions. I can’t tell you how many times as a PDM administrator I had wished for a feature like this. So, what is it and why am I so excited about its addition to the 2020 release?

The Child Reference State condition allows you to configure a workflow transition to ensure that all referenced files meet criteria that you define. For example, let’s say we do not want an assembly file to transition to the Released state unless all its subassemblies and parts are already in or are going to move to that state. This will ensure that we don’t have files in different states for this design. Another use case is if we want to stop the release of any assembly that references parts or assemblies that are obsolete. In both cases, this can save you wasted effort and re-work.

Let’s walk through how to add a child reference state condition to a transition. These examples are based on the ACME vault used for the Administering SOLIDWORKS PDM training. In the workflow editor in the PDM Administration program, open the CAD Files workflow and select Release Documents transition then choose the Conditions tab. For the Variable select Child Reference State. The Comparison will have a default selection of Text Equal To which is what we want. Choose CAD Files. Released in the Value column, click OK and save the workflow.


Figure 1

Now a state change using the Release Documents transition will be blocked if any of the child referenced files are not already in, or moving to, the Released state. Note that the warning is set to blocking for new and upgraded users. Also, the system checks for this condition on only the immediate children of files selected for transition.


Figure 2



Obsolete State

Next, let’s ensure that a file can’t be released with references in the Obsolete state. After adding an Obsolete state to our workflow, return to the Release Documents transition and add another Child Reference State condition as shown. Note that in this case the Comparison entry is Text Not Equal To.


Figure 3


This will block a state change to the Released state if any child referenced files are in the Obsolete state.


Figure 4


The previous examples dealt with files only in the CAD Files workflow, but what if we have attached ECO documents that should be completed as well? The Value dropdown list for the Child Reference State condition includes all the Workflows and their States in the vault. So, it is just a matter of including the State within an Or operator as shown below.

Figure 5

I hope you see the benefit of using this new condition type in your workflows. It will allow you to keep the children in line when working with file references in SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. Examine your existing PDM Workflows to see how you can leverage this new feature. Ensuring that designs are fully released and do not contain obsolete parts and assemblies will save your company from costly mistakes!


Mike DeKoning, Technical Solutions Consultant, TPM, Inc.

TPM, Inc. is the Carolina’s largest 3D CAD provider and a leading technology company proud of its reputation of providing cutting-edge solutions to the engineering and design community for the past 40 years. Founded in 1973, TPM Inc. serves more than 3,000 customers across the Southeast each year. Inspired by our founder, Jerry Cooper, we are committed to offering our clients the best: 3D Design Software, 3D Printing and Scanning Options, Data and Document Management Solutions, Large-Format Graphics, Wide-Format Plotters and Office Equipment, and Reprographics.