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Under the Hood - All things PDM and PLM

Add-ins for SOLIDWORKS, Creo, MicroStation, and many others

Did you know that Autodesk had it’s own App Store?
Do you know how to access it?

Just in case, let me show you:

  1. Click this:
  2. Sign-in (upper right corner)
  3. Voilà!

Fun fact:
Do you know that we have more than 3 000 000 downloads from the store? Thank you!

Vault and Autodesk’s Solutions

I’m sure you familiarized yourself using Vault with AutoCAD and/or Inventor but did you know Vault can be used with more than 25 other software?

Here’s the complete list:

What about the other CAD systems?

Remember the App Store I was mentioning earlier, well this is where it comes in handy. We have different add-ins for different CAD system.
For example, we support Bentley MicroStation 8i, and Creo.

What if we use SOLIDWORKS?

If you use SOLIDWORKS (2017 SP5, 2018 SP5 and/or 2019 SP2), you are in luck!
With the release of Vault 2020, we upgraded the SOLIDWORKS Vault add-in.

We heard your performance concerns. The Vault add-in for SOLIDWORKS has been entirely re-written, and it is fast. Of course, I could go in the quantitative details about how check-in operation is 4 times faster, how check-out is now 9 times faster, how Open From Vault (OFV) is now 6 times faster but, to put it simply, your typical operations within Vault are far more rapid with the SOLIDWORKS add-in. In other words, if you are used to Vault with Inventor and/or AutoCAD, you will get the same speed with Vault and SOLIDWORKS. They are now on par. Period.

New with the release of the improved add-in, we can extract Bill of Materials (assemblies) and Cut List (Structural Part) from SOLIDWORKS.

This latest release of the Autodesk Vault add-in for SOLIDWORKS is only available to customers on subscription. It is made available for Vault 2020 and Vault 2019 (The below enhancements will be available in the 2019 R2 version of the add-in).

Here’s the complete list of enhancements with the SOLIDWORKS add-in for Vault:

Performance Improvements:

  • Check-in operation is 4 times faster compared to the previous Add-in from our internal testing with 840 files assembly.
  • Open From Vault (OFV) is 6 times faster compared to the previous Add-in from our internal testing with 840 files assembly.
  • Check-Out is 9 times faster compared to the previous Add-in from our internal testing with 840 files assembly.
Please note that these numbers can vary depending on the individual datasets used for testing and analysis.

Check Out Enhancements:

  • If you have an outdated file version in the local Working Folder, the Check Out command is now disabled. Use the Open From Vault command in add-in or Get command from Vault Client to enable this command.
  • The Check Out command now opens using the File View with the selected design document structure to perform the Check Out.
  • You can now update file and item properties using the Check Out command.

Check-In Enhancements:

  • It is no longer possible to check-in datasets with missing children. We added a new option to the Settings dialog which enables you to specify if suppressed missing files are allowed during check-in.
  • It is now possible to check in files located outside of the Workspace folder. All files that are located outside of the Working Folder during check-in are automatically relocated to the main assembly folder.

General Enhancements:

  • The Login dialog now shares user settings across all Vault applications.
  • You can select multiple files during Check-In, Check-Out and Undo Check Out using the option in the right-click menu.
  • Copy Design operation for SolidWorks files is now supported.
  • Vault prompts can now be managed from the Options dialog.
  • The Job Server feature no longer suppresses in the Add-in UI.
  • The new Go to Vault Folder command enables you to show the selected file automatically in a new or active session of the Vault Client.
  • The new Open Drawing From Vault command enables you to open a related.SLDDRW drawing.

Improved BOM Extraction

  • BOM is supported in this release. You may disable or enable BOM information extraction during Check-In. Please note that BOM information extraction can have performance implications.
  • BOM extraction for Virtual Components in the Assembly documents is supported.
  • Cut List multi-body BOM information is extracted from the Structural Part documents.
  • BOM properties show types in the Property Mapping dialog (Date, Number, Bool).
  • Configuration information won’t be uploaded to Vault if you disable the BOM feature in the Settings dialog.

Open/Place From Vault Improvements

  • The Open/Place From Vault dialog box is redesigned. You can now select multiple files at one time.
  • You can now perform basic and advanced search that is consistent with the Vault Client behavior.
  • It’s now possible to select the SolidWorks file configuration during the Open/Place From Vault operation.
  • The Open From Vault for local modified files of the same version as in Vault is updated as follows:
    • The previous add-in downloaded a Vault copy of the file and overwrote the local files without prompts.
    • The new add-in uses local copies of files without prompts.
  • Open From Vault for local modified files of an outdated version is updated as follows:
    • The previous add-in downloaded a Vault copy of the file and overwrote the local files without prompts.
    • The new add-in opens the Confirm File Replace dialog box, in which you can preserve the local modification or load the file from Vault.

Please note that the Autodesk Vault Professional 2020 Add-in for SolidWorks no longer supports some operations and features.

  • Vault Browser is not available in the add-in. Use Vault Client to check the status of the files.
  • The following commands are no longer available in the add-in. Use these commands from Vault Client:
    • Change State
    • Revise
    • Refresh From Vault
    • Get Revisions

AnyCAD for the other CAD

By now, you know that Vault is essential when managing your Autodesk’s software files.
Vault has add-ins for about 30 different Autodesk’s software and add-ins for Bentley MicroStation, PTC Creo, and Dassault SOLIDWORKS.

I hear you; I know: “What about my other CAD files?”

We have a solution for you!

That solution is AnyCAD. As you already know, with AnyCAD, Inventor can “open” (as reference model) Alias, CATIA, DWG, PTC Wildfire, SOLIDWORKS, NX, STEP, Solid Edge, Fusion 360, and Pro-E/Creo files.

It means that, in an Inventor assembly, you could insert your other CAD reference models and, then, check this assembly in Vault. Voilà!

This method might be the easiest way to manage other CAD data in Vault. All Parent/Child relationships are preserved.

Conclusion – When to use the Add-ins

Ideally, you would use the Vault add-ins found in the App Store for these two scenarios

  1. When migration from one platform to Autodesk
  2. In a multi-CAD environment where Autodesk is by-far predominant

We found that our most successful Vault customers are using the add-ins to keep legacy data as-is. As you know, when migrating from one system to the other, you end up with a lot of legacy data. Not everything is converted – even if it is quite simple using AnyCAD – but almost everything has to be maintained. For this scenario, keeping a copy of Other CAD with the add-in is a viable solution.

The other scenario involves a primary Autodesk ecosystem with a few licenses of Other CAD for, as an example, other projects or per customers’ requests.

Don’t forget; we control what we create. We control our solutions. We don’t control what’s going to happen with Other CAD infrastructure. We don’t control how long they will keep supporting their solutions.
In short: We don’t know what we don’t know.

If you use Vault add-ins with your Autodesk software and if you used the add-ins provided in the App Store in a controlled environment, everything should be fine.

Feel free to use the ‘Comments’ section and, if you enjoyed it and you think it contains valuable information that could help a friend or a colleague, please share it with them.

Marc B. Sauro @marcbsauro
Product Marketing Manager

Marc B. Sauro

I'm a Product Marketing Manager and was a Design & Manufacturing Technical Specialist for many years. I learned early on in my career that what motivates me is being in front of people – storytelling. I worked “in the field” as a Project Manager and also as a CAD Manager but marketing/business development is what I enjoy most. I simply love sharing with our customers and ‘customers-to-be’ how Autodesk can facilitate their day-to-day processes. I truly believe that we have the best solutions to refine their workflow.