Revision Table Automation in PDM


Written by: Bryce Hooper, Application Engineer

Imagine a world where revision tables filled themselves out and that the data was visible from the data card. Now quit imagining; It’s reality. As of the 2018 version of PDM, SOLIDWORKS revision tables can be updated automatically through PDM. With a little bit of setup, we can get this working through the workflow or the Set Revision tool.

Variable Creation

In order to use the Revision table update function, we first need to map some variables to a new attribute block.

Revision Table Variable Creation

This new attribute block is SWRevTable. There are only a few attributes that can be mapped to this property, and all are selectable from the drop-down. Each of the properties should be mapped to a variable. If a variable doesn’t exist one should be created.


Configuring the Tool

Revision Table Configuration

In order for the variables to work, we need to turn on the tool in the vault configuration. First, go to the SOLIDWORKS node and double click the Revision Table sub-node. In the resulting dialog, click the checkbox to enable the function. We can then determine the number of visible rows that we would want to see at a maximum. Once we reach this number, new revisions will bump old ones off the list.

SOLIDWORKS Revision Table

In addition to this, the placeholder characters must be set. As the dialog explains, the characters replaced should match the actual revision format. If the revision schema is simple, like a plain Alpha, a single character would work. If it is more complicated, such as an A-01 type, the characters should look something like this: *-**. Each entered character will be replaced by a character in the revision. If a single character was entered in the second scenario, the values would overlap.


Variable Mapping

In that same dialog, variables must be mapped to the table itself. Each field can be filled in by a mapped variable and set with a specified value. Below is a configuration for using the transition comment to be the description of the revision. This isn’t the only option; you could use several options available from the ‘>’ button.

Revision Table Dialogue Box

The variables that are available in the right column are only variables that are mapped to the SWRevTable attribute block. This is, however, limited to the standard fields. Any custom fields will need to get their values from other custom properties mapped to the drawing.

The option to enable the ability to use the Set Revision tool to update the table is also on this page.


Workflow Automation

As we would with any other variables we intend to automatically fill in, it must be added to a workflow transition. Create a new Transition Action of a Set Variable type. Set a value for the proper variable and click OK. Keep placement in mind, as PDM will need to increment the revision as fields are entered to create a new line in the table. Otherwise, the last line will be modified.

Revision Table Workflow Automation


Data Card Visibility

This data can be mapped for visibility on the data card. It is recommended that the Zone variable is created read-only because the value of this is read from the drawing. The remainder of the variables can be mapped to allow the user to change the values if desired.

Revision Table on Data Card


Using Revision Tables in SOLIDWORKS

Going forward in SOLIDWORKS with this setting will require that your files are upgraded to SOLIDWORKS 2018 format. Inside of SOLIDWORKS, we will require that a revision table be on the drawing before PDM can take over. This will function as it always has, by adding rows to mark our revision zones and make a new revision. The difference will be that when we create a new line, we will no longer see the next value. What we will see is the value that we have specified in the configuration to be our placeholder value.  In the screenshot below, I have used a simple revision schema and an asterisk as my placeholder.

Revision Table Schema


NOTE: If we are at our current limit of rows when we attempt to add a new revision, we may see a dialog warning us that the table is going to be truncated to meet our PDM revision table specifications.

Revision Table Warning Message