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Visual PDM Details

Introduction and Overview

Visual PDM is the fastest and most economical way to gain control over the engineering and manufacturing documentation your shop floor needs to produce top quality products every day. Finding the right documents is as fast and simple as entering a part or order number. All pertinent documents then become available in a self-contained user interface that prevents confusion and requires little training. Print documents as needed, singly or in a batch.

The shop floor packet is transformed into a reliable, accurate and cohesive block of information. Data is linked together in place without duplication. BOM, order and routing data is pulled directly from your ERP system. Drawings, process plans and other documents can be linked directly from engineering or any other department. Since documents are accessible by part number as well as order number, other departments like QA and Purchasing can also get the accurate information they demand.

Visual PDM also contains a special editor that makes creating and maintaining detailed process plans easier than ever. If you're currently using limited text in your routings, let us show you how we can convert it into word processor-style documents that are unlimited, yet remain up-to-date with your latest routing data. This allows you to expand and clarify your process descriptions by using fonts, color, tables, illustrations, pictures, etc. The powerful Visual PDM Plan Objects allow common sections of your process plans to be easily reused and updated.

Implementation time under a week is not uncommon for a new Visual PDM site. When compared to other more complex and expensive products that require numerous months of consulting, the savings of a Visual PDM solution is at least 10 to 1 and sometimes much more. Our focus on what is important to the shop floor allows us to provide you with what you need without the added confusion that happens when trying to be all things to all people.


The Problem with Paper

Manufacturing companies are realizing that controlling the flow of paper is a key component of process improvement. It is important to see that paper in and of itself is not the problem. Losing control of it is. Once a drawing, routing or process plan is printed, that paper is used by any number of people for an unknown length of time. Think about that. Once a print exists, no one has control over where that information goes and for how long it is used. Once information on any of that paper changes, you run the risk of making a mistake such as machining with the wrong dimensions, creating a subassembly with the wrong part, etc. Once something is made incorrectly it must be reworked or scrapped at extra cost which means less profit. And what happens when the problem is not discovered in the plant or by QA and is delivered to your customer? Heads will roll.

 Here are just a few examples of how companies have successfully dealt with paper problems:

  •  only view documents on-line
  •  print documents as needed, but collect them at the end of the job and either file them for archival purposes or destroy them
  •  print all necessary documentation at the start of a job and control their circulation from beginning to end

Visual PDM is truly the simplest and most cost-effective software for making these solutions work for you.


Case Study

  1. The BOM is created by engineering personnel in the manufacturing ERP system
  2. Design and Manufacturing Engineers use Visual PDM to create process plans for a new part by either creating a new, blank plan or by duplicating an existing, similar plan and making modifications. Unlimited text, graphics and other common word processing features are used to make sure each operation is as thoroughly described as necessary. Direct links to the ERP BOM will provide accurate display of set up and run times per operation. Plan creation and maintenance is made faster and simpler through the use of templates, bill substitution and common operations via Plan Objects.
  3. Engineers associate the process plan, CAD drawings and other support documents to the new part in Visual PDM. Since the documents are only associated, they can be updated without using Visual PDM. As documentation for existing parts is changed and improved, new documents can be attached at any time and existing documents can be updated. Documents can be associated by part revision, so older revision documents can remain available and new revisions can be made available in a controlled manner.
  4. The Bill of Material is available in Visual PDM directly from the ERP system. Part, order and where-used searching are also available in Visual PDM.
  5. Planners releasing work to the floor can print packets after releasing each order or in a batch after releasing numerous orders.
  6. At various workstations on the shop floor, Visual PDM is run by authorized personnel to view all necessary documents for a part or assembly currently in process.

Visual PDM is the fastest way to get your paper trail working for you instead of against you.


Key Features

User Interface

  •  View and print a variety of documents in a self-contained user interface
  •  All documents presented by part or order number
  •  When documents for a new part or order are loaded, all unrelated document windows are automatically closed
  •  Optional tab interface to manage windows

Document Access

  • Multi-level, configurable, sortable, indented BOM view
  • Keyword search for parts, orders, etc.
  • Direct access to BOM from ERP or other system
  • Use the BOM to navigate through all assembly documents at all levels
  • Convenient lists of parts and orders for access by department, worker, day, etc.
  • Associate unlimited documents with descriptions
  • Organize associated documents in folders
  • Access documents by BOM revision or effectivity dates
  • Where used
  • Administrator, Author and Viewer security levels

 Document Formats

  • Direct support for numerous raster graphics formats such as jpeg, bmp, tiff, gif, etc.
  • Direct support for vector and CAD formats such as AutoCAD, MicroStation, Micrografx, CGM and HPGL. Call regarding other formats.
  • View and print numerous other formats within the Visual PDM user interface via web browser plugins or PDF files
  • View Office documents directly in Visual PDM
  • BOM substitution keeps part detail callouts up to date in AutoCAD drawings

Process Planning

  • Create routing-style documents where operations are based on work center data complete with unlimited text and graphics
  • BOM Substitution directly from ERP data keeps work center and part data up to date.
  • Word processor style editor supporting many common features
  • Organize plans using operations, steps and common text
  • Templates allow for global changes to process plans format
  • Convert existing routing text to Visual PDM process plan documents with our reasonable-cost conversion services


  • Configurable reports for printing BOM
  • Print documents individually
  • Print all documents for a part with a single command
  • Batch print documents for multiple parts or orders


  • Top notch technical support
  • Yearly maintenance covers tech support and upgrades


The Benefits

  • Less scrap and rework
  • All documentation available via a single program
  • Minimize the number of different software packages and minimize the training needed to view various documents
  • Minimize worker training with detailed process plans
  • Cost-effective implementation


Visual PDM - Charting the Right Course


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Copyright 2009 Insight Manufacturing Software, Inc.
Last modified: September 03, 2009

Key words: pdm, erp, manufacturing, process planning, work flow,documentation,crm