SolidWorks Collaboration

Parent page: Workspace Manager Panels


SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS communicating through the SolidWorks Collaboration panel.

Summary

The SolidWorks Collaboration panel allows you to Push and Pull design changes from SOLIDWORKS PCB to SOLIDWORKS®, or vice versa, with the simple click of a button. Notifications about incoming changes appear automatically in the SolidWorks Collaboration panel, as soon as a Push is performed on the other side. The SolidWorks Collaboration panel also allows you to examine and accept updates to your PCB from SOLIDWORKS, as well as view your push/pull notification history. SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS® collaborate with each other through an ECAD-MCAD Project Collaboration Server (or Altium Vault).

Before you can collaborate, ensure that you have fulfilled the requirements for collaboration. For full details on what's needed, see Installation Overview.

Panel Access

To open the SolidWorks Collaboration panel, available when a PCB document (*.PWPcbDoc) is active, click the SolidWorks Collaboration button in the System group under the View tab: View | System | button on the ribbon.

The panel becomes available once the SOLIDWORKS PCB SOLIDWORKS Collaboration extension is installed in SOLIDWORKS PCB.

Pushing and Pulling Changes

The Push button is used to push changes from the active application into the Collaboration Server/Vault, the Pull button is used to pull changes from the Collaboration Server/Vault into the active application.

Before pushing your PCB document through to SOLIDWORKS, Save All modified files (Files menu) and select Home | Project | Project » Commit Project to commit all changes into the Collaboration Server/Vault. Ensure that the PCB is the active document. In the SolidWorks Collaboration panel, click the Push button. You will be prompted to enter a comment; do so, then click the Post button to complete the process, as shown in the images below. This action will:

  • Create a Parasolid model file for the board and each component in the design, and store them in the \<ProjectName> SOLIDWORKS Collaboration\Exported 3D Models\ folder in the working copy of the ecad project folder.
  • Release these models to the \Mechatronic 3D Models\ folder in the Collaboration Server/Vault.

   
The steps to collaborating from SOLIDWORKS PCB - click Push in the Collaboration panel, then Post a message to upload the shared elements (board shape and components).

The SOLIDWORKS PCB PCB project must be stored in the Collaboration Server/Vault as a managed project, for SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS to be able to collaborate on it. As well as being used to store the ecad data, the Collaboration Server/Vault also stores the shared design elements, including the board shape and an mcad model of each component. The other function of the Collaboration Server/Vault is for storing the collaboration change history.

Examining and Accepting Design Changes

If there is a new update to be pulled from the vault, the SolidWorks Collaboration panel will display a New Changes have been detected dialog. Click the View changes button.

 
Clicking to View changes in the Collaboration panel
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Both SOLIDWORKS PCB and SOLIDWORKS present potential changes using a simple animation, flashing or animating a purple shape to represent the new object / location. The animated GIF below shows an example of three component relocations being passed from SOLIDWORKS to SOLIDWORKS PCB. Click on a proposed change to animate it in the workspace and enable the Accept checkbox to update the design to include that change. Use the commands in the right-click menu to toggle the state of multiple checkboxes.


The objects that have changed are presented in purple, making it easy to identify the before and after states. Enable the Accept checkbox for each change you want to make.

If you are not ready to Accept changes yet, click the . You can view and Accept them later by clicking the Pull button to re-open the dialog. Otherwise, wait until new updates are pushed through the SolidWorks Collaboration panel.

Notes

  • SOLIDWORKS Collaboration is a standard SOLIDWORKS PCB extension (DXP » Extensions and Updates), which adds the SOLIDWORKS Collaboration panel into SOLIDWORKS PCB.
  • Use of the SolidWorks Collaboration panel and feature requires Altium Vault 2.5 (or later). If you have an existing vault, it can be used but may require an update.
  • A managed project is not automatically available for collaboration. You must also perform a Push in the SolidWorks Collaboration panel to save the required collaboration elements into the Collaboration Server/Vault.

 

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