Pro/Intralink is a workgroup production design information management tool. Its main purpose is to help you and your team manage Pro/Engineer design information in a concurrent engineering environment.
So basically speaking, it's both a library and a librarian for your Pro/E work. It can also be used to store non-Pro/E data like word and excel documents.
IMHO, if you have more than a few users you should be thinking about some kind of PDM. Intralink is not free but with proper set-up it's well worth the money spent. PTC.com has plenty of literature for you to read.
I was going to ask a similar question, and since it might help to answer mikes, I'll ask it here.
Can ProIntralink be used to manage ALL files, and if so does it work well to use it to manage files for other software.
For instance, we use Mastercam to do all our CAM programming. Is Pro/I able to manage these files in the same way it does Pro/E files (file security, control access, check out, revision control, downloading files to the CNC machines). This would also include just plain text files from the post-processor. Does any one use it in this capacity with other software?
Intralink can manage non Pro files. However, if you do this you restrict access to the files to only Intralink users. Where you can run into trouble is when you have different file types that have the same extention (like Cadkey and Pro both using .prt).
Intralink isn't by it's self a PLM solution. PTC's answer to that is Windchill which is a confusing (to me) array of programs that allow all aspects of design, development and manufacture to share information. Intralink can be a part of that solution.
> how does it limit access? Can't you still start Mastercam,
> for instance, and retrieve a file using Mastercam's menu?
> Or open a Word doc without even going into Intralink?
Once you check in the file to Intralink it is kept in what's called Common Space. The file is renamed so that different Revisions and Versions can be retained. All of this is kept track of by an Oracle database program. Intralink provides the front end so that you see the current version with the name you associate with it.
You have a couple of options for getting access to the files once they are in Intralink. Normally with Pro/E you check out the files to a work space on your local machine. This workspace is like the common space in that Intralink provides the front end to file management and the open, save, copy, rename options in Pro/E interact with Intralink. Since MasterCAM doesn't have this interaction I don't believe the workspace concept will work. You'll have to Export the file first to disk. which essentially creates a copy of the original file that is no longer under Intralink control.
You can launch files directly with Intralink directly from Common space by defining which program to associate with a given file aplication. I've done that with PDF's for instance. You can also define if the file is to be openned just for viewing or for editting. I don't have experience with openning for edit. That might work with MasterCAM. Of course it creates a problem when programs want to use any Pro/E defined file types like .prt .asm .drw and .sec
-Hope that helps. My recommendation is to keep files that are only accessed by your Pro/E users under Intralink control. But with the addition of some blend of WindChill products you may be able to extend access to these files to non Pro/E users. At least that's what they have you believe in the advertising :+)
I have used Pro/PDM and Pro/INTRALINK in the past, and for small to medium Pro/E installations found them to be rather cumbersome, and in the early days problematic.
I moved over from Pro/INTRALINK 2.0 to DesignDataManager which does a similar job at a lower cost.
Its a lighter product than Pro/INTRALINK and does not invlove mega costs of consultancy from PTC etc....
I guess its horses for courses, how much data management functionality do you need! If you need control over Pro/E parts, assemblies, drawings, douments etc... handling file versions and revisions DDM is more than adequate.
To be honest, I upgraded to Wildfire last March 03 and I found that there was not a Wildfire compatible version of Intralink available until June 03. A new version of DesignDataManager that supported Wilfire was available by early April 03, which I thought was pretty good.
The upgrade was as simple as applying a NT4 Service Pack. This service pack was only required on each client machine. No update on the server was required.