Release Management for CAD Design

Accelerate product design with release management processes and customize approval workflows to your business needs.

What is Release Management?

Release management is the process of managing design changes, ensuring that only approved design updates are used downstream. It provides data traceability and helps ensure quality and adherence to business standards. Onshape streamlines release management tasks so you can shorten release processes from days to a few minutes.

Key Features

Streamlined Release Management

Set up automation for standard release and approval workflows, including teams, roles, and preferences, in just a few steps. Onshape’s flexible part-numbering generates part numbers and revision schemas, streamlining the design and approval process. Manage revision control for parts, assemblies, and drawings, tracking their status in real-time—whether in-progress, released, or rejected.



Continuous Access

Balancing data control with flexibility and collaboration is crucial in release management. Onshape ensures continuous data access, allowing uninterrupted work during the creation and approval stages. With this, you can support engineering change orders (ECO) seamlessly, sharing assemblies, drawings, and data without blocking access. Onshape enables you to work efficiently from any device even mobile devices through the Onshape Mobile App. With this level of access, you can approve and release designs even on the go.

Live Updates

Stay updated  with live notifications.  Built-in change detection, alerts, and visual cues keep teams aware and informed about new versions of parts or assemblies, ensuring the correct revision is always in use.

Additionally, approvers and observers are automatically notified whenever a design undergoes changes or requires review, streamlining communication in the approval process.



Simplified Sharing

Onshape simplifies the process of identifying the revision of a CAD model, ensuring you share the correct CAD with manufacturing every time. Visual cues and filters show a part's release status, saving valuable time. Onshape Publications lets you collate released designs from multiple Documents for easy, secure sharing with external suppliers and manufacturing partners.

Fast and Flexible Approvals

Traditional file-based PDM wastes time on rejected designs, requiring users to recreate and resubmit files. Onshape’s built-in, cloud-native PDM allows easy rollback, cancellation, and cloning of new release candidates. This flexible approach to building release packages and managing assignees helps teams quickly overcome setbacks and reach approved designs faster.



Uncomplicated Administration

Eliminate cost overruns and downtime with Onshape’s cloud-native PDM. Its built-in release management capabilities require no additional licenses, installs, or IT administration, and comes at no extra cost. Quickly scale your team to changing business demands, and collaborate safely with external partners by including them in your release processes to accelerate project timelines.

How Onshape’s Cloud-Native PDM is Transforming the CAD Industry

Learn how Onshape’s built-in, cloud-native PDM system is not only cost-efficient, but is also transforming the way CAD design data is managed, accessed, and stored.

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Onshape makes it easy to set up release management, create release candidates, and streamline your approval workflows.

Got Questions?

For more answers or to ask a question yourself head over to the Onshape Forum.

Release Management is available in the Onshape Professional and Enterprise plans.

Onshape’s Enterprise plan allows companies to customize release and obsoletion workflows to match their business practices. Through this plan businesses can also connect directly with Arena PLM. Companies can also connect to other business systems using the REST API and pull part numbers from other third-party systems. 

Additional features include:

  • Custom part numbers

  • Release dashboard

  • Revision designator switching

Unlike traditional PDM and PLM systems that lock CAD files during release, Onshape’s Document model allows continuous design work. It assigns a “Pending” status to candidates awaiting release and a “Released” state once the process is complete. Access is never restricted, and drawings are updated as needed.

A version is akin to a personal bookmark in the design at a point in time, allowing the designer to undo operations, create branches, or insert it into an assembly. A release is an official company-recognized process for making the design available for downstream processes like manufacturing, with labeled statuses (e.g. “Pending”, “Under Review”, “Approved”) indicating the design phase.

Yes, Onshape provides either alphabetical or numerical designations as revision names by default. However, Onshape also enables custom revision designators from an external text file.

Customers using Onshape’s Enterprise plan are able to customize the release and obsoletion workflows, providing maximum flexibility in representing their business processes.

Unlike file-based PDM and PLM systems, where a rejected process leads to complex and error-prone data rollback, Onshape simply cancels the release process. The data remains unchanged until the release is completed, so there is nothing to roll back or update. Stakeholders are notified if the release is rejected.
Cole Houston Headshot
Cole Houston Lead Mechanical Engineer Cirkul
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"Instead of sending CAD files around, you just share a link. That’s something we’ve really leaned into as we’ve grown as a team… Onshape makes it really easy to share up-to-date information across different locations."

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Approve CAD designs on the go, in seconds, with release management in the Onshape Mobile App.