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This paper presents the concept of a product data management (PDM) system - a computer-based system created to manage data related to the many products of a manufacturing enterprise. Solid modelling has a special relationship to the PDM system, and this is also discussed. The PDM system provides reliable, quick and easy to use access to all relevant files for designers, engineers, manufacturing engineers and planners, managers and others. Tasks that are supported by the PDM system include: creating new design layouts; implementing engineering and manufacturing changes; developing modular products; using standard components; configuration management and design release; and version tracking. The payoffs of a PDM system are large, and for many companies it will be the key system to make automation work.