THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW: Strategies to Minimize Large Assembly Wait Time

Written by: Dave Kramer, Application Engineer

Waiting for a large assembly to open or re-build is like waiting for a dentist, you know on the other side of the wait is more pain. These models are painful to deal with and rather than suffer, here are a few tools available to you through SOLIDWORKS that will diagnose the trouble spots and get you moving at a reasonable speed.

Assembly Visualization

It would be nice to troubleshoot the idle time. The idle time to regenerate the model is a combination of model rebuild and screen refresh. Metrics are needed. The Assembly Visualization tool included with SOLIDWORKS does the job and with a few tips, excels.  Here is the assembly under exam:

Large Assembly

These are two versions of the same Hydraulic Cylinder; one as-built, and one cleaned. Open the assembly visualization tool. Find it in Tools > Evaluate > Assembly Visualization.

Assembly Visualization

By default, Assembly Visualization gives you three tabs; File Name, Quantity, and Mass. We want to add more useful columns. Select the arrow next to SW-Mass and a fly-out menu appears.

Fly-out menu

Choose more and select the – Select another property – box. A drop down menu appears with a wide variety of column suggestions.

Custom Column

Choose “Graphics-Triangles” from the drop down list. Check use formula and multiply the number of graphics triangles by the quantity by typing in *“Quantity” next to “Graphics-Triangles”. Note that the quotation marks are required in the formula box. Curves are rendered by the video card using triangles to approximate the shape. More triangles means better look on the screen but bigger file size.

Custom Column Dialog Box

While we are at it, add another custom column called SW-Rebuild-Time. No need to multiply by quantity since the quantity of components is baked into the rebuild time. Let’s go back to our example assembly and take a look.

Assembly Visualization - Evaluate

If you couldn’t tell by the name of the configuration, (BUSY BUSY), that version of the file is a bugger. It is a direct copy of the file from an online catalog. The other version, (CLEAN), was simplified by suppressing Cut-Sweep threads wherever they were found. The difference in Graphics Triangles and Rebuild Time are significant and will enhance performance on large assemblies.

Performance Evaluation 

On an individual part level, Performance Evaluation helps to find the features that are causing long rebuild times. It can be found through Tools>Evaluate>Performance Evaluation or on the command manager shown below:

Performance Evaluation of Assembly

The total rebuild time is 5.27 seconds for the BUSY BUSY configuration. By comparison, the CLEAN configuration rebuilds in nearly one tenth the time, 0.69s.

These are a few of the SolidWorks file evaluation tools in the inventory. I can promise these methods will help in the diagnosis of slow open and rebuild times. Besides, four out of five technical support engineers surveyed would recommend them to their customers who chew on large files.

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