SOLIDWORKS Support Monthly News – May 2015

Hello to all,

Welcome to this new edition of the SOLIDWORKS Support Monthly News, coauthored by members of the SOLIDWORKS Technical Support teams worldwide.

Service Pack News

Service Pack 3.0 of version 2015 has been released. It fixes many issues and increases performance, but it also adds some usability improvements. They will improve your experience working with SOLIDWORKS. To get the full list of fixed SPRs in any service pack of version, log in the Customer Portal and click on Fixed SPR list in My Support:

Fixed SPRs list

SOLIDWORKS 2016 Beta – looking back 15 years ago

We are all waiting for the beginning of this year’s Beta program (around the end of June) to discover and test all the new features in version 2016. Last year, around the same time, we  took a look back at what shook the world of SOLIDWORKS ten years ago. See the May 2014 and June 2014 editions of the SOLIDWORKS Support Monthly News for a reminder of the best enhancements in versions 2004 and 2005 respectively.

This time, we will look even further back: hello version 2001 – 15 years ago! Check out  what once made the big headlines in the What’s New pages of the documentation!

Excerpts from version 2001:

SOLIDWORKS

  • SolidWorks now uses PropertyManagers instead of dialog boxes (how stylish!)
    Screen capture
  • Flyout FeatureManager Design Tree (goes hand-in-hand with the PropertyManagers)
  • Complete overhaul of Sheet Metal features: In SolidWorks 2001, many new sheet metal-specific features have been added. The advantage to these features is that they allow you to design sheet metal parts directly. This is contrary to the SolidWorks 2000 method of designing a solid body and later converting
    it to a sheet metal part.
  • Confirmation Corner with OK or Cancel icons (or exit sketch) that appear in the upper right hand corner of the SolidWorks graphics area:
    Confirmation corner - 2001
  • New User Interface language: Korean
  • SolidWorks software now uses Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) instead of Summit
    Basic as the engine that records, runs, or edits macros

.

COSMOSWorks (the original name of SOLIDWORKS Simulation)

  • New loads: Bearing loads, Remote Loads (load and displacement, but no Remote Mass just yet)
  • Connectors are added! 4 types available: Rigid, Spring, Pin, elastic support (No Bolt connector just yet: you have to wait for version 2005!)
  • New Shrink Fit contact. Shrink fitting is encountered in many engineering designs. It refers to fitting a component into a slightly smaller cavity. Due to normal forces that develop at the interface, the inner component will shrink while the outer component will expand. The amount of shrinkage/expansion is determined by the material properties as well as the geometry of the components.
  • New checkbox in the Mesh dialog box to automatically Run analysis after meshing
    Run analysis after meshing - 2001
  • Support for Orthotropic Materials.

Hotline Story: How a low CPU usage causing poor performances turned out to be the consequence of a more fundamental problem

By Jay Seaglar

This true story serves as a good reminder that it’s easy to go down the wrong path when troubleshooting. Recently, I worked on a case where the customer reported abnormally low CPU usage when solving a Simulation study on the customer’s system. The implication was that for some reason, SOLIDWORKS Simulation was not using as much CPU power as expected when solving any study. Having previously seen cases where laptop energy/power settings could actually prevent the CPU from being used to full capacity, I initially went down that path of reasoning, assuming that the low CPU usage was the main reason for the poor performance. However, in this case it actually turned out that the problem with the customer’s system was extremely slow read/write speed to a storage drive!

Here’s what the customer’s Rx video showed:

 

03 - CUS system solver launched and nearly idle - Copy

I could not repeat the problem on any other machine that I tested, even though I used the same workflow on the same file, in the same software version. I always found drastically higher CPU usage and much faster performance during the first few minutes of solving compared to the customer’s observations.

The customer provided a very important clue, however: using PhotoView 360 rendering showed 100% CPU usage. This got me thinking: why would other programs be able to use the CPU at “full throttle”, but not Simulation? So, I used Process Monitor to capture and log software activity on my system during first minute after clicking Run in the customer’s study. I found that several seconds were spent reading and writing temporary Simulation files which added up to > 200 MB (this is perfectly normal).

So, on a hunch, I suggested that the customer’s IT department look into read/write speed as well system power settings. Ultimately, the customer’s IT found that after recently reformatting the system, they did not properly reinstall RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) drivers. Because of this, read/write speed for any file was very slow. The actual reason that the CPU usage was so low in Simulation was simply that the “bottleneck” was in the rate at which the storage drive could read and write data. Because this data transfer rate was much lower than the CPU could have handled, the processor only had to work at about 10% of capacity to keep up! PhotoView 360 rendering, by comparison, was not actively reading or writing large files to the storage drive, so the CPU was free to go as fast as it could.

Cases like this are a good reminder of how important it is not to jump to conclusions based on symptoms alone. For additional technical explanations, see Solution Id: S-068478 which I wrote after solving the case.

Noteworthy Solutions from the SOLIDWORKS Knowledge Base

icon - SW What can I do when I see a crash when opening files in SOLIDWORKS®? The error in the journal file shows: ‘Error sldwin7helperu:SetSelectedTab’.
This issue can be caused by a damaged user profile.  As a diagnostic step, try working with a different user account. Preferably, try using a user account that has not previously logged onto the computer and one which does not using Roaming profiles. The full troubleshooting procedure is given in Solution Id: S-068294.

Icon - EPDM In SOLIDWORKS® Enterprise PDM with Active Directory users hosted on Windows® Server 2003, what could cause all Windows user logins to fail with “The entered user name or password is incorrect”?
It is possible that Windows authentication will fail if the Windows users are managed by a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory (Domain Controller) and the “Security Update for Windows Server 2003 (KB3002657)” is installed. More information in Solution Id: S-068337.

Icon - EPDM Using SOLIDWORKS® Enterprise PDM 2015 SP0-SP2.1, what could cause the XML output file name to not include data card variable values in files created from a data export rule?
If you are using a data export rule and configure the output XML file name to include variable values from the file being processed, the variable values will not be included in the resulting file name.
This is a problem that affects SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM 2015 SP0 through SP2.1 and is reported under SPR 860753. This problem can be solved by the application of a hotfix. To resolve this issue, follow the steps in Solution Id: S-068423.

icon - Flow Simulation How can I overcome error “Can’t load function ‘ngp_msoffice.dll::?GetDefaultExcelFormat@ngp_msoffice@@YA?
The problem happens when several versions of SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation are installed and they try to launch a dll from another version. To resolve this issue, follow the steps in Solution Id: S-068323.

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That’s it for this month. Thanks for reading this edition of SOLIDWORKS Support News. If you need additional help with these issues or any others, please contact your SOLIDWORKS Value Added Reseller.

Also, comments and suggestions are welcome. You can enter them below.

Julien Boissat

Julien Boissat

Sr. Technical Customer Support Engineer, SolidWorks, EMEA at DS SolidWorks Corp.
I have been a Tech Support engineer for Simulation products since 2002. I was previously a product manager at SRAC, the original makers of COSMOS for those who remember that time! ;-). I am currently in charge of the content of the certification exams for simulation products. I also initiated and still author the Simulation Knowledge Base and participate as much as possible in the expansion and evolution of the SolidWorks Knowledge Base. Finally, I handle the SolidWorks Support Monthly News blog.