Assembly Performance Evaluation in SOLIDWORKS 2018

One item that is always high on the priority list of development is assembly performance. Every SOLIDWORKS release we see new functionality coming available, like Large Design Review and SpeedPak in the past. But not everything can be solved with options like these, sometimes an engineer needs to model parts with less detail, so the overall assembly performance remains high. In SOLIDWORKS 2018 the Assembly Performance Evaluation tool is expanded, so you can better understand which parts should be simplified.

Performance Evaluation Tool

First of all, the Performance Evaluation tool is located at the Evaluate tab of the CommandManager:

Performance evaluation

After starting the tool, you will see the following pop-up menu:

SOLIDWORKS performance evaluation

Open Performance

The tool starts with information about Open Performance. Under Document Open File Details, it lists files by the amount of time required to open them in descending order. If some parts require a lot of time  to open, it is advised to open them separate to investigate the reason.

Display Performance

To get more grip on this reason you can use the second section about Display Performance. Under Graphics Triangles Details, the files are listed by the number of graphics triangles contained in the part. Note that files with less than 5000 graphics triangles are not listed. The number of graphics triangles is an indicator of the level of detail in a component. A high value can indicate a component with excessive detail such as 3D modelled threads, large patterns or extruded text. It is advisable to open these parts and to suppress these kind of details. If necessary, you can create a new configuration with this simplified state, so you can use this configuration in the top-level assembly.

Shaded Image Quality

Under Shaded Image Quality, you can find the files where image quality is medium-high or very high. Click Show These Files to view a list of affected files. Image quality has a big impact on the creation of graphics triangles, so a high image quality will result in a lot of graphics triangles for that part and will impact performance in the end. To change image quality, go to Tools > Options > Document Properties > Image Quality. In the Shaded and draft quality HLR/HLV resolution section, move the slider to the left for a lower image quality. It is advisable to save this setting in your part and assembly templates, so new files are created with the correct setting.

Appearance

Under Appearance, a warning is displayed when a file contains over 100 appearances applied to faces. Click Show These Files to view a list of affected files. Try applying appearances to bodies instead of faces to reduce the number of appearances, and improve performance.

Assembly Visualization

At the bottom of the Performance Evaluation menu, you can select Assembly Visualization to open the Assembly Visualization tool:

SOLIDWORKS assembly visualization

This visual representation can provide a better understanding based on the earlier mentioned properties, like Total Graphics-Triangles, Open Time and Rebuild Time.

Conclusion

For large assemblies it is always a good approach to model the parts with less detail. To get more insight in this level of detail, you can use the assembly Performance Evaluation tool to review properties like open time and the number of graphics triangles per part. Since this is an indication, you still need to decide which detail can be suppressed. As a rule of thumb, it is good to start with purchased components. These parts do not need extensive detail for manufacturing.

Written by Martijn Visser, Elite Application Engineer

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