10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 2, 2015 8:55 AM by Andy Sanders

    Who deals with large assemblies and how do you handle those large assembly designs?

    Frank Ruepp

      In Solidworks we do have several tools that can help you handle large assemblies.  Namely Lightweight, Large Assembly Mode, Large Design Review, Speedpak and some of you will likely manually create simplified sub-assemblies.  I am wondering who uses which tools in order to speed up assembly performance and which experience you have got with those tools.  Or perhaps you have other means to speed up your assembly design process and I would like to learn about it.


      Any feedback is highly appreciated!


      Kind regards

      Frank Ruepp

      R&D SOLIDWORKS, Product Definition Manager

        • Re: Who deals with large assemblies and how do you handle those large assembly designs?
          Swapnil Dhake



          With Defeature command, SWX produces simplifiedd part (IT's better than "Save as part") from assembly and those can be used to create layouts.

          Obviously you have use the correct configuration of assembly (like doors open/doors closed in case of guarding) as you can not change them later.

          • Re: Who deals with large assemblies and how do you handle those large assembly designs?
            Roberto Martinotti

            Hi Frank


            I'm working often with 50-100 Mb ass'y. Started with SW 2012


            Never used lightweight


            Always using LAM but this is less useful with SW 2015 : if I don't load the ass'y as "fully loaded" when i make a "save as " with a new filename SW2015 often hangs during drawing saving.

            i could use LAM on SW2015 only for file wiewing or update with the same filename.


            LDR was used for some weeks after SW2014 installation . But any sub-ass'y work (i.e. a bad mate reading ) required the re-opening of the sub assy concerned as LAM or FL . Then LDR looked not so useful and was abandoned


            Speedpak was promising but I discovered that sketches used in the ass'y sometimes lose mating with speedpak's features.

            After some sketch reconstruction it has not been used anymore.


            I use often specific configurations of the sub-assy with associated display state.

            then minor parts are not shown or loaded on this configurations / display state .

            Hiding unused sub assy helps a lot during assembly work to speed-up handling


            But i'm getting some problems with SW2015 and large ass'y:


            Some assy don't accept the addition of a subassembly, SW2015 just crash at this moment. Haven't totally find how and why

            On some assy (not all) file size has increased 3x from 2014 and a good workstation is now very slow.


            Kind Regards



              • Re: Who deals with large assemblies and how do you handle those large assembly designs?
                Peter De Vlieger

                As Roberto we have tried various possibilities.


                Speedpak although nice concept ended up being more work then it was worth for us because in the end, no matter during design or during checking, there comes a point that you want to be able to measure between entities. That plus the fact that modifications to the ASM of which one made a speedpak meant one had to edited the speedpak.


                Large Design Review is the one we tended to use when opening a bigger ASM.


                However we came to the conclusion that anything that makes one load a top-ASM with the sub-ASM's in lightweight has an inherent danger, namely if an top-ASM is saved while sub-ASM's are lightweight then one will indeed see the latest version of that top-ASM and the most recent versions of the sub-ASM's in SW but when opening that top-ASM directly in edrawings then one can end up seeing a version of the sub-ASM before the latest chances on those sub-ASM's.

                We know that because we ran into it when one person was seeing something different than another although both had opened the exact same top-ASM.

                It was only when we resolved the sub-ASM's in that top-ASM and re-saved that top-ASM one more time that in edrawings one actual saw the most current version of everything.


                Which means that we in general use Large Asm Mode when needed but that we try to avoid any of it by designing everything very modular. This means that the actual designing happens in ASM's that are as small as possible (only containing the utmost in it) which we then insert in top level ASM's to have the big picture as well as being able to check for any problems or conflicts.


                The time lost for making everything so modular one gains very quickly when using routing extensively.

              • Re: Who deals with large assemblies and how do you handle those large assembly designs?
                Frank Ruepp

                Hi Roberto, Hi Peter,


                thanks a lot for responding.  It is very interesting to hear first hand your experiences with the tools that we designed to speed up large assembly work.


                Thanks a lot

                Kind regards


                • Re: Who deals with large assemblies and how do you handle those large assembly designs?
                  Frank Ruepp

                  I am currently in contact with some customers and we are discussing concepts how to speed up large assembly design.  My actual preferred solution is the manual creation of simplified configurations where the simplified assembly relies on a fully featured configuration and I am removing (suppressing) all the unimportant parts.  My argument is that you will definitely require a fully featured configuration in order to get the correct drawing/BOM.  However you likely do not need all that detailed information when you use the assembly as a sub-assembly in the next level in the assembly hierarchy.

                  I know that this requires some manual work but on the other hand this will give you complete control over your design.  I am using tools like advanced selection in order to speed up the selection process.  You can set up queries like "select all components where the component volume is less than 1000 mm^3 AND that have a "standard component" property".  You can save those queries and you can add them to your selection tools.  Simple queries like this really speed up the selection process and with it minimize the required time to create those simplified configurations.

                  I recently did a consulting visit at a customer's site and I did such an assembly simplification with quite good results.

                  In addition I am using Assembly Visualization in order to determine if all components are converted to the current version, if there are any under-defined sub-assemblies, how many graphics triangles (it is a measure how difficult it is to calculate and display a component on the screen), any flexible sub-assemblies and other criteria.

                  With it, opening time went down significantly and all operations like adding components, mating components, delete components, toggle between windows were improved and the performance gain was significantly measurable.


                  Are you using similar workflows?