AnsweredAssumed Answered

Poor performance of drawing files and excel BOM

Question asked by 1-E7U6I6 on Jul 3, 2008
Latest reply on Jul 10, 2008 by Andrew Hallas
Hi all,
Ive been reading these forums for a little while now but first post here so go easy!
I started a new job about 4 months ago, at a company where they use SW. I am relatively new to the software, used it a little at uni before I came here but Im an extremely fast learner when it comes to computer software and have picked it up very quickly. I was previously drafting for a few years in Autocad.

So anyway the company I work for has been using Solidworks for well over 18 months now, and it seems like ever since day one there has been big issues with drawing files. From what I can tell there has never been a history of having problems with parts and assemblies, and definately no problems since I have been here, only drawings. The biggest issues we have are:

- VERY slow opening of drawings across the network (used to be up to an hour for a drawing, this has gotten better but still 5-10 minutes is slow IMO)
- VERY slow creation of excel based BOM, editing them, moving them etc.
- VERY slow creation of annotation balloons, it could take up to a minute to create one or even move one

I'll give you a run down of our system first as I think there are a few issues at play here causing these problems.
Originally there were only 2 users of solidworks here until I came along, so now we have 3 machines running solidworks.

Specs are:
2 machines running Intel Core 2 Duo 6400 @ 2.13GHz, 4GB RAM (reading 3.25 as were on 32bit XP), NVIDIA Quadro FX 1500 using drivers downloaded from SW from what I have been told. One of these was only running 2GB RAM until recently but there doesnt seem to be much difference upgrading it.
1 machine running Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 @ 2.66 GHz, 4GB Ram, NVIDIA Quadro 3450/4000. Originally was installed with 32bit XP but recently 32bit Vista has been trialled but no differences noted

We are running on a 1Gbps network, with files stored on a local server in our office. We do not run PDM. Suggestions have been made to use PDM by our reseller here in Aus, but there has also been some hesitation as well as we dont think that our issue is the fact we dont have PDM. As far as I know PDM was trialled before I was here and there was no difference to the speed at which drawings opened, and PDM will also interfere with our company's drawing revision system, hence why we're not persuing it just yet. Also there is another customer in our area who has 5 seats of solidworks over a network and are running fine without PDM. Our office is small enough that we know who is working on what drawing so we dont see file management as that big a concern at present. We are not completely ruling it out, but its been trialled before so it may be another issue that we have.

The models we work with can get quite large, but not large compared to say car manufacturers I have been told. We design and build garbage trucks, compactors and so forth, so some of our truck assemblies can have a few hundred parts, but our reseller has said that's still not all that big compared to some other customers.

One of the really odd things about our scenario is our reseller brought in one of their computers, a shuttle, which we have been using for around a month now. This computer has not experienced problems to the extent our other computers have. It opens drawings faster, it opened drawings that had not been opened for months because our computers couldnt do it! It created large excel BOMs that our computers couldnt create, our computers would just freeze and say "not responding".
Shuttle specs are: Intel Core 2 6600 @ 2.4GHz, 2GB RAM, NVIDIA Quadro 1500. Generally this computer was a little slow, but still managed to open drawings that our fastest computer couldnt. Recently it seems to have slowed down a little, and we have noticed after all our computers were reformatted they work fine for a little while, but after a few days they slow down quite a lot.

Some drawings that are struggling over the network worked fine saved to the computer, and then after a while they struggled again saved on the computer, and had slow opening issues, slow excel BOM issues and slow balloon issues, so it seems the network worsens the issues, but isnt the cause of the issues.

Recently I found that some of the property names used in part files had spaces in them, and I read in the help files that you cant have spaces when linking to excel BOM. I have since fixed this but this hasnt solved any issues. The balloons were fast at one stage, but I got a few going slow again yesterday so I dont think its cured it.

I have also had IT activate the /3GB switch on my machine, as well as PAE, as we noted the shuttle had PAE running on it. This has not made any difference.

Our computers have been reformatted and had SW and office reinstalled numerous times by IT trying to resolve the problems, to the point where my machine has been taken off the domain and does not have email, virus protection, internet or any other programs. Just the bare basics and there are no real improvements noticed.

Other issues I have been researching over the past few days include hyperthreading of intel core 2 processors. I disabled this in my comptuer BIOS (well I disabled one of the cores somehow anyway) and this doesnt seem to make any difference. I have also disabled indexing of xml fiels in windows desktop search, and then disabled indexing all together and this doesnt seem to make any difference.

The other odd thing we have noticed is that drawings SEEM to open faster with out the excel BOM (granted we havent given this weeks to trial). Excel BOMs are an integral part of our manufacturing drawings and they tie in with our build lists. We do not wish to use standard BOM as it will make life hard, and believe there are other users out there using excel BOM without issues. When we use large excel BOMs in drawings, its almost like excel freezes in teh background and becomes unusable, and so then SW becomes unusable.

I am sure there is a lot of detail I have left out as this problem has been going on so long and a lot things have been tried to fix it.
Please ask as many questions as you like, I really hope you guys can help us out here because we need it fixed. Its been impacting on production for too long now.