6 Replies Latest reply on Oct 26, 2018 11:05 AM by Shawn Stugard

    My favorite tools: Assembly Visualization!

    Shawn Stugard

      Assembly visualization!


      I was thinking about SW tips that have really had an impact on how I work, and this has got to be in the top 10 for sure. I don't use it every day, or even every month, but when I need it, it’s amazing.

      AV can be an absolute lifesaver when you need to hunt down non-conforming parts in an assembly. It is my needle finder when the haystack become unmanageable. I’ll outline a few instances where it has saved the day.

      Case #1: Do I look like I put on some weight? I have an assembly with hundreds of parts and my mass seems way off. I setup AV to look at Mass and viola, I can very quickly see that some of the hardware is disproportionately heavy. Change the materials or monkey with the mass properties of the parts and we are back in business without having to look at every single part.

      Case #2: Stupid loooong rebuild time. I was working on an off-highway vehicle that at the top level took about an hour to open and was very slow to work with once it did open. I was tasked with speeding things up. So, I used AV to sort by rebuild time, exported to excel and then we had our "most wanted" list to fix. Just dealing with the top 10 worst rebuild times sped things up considerably. I remember one of the worst being a small piece of walkway tread that was modeled with every little detail shown. Just adding a simplified configuration to that part made a world of difference in performance.


      Case #3: Custom properties can be verified this way too. Before release of a large weldment (65,000lbs of steel!) it was critical that every component had the appropriate ECN number in the custom properties. AV to the rescue! Set it up to sort by ECN property and boom! All the bad actors are plain to see. Click em, change em, save em, move on.


      If anyone else has novel uses for AV I’d love to hear about them.


        • Re: My favorite tools: Assembly Visualization!
          Deepak Gupta

          In addition you can find parts with missing material, export the AV as excel file and many other formats.

          • Re: My favorite tools: Assembly Visualization!
            Steve Calvert

            I tend to use AV for checking the Graphics Triangles of my assy files so I can see who's slowing down the process.  I'll then go back and adjust that file and speed things up.  Thanks Alin Vargatu


            Steve C

            • Re: My favorite tools: Assembly Visualization!
              John Stoltzfus

              Shawn Stugard - For project information there is nothing quicker then using a modified macro that was written by Markku Lehtola - see the attached Excel macro.


              Using this macro allows me to read all the custom properties in a single folder and then I can easily change any custom property and write that information back into the files.  The only issue I have using the SW AV is the amount of rows that can be displayed, I have a couple hundred Custom Properties and I'd have to always be changing the column properties, using the macro allows me to see the whole picture in one file.

              • Re: My favorite tools: Assembly Visualization!
                Gordon Rigg

                I just had a look at this and found it SO disappointing!

                Maybe I'm missing something that can kick it into more action?


                Only a few columns of not very useful info are displayed by default. It doesn't even include number and description.

                Changes you make to the columns apply only to that assembly, so must be set up in your assembly template. But any existing assemblies will not have the information I decided I wanted to "visualize".


                • What decided which (tragically few and irrelevant)  columns I have by default?
                • Is there a way to make the useful columns I activated in my new assembly template appear in pre-existing assemblies?
                • Is there an assembly visualization template stored somewhere that could be applied to existing assemblies? like a bom template?
                • Is there a way to make it show all the custom properties that have been populated for components found in an assembly?


                Show all the possible information and then let it be customized to reduce it. Then it would be useful.

                As it is, it seems to be almost completely useless for my legacy data.

                Maybe a macro is possible that could be applied to existing assemblies and run through all my legacy data so that there is some useful functionality. Of course now I implemented PDM standard that sort of thing is a lot more difficult than it was.... but that is a different nasty and annoying subject.

                  • Re: My favorite tools: Assembly Visualization!
                    Shawn Stugard



                         I like the idea of being able to save a default setup, or at least to save presets that can be easily recalled. My usage of AV is infrequent, normally when I'm presented with an informational challenge. This type of info was available at my finger tips back when I used AdeptPDM. If I want to compare custom properties, material or mass of all the parts in an assembly I just browsed to it in Adept and I could see all the data in neatly arranged columns and change the data just as easily (not mass I suppose). This, in my mind, is a huge short coming of EPDM and I'm using AV to fill those gaps. I no longer have a subscription service linked to my account, so I cannot add to or vote on the SW2019 Top Ten list, but I'd encourage you to do so.