We are using Solidworks 2010 SP3.1 64bit with the routing add-in for the design of a LNG (petrochemical) plant. We’re doing this design in corporation with another engineering company and we have in total 12 SW licenses (summing the licenses of both companies).
At the moment we have the feeling that we have reached the limits of the 3D model size (and therefore the software) and are losing a lot of time because of software problems (program crashes sometimes, or switching between windows takes a long time, editing routing sketches very slow, etc). We have tried a lot of things that also have been recommended on the forum, but even so we cannot make things go a lot faster.
The hardware we use cannot be improved much more, unless you are really buying a super computer. The only computer that is still able to open the entire 3D model of the plant without the need to use virtual memory, is a workstation with 8Gb of RAM memory, an i7 M620 CPU @ 2.67GHz and an Nvidia Quadro FX3800 graphics card (OS; Windows 7).
We have reached a point where we have to finish this project with this software, but we have a couple of new projects coming up and we are seriously considering changing to a more plant design orientated package such as smartplant, autoplant, cadworx, etc. These packages also are compatible with Isogen with which we would be able to generate the isometrics automatically, a thing that still is not working correctly with SW. We have contacts with other companies that use a plant design software packages and the engineering hours they need for designing a plant is considerably lower than the hours we need.
But before taking this step, we would like to know if there is somebody out there that does work with SolidWorks for plant design and that have good experiences with the piping add-in. If you are a satisfied user of SolidWorks and make plants of a similar size (>200 pipelines some with more than 150 elements per pipeline, >200 different support structures, etc). Maybe you can show us some tricks with which we can improve the stability and speed of the software a lot.
Our office is in Martorell, near Barcelona, Spain. Should we have to travel so visit somebody, this should not be a problem because it really is an urgent matter for us. However, it’s always preferable that it is in Europe (because of shorter distances and cheaper flights).