Much of the past few days has been devoted to understanding top-down configuration driven design, with success in the end! As I've never seen this capability mentioned, and in the hope it helps others understand another aspect of SolidWorks capabilities, my sample files are attached.
The purpose of this was to see if SolidWorks would update the design of an adapter between some Rotork actuators and Crane butterfly valves. There are two examples of SolidWorks updating parts based upon other 'configured' parts in these files.
Open the configDrivenDesign-Rotork-Crane.SLDASM file. It is set up with a 24" Crane valve, and there is a 1/2" Woodruff-like key in its shaft. In the CraneFBV01 assembly, these can be changed, and the model will change accordingly. Change the configuration of the 'WoodruffKeys' part, and the shaft of the valve will update for the new key. (In reality, the key size is based upon the model, not independent, but I was having fun.) Also, change the configuration of the 'drivingSkeleton' (which is an invisible part) and the bolt pattern in the square tubing will update to meet the flange configuration. I got tired, and didn't make the coupler automatically update, although it would not be too hard to add.
If you ever do this, one word of advice: drive your circles with lines. See the pin hole in the shaft for an example of what I'm talking about. If you don't, your model will get red marks all over its design tree because SolidWorks seems to project the '=' circles onto the plane of the new part, and when you unfix and then mate your individual parts, and then 'spin' them, the circle no longer projects as a circle, but a line still will be a line.
I'm not marking this post as a question, although I do have some. If you feel like answering them, and you want the points, I will be happy to post new threads with the individual questions, you can reply 'see my answer in this thread', and I'll mark it as answered.
For instance, one of my biggest is whether anyone knows if Inventor can do what I've done in this example. Googling 'top down configuration driven design autodesk inventor' doesn't quickly reveal anything. My next step is to figure this out there, and any time-saving advice is appreciated.
Another is whether I'm missing something simple in SolidWorks that would make this easier.
Also, is it possible to enable the 'live dragging' (or whatever it is called) in the configDrivenDesign-Rotork-Crane.SLDASM file so that the valve will open and close while the Rotork actuator moves? In the individual assembly files they are freely movable, but when they were incorporated into the main assembly file it became impossible to move one item and have the others live update. You can 'edit' the individual assemblies, and move the disk, etc., but when back out at the master level they can't be moved any more. (I can see how by bringing every individual part into a main assembly file, but I shudder at the thought, especially with something more complicated.)