6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2012 2:33 PM by 1-56THY4

    Feature Works: Recognize Features Slow. Limiting Factor?

    Matthew Kusters

      We recieve a lot of .step files (many originally created in solidworks) that we open and use feature works on.  This takes a long time.  Primarily we use it for sheet metal parts, some machined.

       

      Anythign with a lot of holes/cutouts really seems to increase the time.

       

      I was wondering if which piece of hardware could be limiting how fast this is processing?

       

      I have looked at the processor while this is happening and it either doesn't seem to change or doesn't change much.  No one thread/core is maxed out during the process.  I have more than enough RAM.  I am wondering if the GPU is responsible for processing this?

       

      My system specs are:

      i7 3.07GHz processor

      12GB RAM I don't know the speed at the moment but it is probably 1200MHz at least.

      SSD (although I will not that the files being opened are not saved on the local SSD but a server harddrive)

      AMD Firepro V4900

       

      I will try to find a program that displays GPU usage to see if this is the limiting factor.  But just wondering if anyone knows how to speed this process up.  It can take 5-10 minutes+ for complex parts.

        • Re: Feature Works: Recognize Features Slow. Limiting Factor?
          Troy Peterson

          Anytime you are working off a network drive it is always going to be slower. Also what OS are you running?

          • Re: Feature Works: Recognize Features Slow. Limiting Factor?
            Anna Wood

            For a complex part I would think 5-10 minutes is pretty quick.  Think about what Feature Recognition is doing.  It needs to analysis every edge against every other edge in the part and decide what that edge is and how it relates to the other edges to come up with a solution of what feature it is.  Then it needs to create the feature.  Rinse and repeat.

             

            I am sure it is a cpu based process.  SolidWorks only uses the gpu to display the image on screen.  It is also likely single threaded.  Would seem to be tough to multi thread that process.

             

            If this is something you do often I would suggest getting a dedicated machine to run Feature Recognition on.  Then you can work on other things while it is chugging away.  The faster and more modern the cpu architecture the better.

             

            You may want to check if the SolidWorks Task Scheduler can help.  Maybe you can load up parts to run over night.

             

            FWIW,

             

            Anna

              • Re: Feature Works: Recognize Features Slow. Limiting Factor?
                Matthew Kusters

                I am just suprised that if it is a CPU based process that it doesn't max out one of the threads to work a little bit faster.  Yes it would make sense that it would be a linear process and a CPU would be most efficient.

                 

                Unfortunately times are tight and it is unlikely that I would be able to justify a second pc purhcase and solidworks license purchase.  But that is a good idea.

                 

                The task scheduler is also a good idea.  Not sure of all of the ins and outs and what is possible.  I know frequently we have to re-do the recognition process because the sheet metal recoginition comes up with errors and the settings have to be tweaked.  The CPU's of our programmers are the most modern archecture available (except not being the server Xenon but consumer grade), my machine is a generation behind.

                 

                I will still investigate the GPU loading.

              • Re: Feature Works: Recognize Features Slow. Limiting Factor?

                The limiting factor is that SolidWorks doesn't have the needed direct modeling tools to work efficiently with dumb solids.

                 

                I got tired of asking SolidWorks Corp. for the needed direct modeling tools to work on dumb solids and purchased SpaceClaim to augment SolidWorks. That I had to do this is pathetic but it did solve my problem and allows me to work with dumb solids in a much faster and much more efficient manner than FeatureWorks is capable of.

                 

                Jon Banquer

                CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn