There are many ways you can improve interactive performance with large assembly design in Solid Edge. We’ve looked at five ways we can approach it from a macro level. Now we’re going to drill down and look at some specific ways large assembly design performance is improved for your 3D models when working in Solid Edge.
1. Use Structured Storage
Structured storage techniques for memory management enables Solid Edge to activate parts only as required, to allow creation of massive assemblies (and their associated drawings) of unprecedented size for mainstream modelers. Auto simplification of large assemblies, paired with fast drawing view performance, enables design and documentation of digital mockups.
It is not uncommon for Solid Edge assemblies to exceed 100,000+ parts in a top-level assembly file. Solid Edge large assembly technology supports real-world design working with large assemblies, tools that take automation and intuition to a new level to help designers across the world build and visualize their designs far more quickly than ever before.
On top of this, Solid Edge offers a version specifically designed to support 64-bit machines. This architecture can offer the biggest impact on large assemblies and drawing creation as more memory can be installed, giving 64-bit applications the ability to open these large files. When sufficient memory is installed, this hardware platform can increase performance as there is less chance that the model will consume system memory and access virtual memory (the hard drive).
2. Use Zones
In our last article, we talked about simplified assembly representations. Zones make working with massive assemblies even more manageable and boost performance, allowing designers to define a permanent range box to isolate areas of large designs they are responsible for at a subsystem level. Intelligent caching allows retrieval of only the parts in the zone, without having to open component files to determine if they lie in the zone or not. This creates a significant performance boost when switching zones or opening a massive assembly.
3. Use Smart Selection Tools
Quickly selecting components to work with is convenient and reduces fatigue. Solid Edge provides powerful tools that quickly select relevant parts and turn off any unneeded parts, ensuring an understandable design environment. By unloading all undisplayed parts from memory, valuable resources are released.
2D and 3D range box – Simply drag a range box around the display and any parts inside the box are highlighted. The 3D range box is slightly different in that a component is selected, and then a range box is set for height, width and depth.
Select all identical parts – Selects all the parts in the assembly which are identical to the selected part.
Select small parts – Selects parts based on a size indicated by the cursor on screen. Parts that are smaller than the box are selected.
Select visible parts – Selects parts that are fully or partially visible in the active window at its current view orientation. This gives you the ability to ‘peel’ away the external components, moving progressively into a design from the outside.
Query select – Allows you to search on part properties like categories, keywords, document number or any other Solid Edge document property including any custom properties that have been added.
Select options – Provides the ability to not only ‘show and hide’ the components, but also ‘show only’ as well as zoom to the selected part or scroll to part which will expand the pathfinder assembly structure.
Display configurations – Allow display states of assemblies to be stored and saved for quick, easy access at any other time.
4. Use Simplified Parts and Assemblies
Using a simplified version of complex parts can significantly reduce the amount of detail that needs to be viewed and worked with. Engineers can better visualize the design and also gain display performance. The simplify technology in Solid Edge allows design engineers to de-feature parts – by detail, type or size of feature – without deleting the design intent. By storing both the designed and simplified views, engineers can quickly switch between ‘as designed’ and ‘simplified’ at will. Unlike more traditional methods, simplifying the features in the part does not break or remove any assembly relationships that rely on those features.
Capabilities such as simplified assemblies use a proprietary algorithm to automatically determine which external faces need to be displayed to give an accurate representation of the assembly. It then saves a simplified representation. Useful not only for speeding up large assemblies, auto simplify can also be used to protect intellectual property by removing pertinent details. A vast improvement over traditional “lightweight assemblies,” simplified assemblies allows positioning of complex subassemblies within master assemblies and the ability to switch between simplified and detail views at will. Simplified assemblies enable Solid Edge to create lightning-fast 2D drawing views from 3D assemblies.
5. Use Hybrid 2D/3D Design
Not all design concepts lend themselves to be solved entirely in 3D. Solid Edge provides the flexibility to create a product structure before creating files or deciding their position. The unique Hybrid 2D/3D design approach means engineers create virtual product structures using Zero D to mix and match real and virtual components with 2D sketches and 3D parts to design more efficiently.
Initial design concepts do not require any geometry to be created; Solid Edge frees designers from the overhead of creating geometry or files to create a product structure. We tend to think of design data as being a mix of 2D geometry and 3D models but, before either of these exists, another piece of information needs to be created. This is the assembly structure. For example, a lead engineer may sketch out what assemblies and components are to be used as a start point for a new design. There may even be some part numbers reserved and some other non-graphic information referenced such as materials or supplier names. But at this point it is a structure only. Nothing has been drawn or modeled. This is exactly what Solid Edge virtual structure is all about.
What do you do to improve large assembly performance? We would love to know how you approach it. In the meantime, you can learn more about how to apply each of these techniques in your assemblies with our free guide.