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Assembly rebuild times and AssemblyXpert

This video illustrates how to use SolidWorks AssemblyXpert and Assembly Visualization tools to analyse rebuild times in your assembly.

AssemblyXpert analyses performance of assemblies and suggests possible actions you can take to improve performance. It also provides you with information about your assembly.

The AssemblyXpert is available in any assembly file and can be accessed from Tools >> AssemblyXpert, or from the Evaluate Command Manager tab.

It performs a number of diagnostic tests in the background, and will present options to correct any issues if they are present (click on the names to view detailed descriptions from the SolidWorks Web Help):
  • Display Speed
    • Is the display speed too slow during dynamic operations such as moving components or rotating views?
  • In-Context Relationship Conflicts
    • Does a sub-assembly component have an in-context relationship to a component that has more than one configuration in the current assembly?
It also shows:
  • How many components in the assembly have been saved to the latest SolidWorks format
  • The number of components in resolved, lightweight, Speedpak or suppressed states
  • How many mates are evaluated in this level of assembly
  • Rebuild time of the full assembly
  • Information regarding the structure of the assembly including:
    • Total number of parts
    • Number of unique parts
    • Maximum depth (how many levels of sub-assemblies there are)
    • Number of bodies
The rebuild time of the assembly is a new feature in SolidWorks 2011. Clicking on the glasses icon will show the rebuild time for the assembly, broken down into sub-assembly rebuild time. Part rebuild times, in-context relationships between parts, and mates all contribute to the rebuild times shown. You can use these times to optimise those features that contribute most, such as reorganising mates.

Also notice that the top level assembly is included last in the list, as the mates in this assembly need to be re-evaluated after all of the sub-assemblies have been rebuilt. This ensures any changes from the rebuilds are accounted for in the top-level mates.

You can use these rebuild times to benchmark computer performance. Each computer will rebuild a given assembly at a different speed, so you can use a typical assembly that you work with to evaluate computer performance relative to each other. Make sure you are using the same performance options to ensure comparable results.

You can also use the information regarding the number of parts to work out how complex an assembly is. I would consider an assembly with 200 to 500 parts or more a “large assembly”. The uncertainty is based on the complexity of the parts (are they made of simple extrudes, or complex surfaces?) and/or whether those parts have multiple bodies. Check the number of bodies in the assembly to see if some parts contain a large number of bodies – for example large weldment parts, or assemblies that have been saved as a part will both be counted as one part, but contain many bodies. You can use these factors to help determine the “Large assembly mode” threshold.

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