A SolidWorks Performance Story.

We are a medium sized progressive die shop who has been trying to migrate over to SolidWorks from Autocad for about a year. The ride has been slow and frustrating. We design large highly surfaced stampings with a majority of our data coming in IGES. We chose Solidworks over the competitors on a basis of price and what seemed to be very good functionality through our salespersons demos. We were promised a 40% increase in productivity from what our current system was. If you ever take a look at SolidWorks adds they say about the same. My first few designs were run on Solidworks 2004 with all the required service packs installed (seems like their were around 100 of them) with very slow performance. I contacted my AE with my problems: Slow Assembly performance, slow mate times, slow rotation, extremely slow 2D Performance. My system requirements were at the top of SolidWorks recommendations. How could this be? We tried everything. Large Assembly Mode, Lightweight Components, Detached Drawings. If a CAD system has to have all these options it should say something about its performance out of the box. Autocad, the last time I checked, doesn't have a large drawing dumb down button. By the end of all the checking and testing they notified me that it must be the way that I modeled my assembly and it had nothing to do with SW performance. They hadn't heard of any problems similar to mine. I must have been dreaming. SW is better. SW is better. SW is better. That's what their salespeople are trained to force-feed you. I was still feeling pretty good about the product until our SW salesperson told myself and a colleague that he wasn't going to waste any more valuable time diagnosing our problems if were weren't committed to purchasing the remaining 3 seats we were looking to buy. OUCH!!!! Strike #1.

Low and behold the introduction of SW2005. They have a new feature. Can you guess what it is? It's a new slider bar under the PERFORMANCE settings called Level of Detail. That solved about 30% of my problems in the 3D performance arena. My other performance increase came by the way of mate times. When I had my AE do testing with me in SW 2004 I was having mate times upwards of around 30 seconds. It must have been the way I modeled my assembly I was told. Wrong! I loaded the same design into 2005 and tested the same mates. They were instantaneous in 2005. No waiting. I contacted my AE and told him about it. He tested it and had the same results. Hmmmmmm, SolidWorks doesn't state anything in the list of improvements for 2005 regarding increased mate performance. Was I dreaming again? SW is better. SW is better. SW is better. I would challenge any SW user to test mating between

2004 and 2005 on a large complex assembly. Have fun! Strke #2.

I think my third and final strike with the software is coming as I write this. It is something that has plagued me with SolidWorks from the onset and it regards 2D performance. SW2004 and SW2005 have a bad case of the "I don't do 2D" syndrome. Our industry still relies heavily on prints. Our diemakers build from these sheets and rely heavily on notes and section views. We cut anywhere from 6-12 sections through a die assembly. We label each component in the section views and the Autoballoon function works really well to start. Once you load up that many 2D sheets in this software your in for the long haul. Expect 10 minute load times and gathering any information is like pulling teeth. And just wait until you find a screw up. Reload the model and change. Now wait another 10-15 minutes for all your 2D sheets to update. I could have stretched and pulled in 2D in a fraction of the time. The only way this software can function is if the 2D is translated into a 2D system. I think Solidworks knows this and that's why they have products like E drawings and now they have the 2D emulator. Which I might add doesn't work very well with detail unless you're trying to converse a box. If any of you SW jocks out their are still brainwashed to the SW is better thinking take a look at PROE's new document titled: The 10 Ways that SolidWorks Slows You Down. Check it out. It underlines everything I've just stated. Don't get me wrong. I can model just about anything in SolidWorks pretty fast now with the mysterious improvements in SW2005. The package as a whole however still needs work. Up to this point utilizing SW for doing everything I am 125% slower over my 2D package. If you can muster doing 3D in SW and 2D in Autocad I think you'll have a winning package. The search still continues for us on an all around solution however.

Reply to
Brian
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Sorry to hear. I had a professor that I trained back in the day, and he loved SolidWorks for progressive die design as well as his students. You can only imagine that their computers were not top notch. They actually did complicated stuff for their final designs. Wish you luck. Have you had your VAR bring in the regional technical manager from SolidWorks? Or try briniging in another VAR to help. They may have a fresh idea to help.

Ken M.

Reply to
kmaren24

students.

I agree the regional guys need contact, and then maybe the crew @ Swks Hdqrtrs.

If I were going to design planes or complicated multi-step blanking dies, I think I would look to the 3D software salesman for each product to take me to 2 vendors who already do such products, to interview their CAD or IT guys (not to steal technology). In other words, I want to see results before I buy the software.

Bo

Reply to
Bo

Brian,

The first thing new users should understand is that they don't know everything. The second thing you need to know is that the application engineer at the local reseller is not always the best person to diagnose problems. Even the SW direct guys are just going to tell you when you have found bugs, and otherwise may try to talk you out of whatever problem you're complaining about. None of these people are really well equipped to help you with modeling best practice, although they can usually criticize things they don't understand pretty well. Some resellers have someone who is highly experienced in both the software and real world design, and that's the kind of person you want to find. Keep in mind that about 20% of people who call themselves experts really are experts.

100 service packs? Surely you mean something closer to 1? All of the Service Packs can be installed in a single shot if the people installing them have any clue what they're doing.

You say you tried "everything", but you didn't mention anything about working locally instead of on the network, understanding in-context relations, anti-virus software, wise use of subassemblies for mates or using multiple drawings instead of multi-page drawings.

I'm curious how your highly productive 2D scheme deals with the "highly surfaced stampings"?

SolidWorks certainly leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to drawings, but it could also be that working slightly differently with this tool would give better results. The first thing you need to examine is your use of in-context features. This is something that mold and die designers are particularly susceptible to. It's like a length of rope, you either use it to pull yourself through or use it to hang yourself.

There are some other hints on my website,

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If you are serious about making this work, I would offer to come to your site. If I can't help you because the software is really as much of a disaster as you say, I'll eat all of my expenses and my time, and you owe me nothing. If I am able to help you more than a little, standard rates apply. I guess it's kind of a bet.

I apologize if you find this overly critical, but I see it frequently where a new user comes out criticizing everything that doesn't work like Autocad or like they imagine it should, and later eats his words because for better or for worse, using parametric history based modelers is not something you can approach thoughtlessly. There are a lot of things to understand which may not be simple, and may not fit your ideas of how they "should" work. After using the software for 8 years, I'm still learning things.

Good luck,

Matt

Reply to
matt

Well writen Matt. I wonder if he is still listening.

Ken M.

Reply to
kmaren24

Matt,

Thank you very much for this post. I couldn't have said it better myself...

Regards, Jeremy Jaeger

matt wrote:

diagnose

installing

"highly

length

standard

Reply to
SxWx

Though what you say is for the most part true that doesn't change the fact that SolidWorks drawing and large assembly performance is absolutely horrible. I've been using SWX for 7 years for 3 different employers and through two different VARs. Greg Jankowski himself met with us to deal with problems we were having. Do you know how many real solutions we got? Zero! There are problems with SWX that have been around for years and haven't been solved.

Personally I think SWX is a waste of money, if you're doing any real modelling with large assemblies and you want drawings that don't look like garbage then DO NOT buy SWX. I can't speak for mold makers etc. but based on my experience I can't honestly say SWX is good for much. I do know that the original poster should be happy he's not dealing with assemblies or he'd really know the SolidWorks pain.

I apologize if you find this overly critical, but I see it f=ADrequently, SWX VARs and consultants heaping on the praise in spite of obvious and unaddressed shortcomings.

Devlin

Reply to
rockstarwallyMYAPPENDIX

I agree with Matt, lol, :-P

When I entered the SW world, (2003 office Pro), I admit, I slated SW, (even after), I had done the training. I still have problems with it, but with my VAR, (whose receptionist's know me well!, lol), I can find out if the problem is me or the software.

It is at around 8 to 2, my fault to sw's fault at the moment, with SW2005.

Take a look at matt's and other people's websites, I have learnt a whole lot from these websites and the posting's here. If you see a link, grab it and add it to your favourites, you never know when it will come in handy!

Yes I agree, Sw is still too slow, to do very large assemblies, (500 plus parts), but I think this is because of all of the junk stored in each file, running ecosqeeze, drastically reduces the work time and the rebuild times. If you do not use Edrawings, turn off that save in document feature, this helps a lot too.

Reply to
pete

snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote in news:1107373579.833704.167980 @o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com:

Hmmm. You know, for the same post where you say I'm "heaping praise", I'll get an email from someone at SW asking why I keep bashing the software. I guess you see what you want to see.

If you read what I wrote, you will not see anything positive about the software at all, I'm sorry you construe it differently. What I advocate is that expertise and flexibility can trump limitations and closed-mindedness. This is true regardless of software brand.

Take the u-joint assembly from the SW samples folder that installs with the software. Make a hidden line isometric drawing view of the assembly. In the last 5 releases or more, you see extra lines that shouldn't be there. Should I go on praising the software? If you can't work around that, then you're just going to complain, maybe rightly so.

The difference I guess is between people who offer excuses and people who deliver.

Matt

Reply to
matt

Take the U-joint you refer to, why should we have to continually find workarounds to problems that SolidWorks simply won't fix? It's not that I can't make good drawings with SolidWorks, I do. The problem lies in the fact that I have to constantly battle it's shortcomings. Shortcomings that have been known issues for a LONG time.

SWX continues to release garbage software that gets SLOWER all the time. The files get bigger and though they add new functionality it's usually unrefined and at the expense of addressing existing problems.

Anyone can certainly use SWX, my position is that many (most?) users would be better off looking at some other software packages.

Somebody else posted that assemblies of 500 parts etc. are tough to work with. I can remember being in a sales demo and being told that SolidWorks supports assemblies of up to 10,000 parts! HA! That'll be the day. We currently run assemblies up to 5,000 parts and it's absolute torture trying to work with them.

Is SWX suitable for this? No. Were we told it was? Yes.

To top it off the support is a joke too. Of all the problems I've sent to our VAR I don't really think I've ever had them give me a solution. In fact I usually give them a solution before I hear back from them. It's to the point that we don't even communicate with our VAR anymore regarding support/problems.

And when it's referred to SWX you'll be lucky if you hear back in a month and when you do 9 out of 10 times you only get an SPR No. I'm done ranting.

Devlin

Reply to
rockstarwallyMYAPPENDIX

'people who offer excuses and people who deliver'

like SW themselves... who are people who offer no explanations unless cornered and end up delivering twice,three times or way late. ;o) just stirring...

Reply to
neil

diagnose

installing

"highly

length

standard

Reply to
Brian

Well written RockStar. We were all told the same stuff regarding assembly size. We were also sold on the fact that a competitor was using the product and had incorporated 6 seats the first time they ran it. I contacted that competitor after we started having problems only to find out that they were migrating to Catia. Still the VAR used their name in sales tactics.

Reply to
Brian

If you believed something a salesman told you without checking it out, then the joke's on you, sorry. As for the 10,000 part assemblies, well, that's true, you can work with large assemblies like that in SW, I've made them and done it. There are a lot of things you should pay attention to when you do that, though,

- in-context sparingly

- in general, external reference issues are the thing most likely to make large assemblies hard to deal with

- don't use mates to patterned instances

- don't use mates to assembly features or any time-dependent assembly item if possible

- don't make hundreds or thousands of parts/mates at the top level

- don't insert/mate hundreds/thousands of parts and mate them instead of patterning

- don't display lots of tiny detailed geometry in the top level

- avoid wireframe display modes, including shaded with edges

- turn off verification on rebuild

- turn off the back up/autorecover

- turn off the thumbnail graphics

- turn off the edrawings data in SW

- turn off the update mass props

- other stuff...

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user groups link, rules of thumb link

Should you "have to" know all of this to run SW? I don't know, maybe there really is a moral absolute standard for CAD software, but I haven't seen it. All I know is that the more I can do, the more valuable I am to people who pay for help. Complaining about software doesn't pay the mortgage, competence with tools does.

If you don't like the limitations SW saddles you with, go use Pro/E or UG or SE or IV or whatever. I guarantee you'll find yourself right back at the crying table in short order with different complaints, but the same exact problem. Learn to deal with it, cuz anything that you pick has salesmen that lie and bugs that don't get fixed.

matt

Reply to
matt

Your large assemblies are definitely the problem, I didn't realize you were running surch large assemblies. The theme I've noticed on this NG is that those who make individual parts and small assys think SWX is great, those that make large assemblies know otherwise.

Reply to
rockstarwallyMYAPPENDIX

Brian:

You should take Matt up on his offer. NO ONE has solved the large assembly problems of SolidWorks. If Matt does it he'll have accomplished what even SWX themselves haven't been able to do.

matt wrote....

"If you are serious about making this work, I would offer to =ADcome to your site. If I can't help you because the software is really as=AD much of a disaster as you say, I'll eat all of my expenses and my time=AD, and you

owe me nothing. If I am able to help you more than a little=AD, standard rates apply. I guess it's kind of a bet."

Matt:

As far as your suggestions for assemblies go I've heard them all before and they've mostly been implemented. We have virtually no in-context or external reference issues. Everything is subassemblies as much as possible and we use no fasteners at all (rare exceptions).

If you've actually used assemblies with 10,000 parts then you should know what I'm talking about. Working in large assy mode is a joke. Turning off shaded edges helps but it's harder selecting items etc. and I find you end up toggling back and forth.

SWX tanks on large assys, simple as that.

As for "If you don't like the limitations SW saddles you with, go us=ADe Pro/E or UG or SE or IV or whatever." yes, that's what we're doing.

However we have people here that have worked on SE but most of the guys have worked with Pro/E. The opinion based on recent real experience working on real drawings and assemblies (read large) is that SWX is a pig compared to Pro/E.

"All I know is that the more I can do, the more valuable=AD I am to people who pay for help. "

Of course, and the more problems with SWX that users have the more they need the help of people like yourself. You'd be out of business if SWX worked as promised.

Reply to
rockstarwallyMYAPPENDIX

It has improved a lot if that's any consolation, but you're right, the 2D is the weakest link by far. When I had that problem, I used separate drawing files instead of a multiple sheet single drawing. That will help quite a bit. I used to be CAD admin at an photonics company and did a lot of wiring enclosures which had up to 500 parts.

Have you ever designed a part with more than 5 features?

These days I do work mainly on small plastics assemblies (under 50 parts, but very often over 200 features per part) when I'm doing real design work, but when I have gone to help other users with the issues you are bringing up, I have worked with machine and die design. Very large assemblies (I've seen up to about 15k parts where the assembly was actually usable) are certainly doable, but you have to be disciplined and know what you're doing. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Believe me, I learn new stuff every project because I make mistakes and try to understand what went wrong and how to improve next time.

In my last project, I had to make a dolly to fit a bucket with a bit of a gap in some areas and face to face contact in others. Immediately I thought of the 2005 Indent function, but it didn't work because of some funky geometry in the part. I thought my only recourse was to offset surfaces in context and then extend/trim them to simplify the model, and rebuild face by face using surface features. It was absolutely terrible. Every little change to the bucket meant I was going back through and rebuilding the dolly. Very frustrating. After a while I thought of a different way (rollback, offset, insert part) and now it is rock solid through all the changes. Different type of design, same issue as what you are dealing with.

Well, then it's simple. If this is really the case, your boss should be pleading with you to go back to Autocad. Or on the other hand he might just turn around and hire somebody who can get the benefits out of the more advanced tool, deal with the limitations, and get it done in a week.

matt

Reply to
matt

Matt:

You earlier stated the offer and followed with this statement.

"Well, then it's simple. If this is really the case, your bo=ADss should be pleading with you to go back to Autocad. Or on the other ha=ADnd he might just turn around and hire somebody who can get the benefits out o=ADf the more advanced tool, deal with the limitations, and get it done in=AD a week."

Matt:

I'll gladly send you some files and see if you can get it done in a week. I'll even send you a reference assembly with the 2D sheets the way we like them. Just remember Matt that designing a progressive die is going to be a little bit more difficult than designing a Top Hat.

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When you get it done in a week with all the sheets needed I'll gladly buy your new book: Matt Lombard Saves Solidworks.

Reply to
Brian

Matt:

You earlier stated the offer and followed with this statement.

"Well, then it's simple. If this is really the case, your bo=ADss should be pleading with you to go back to Autocad. Or on the other ha=ADnd he might just turn around and hire somebody who can get the benefits out o=ADf the more advanced tool, deal with the limitations, and get it done in=AD a week."

Matt:

I'll gladly send you some files and see if you can get it done in a week. I'll even send you a reference assembly with the 2D sheets the way we like them. Just remember Matt that designing a progressive die is going to be a little bit more difficult than designing a Top Hat.

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When you get it done in a week with all the sheets needed I'll gladly buy your new book: Matt Lombard Saves Solidworks.

Reply to
Brian

Very funny :)

Best of luck in Autocad.

Matt

Reply to
matt

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