Need suggestions for Conveyor Plant layout

I'm engaged in a project where I'm working on designing of conveyors. The conveyor ranges from 10 meters to 25 meters long. I have to design
a plant layout where I will be using 5-6 conveyors. Now if I design the complete conveyor system, the file become very heavy and there are too many details which will have to be made just for plant layout hence a time consuming job. At present the other people are using AutoCAD for the same purpose. They use blocks to design the plant layout which is not much time consuming. But the task what I have been given is do the same in the 3D.
Now I need suggestions/ ideas from everyone. I'm thinking of designing the full conveyor systems in single part using excels tables/ configurations and then call the different types of conveyors (made individually as single part but with varying dimensions, means 1 single part for each type of conveyor) in the assembly and mate them as per requirements.
What you suggest for the same.
Thanks & Regards
Deepak Gupta
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I would save the (somewhat simplified) conveyor assy as a part, to be used for plant layout. Much lighter to move around... HIH JM
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We do a lot of this, and always using very simple models of the conveyors and machines. I use to put in a texture on the belt itself to give it a more realistic look. It doesnt take many minutes to draw up a simple model of a conveyor so it's almost easier then to save the whole assy as a part. To save detailed assys as parts can give quite big files as well.
// Krister
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In addition to the other posts, I would say use a single sketch to define the layout of all the conveyors, and use this to drive the 3D geometry of each one.
This could be a sketch in the assy, or a "sketch-only" part in the assy, and then use in-context relations to define the individual conveyor features/parts.
John H
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Thanks Jean, Krister & John
Thanks for the suggestions.
Jean I feel saving Assy as a part will be helpful once but for making any changes, I have to modify the part in the main assy and then again save as part. Krister if possible can u send me some file which you have made so that i can have a look for better understanding. John, never gave a thought on it. I feel it will be easy to handle the final layout easily but not sure till I give it a try.
Thanks & Regards
Deepak Gupta
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Hi Deepak
Our plant layouts can be pretty heavy with a lot of our own machines, a lot or piping and additional conveyors from subcontractors. Normally we try to photo render the whole thing and put it all into a PP- presentation. Earlier we tried to save our own machine models as just one part....but too many parts were visable so the file size increased heavily. That took us back again to simple models, but with many configuarations so it's easy to show different postitions of the machines.I don't know what kind of conveyors You're dealing with, ours are normally belts in various lengths and configurations. This layuot is now up to 2200 components, even though most of it is just simple copies from the real model. As John sais, a layout sketch in the main assy to drive the base of the conveyor, could be an idea, I use that way of working myself for our pipings, coz the customer tends to move the machines around a little during the "build up phase". We do all our preentations in 3D and also using a program called NavisWorks to make a "walk-through" but also for rendering sometimes as SW sometimtims has problems with renderiing such big files. I'll send You a pdf from a later plant layout and a few rendered photos from an earlier stage of the project.
// Krister
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Hello Deepak;
I used to design Conveyor-based AMHS's (Automated Material Handling Systems) for the semiconductor industry. In that type of system there are very often thousands of modular components, with the total length of conveyor measured in kilometers (I recall one layout that had over 5km). We typically recieved Autocad files from our customers with their building and equipment plans. They always demanded that our layout be provided to them in ACAD 2-d format, so thats how we did our layouts. We used simple blocks to represent our components.
Similarly you might consider how your customer will view and use your layouts.
If the customer doesn't care and the layout is for your own use only (or if they actually require 3-d solid), then I would go with Jean Marc's/Krister's suggestion. The issue of updating a simplified model should not be a problem- if the models are (or configurable model is) simple.
Anf if you think about it, the reason for putting effort into keeping a simplified model completely up-to-date would be if the way it interfaces to other system elements changes. Those interfaces should be agreed upon early in the design, and if they are changing they should be nailed down, so to speak, as early as possible. If a conveyor designer changes an internal part that has no system-level implications, I wouldn't see any reason to update a system-level model. That would seem to me to be wasted effort. In other words, I don't think you should need to update that often.
Regards, -Dave Adams-
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