Working with large assemblies

Hi
We are having problems with our large assemblies. A typical machine is
5000+ (not unique) parts with lots of subass. Our largest machine is
20.000+ (not unique) parts. This has never been loaded with all parts.
I think our pc's are ok, Dell Precision 360, 3 Ghz and 2 gig ram and
FX 500. Sw 2004.
They way we work is like this; no in-context parts, except from one,
our dummy part which is first part of all our assemblies. This part is
used for position parts in sub- assemblies. We found this is the only
way we can make top level assemblies. Except from very few parts we do
not use configurations. No red mates. Fully defined sketches. And all
parts are fully defines. I know that means we sometimes have a mate to
much but I have to often that parts are not mated when you think they
are. Not any equations. Basically as simple as possible. I have looked
at Matt Lombards homepage, thanks Matt, to get the settings right. So
I think we do things the best way.
But know we get messages like "SolidWorks cannot obtain enough memory"
more and more often. When we open drawings sometimes a view or two is
missing. Stuff like that. So we have talked about getting a new
expensive pc with newest hardware. That might help us but I think we
soon will get the problems back.
So I have been thinking. How do you guys with large assemblies work.
Do you make simple parts of every part and simple assembly
configurations? Make configurations of assemblies were all mates are
suppressed and the fix the parts. Or are there other things you can
do?
Kind regards and have a nice weekend
Klaus
Reply to
Klaus Sabroe
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Klaus,
You are on the right track, but you are reaching the limits of SW. I'll share a couple more things with you.
1. Is the 3Gb switch enabled? When you get the memory errors what does task manager say you are using? 1.6Gb or 2.6Gb? If it tells you the former then the 3Gb switch will help with that problem.
2. At SWW the number 1 thing that was presented by SW was upgrading hardware. You can probably get another 30 to 50% improvement by moving to the very highest end AMD machine. AMD64 FX55, NVidia FX3000 or better, Fast RAM and lots of it all on a good quality motherboard. See
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for a system that will be very fast.
3. Also from SWW they suggested creating simplified configurations of parts for large assembly work. Have configurations without fillets and other non-essential features for your large assemblies and drawings. Whether this is time effective to create all these extra configurations makes sense is something you will have to determine.
Klaus Sabroe wrote:
parts.
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Reply to
P.
parts.
looked
memory"
My two cents worth: We made great gains in perfomance when changed just the video card. We were using Matrox Parheilia 128 cards and switched to Nvidia Quadro FX100 128 and It makes a huge improvement especially where we have cast parts with many fillets shown. All other hardware was the same. Also, we use Western Digital SATA (WD-740 Raptor 10k RPM HDD 4.5ms Access time) to obtain (2x) improvement for file open speeds over the SATA (WD-800 7200 RPM HDD). BTW, we only work with 500 to 1500 parts in assys.
Reply to
Rod Knock
Hi
Thanks for the response. No, we have not tried the 3 Gb switch yet. My manager wants some kind of proof that it works before buying. But I have considering trying even though we only 2Gb Ram. The way I understood the articles on the subject I will also gain some performance with 2Gb.
Hopefully we will get better performance with new hardware. But I was curious to hear if someone is working with simple parts configurations and other methods. I am sure that performance will be better. But I also see a lot of problems. Problems with wrong configurations on drawings. And with automatic printing and a colleague to fold (hope right word) drawings I fear what will end up in the machine shop. I also see a lot of time maintaining drawings and assemblies.
I have heard about companies building very large machinery in SolidWorks and hoped someone from one of those companies would tell a little about how they have solved the problems they have faced.
Kind regards
Klaus
Reply to
Klaus Sabroe
The 3Gb switch is free and is well documented on this newgroup. It is simply a setting in your boot.ini file that allows the operating system to use more than 2Gb for application software. This seems to be your problem. If you implement it then you may still find that your hard drive thrashes when a very large assembly is loaded. Then you will need to get more physical ram. But frequently the 3Gb switch helps those with only 2Gb of installed ram.
configurations
This concern was brought up in the session at SWW. I really don't know of anyone that uses this method in practice. It is something that came out of SW testing to get better performance. It works but it may not be practical for the reasons you mention.
Reply to
P.
Klaus,
I did a test against this machine with roughly the same amount of parts (all dumb parasolid because we pushed SW to the limits) you have and my homemade (which I have always put together) beat it barely. With that said, SW was again, a dog with regards to large assemblies and single parts. We both knew the only solution was to dumb the levels down even more by re-structuring the subs into a few more levels. Using configs made it worse but it's a quicker (read, less wasted time for the moment) way to address the problem.
The 3gig switch is worth using! (I don't have XP, the client did, and it worked well,.. or, helped, on their Dell 360) If you don't want to manage the data differently (waste more time), the upgrade advice (get faster system and more memory, plus 3gig switch) you have received is the next step.
Good luck.... but seriously, and unfortunately, SW is/was NOT designed to handle large assemblies or complex geometry, it just sucks at it.
..
Reply to
Paul Salvador
Hi
Reading about the \3GB switch I came across this link:
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It describes how you limit how much RAM XP may use. This I can understand. The 3Gb code I do not understand. What does it mean if you write SOS at the end? Reading WT's part 3; there are four entries, do you have four boot.ini files? Or how does XP know which to use.
Is the result not the same whether you use the MAXMEN or 3GB switch?
Best regards
Klaus
Reply to
Klaus Sabroe
Klaus,
Here's another link to the newsgroup on setting two boot options up.
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Tell you manager not to freak, it's worth trying it! And, when you can get some more ram, it will allow XP to use more of it.
BTW, personally, using Win2000pro, I've pushed my 2 gigs, using SW, to 1.8 gig many times before SW crashed (it normally crashes at about 1.6 gigs) but I know the 3 gig switch works and that should help you!
Anyhow, there is enough proof it does work, give it a try. But, it is not the end all solution, it just helps,.. and you'll need all the help you can using SW (system resource hog).
..
Reply to
Paul Salvador
The SOS at the end is not necessary and has nothing to so with the 3Gb setting. What it does is let you see some of what's happening when things load, but it goes by so fast that I'm not sure how useful it is.
As far as the 4 entries, there is only one boot.ini file and all those entries are in it. I would suggest that you run the two lines under [operating systems] as that gives you the option to load the system with the 3GB switch by default, and also have the option to not load it if there is a problem. I have listed the boot.ini as I would suggest, but you would have to make sure that you compare everything to your existing file in case there are other differences.
The NoExecute at the end is from XP SP2 saying that random programs can't run by themselves.
As far as how you set the default load, in the System startup area there is a box that lets you choose the default load, and you can also set the amount of wait time before it automatically takes it. I have mine set to 5 seconds as I figure that if I want something other than the default, I'm going to be waiting there for it.
[boot loader] timeout=5 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS [operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional 3gb limited" /fastdetect /3gb /userva=2900 /SOS /NoExecute=OptIn multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /SOS /NoExecute=OptIn
WT
Reply to
Wayne Tiffany
You might want to refenrence this article:
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Reply to
P.
I do not agree with their statement about being fairly meaningless!!! False information!!
Use of 3GB mode - Windows® XP Pro is required for using 3GB mode. Also, it is fairly meaningless without 3 or 4GB of RAM. See the Microsoft article for details on enabling the 3GB mode.
Even if you have less than a GB of physical RAM, it can still open memory space that might allow you to load something that you otherwise couldn't. Granted, you are working in the page file and more physical memory is better & faster, but this switch is still a viable way to utilize more working memory space for SW. There may be one file that you get from a customer that you need to open, even if it's slow. This may let you do it. Then if that size file becomes the norm for you, more memory may be worth installing, but that's not the issue here.
WT
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Reply to
Wayne Tiffany
Klaus,
In response to your question about how others handle large assemblies with many configurations.
We have a standard product consisting of ~5000 parts. This is broken down into multiple subassembly levels.
We sell the product using a "Pick List" method to add options to a base standard. Each option means an assembly is either added or deleted, and in most cases this changes a configuration of a subassembly.
We use configuration specific custom properties to define drawings numbers. We also have a VB program that uses the sales pick list (which is an excel spreadsheet) to determine which drawings need to be released to the production shop for manufacture.
With the options available on this machine, we figure there is over 1 million possible combinations that could be setup. This usually means that not all configurations that could be sold have been created in the model. We don't worry about this, but instead create a configuration after a sell if one isn't yet created. All subassemblies are created, so detail type drawings are available for the program to fillout and submit. We will then create the couple layouts for the machine if it isn't yet available.
We are using 1MHz HP workstations with 2Mram and Quadro 980 xl video cards. Normally, we will run the program overnight so the drawing set is ready in the mornings. Although it would take about 3-4 hours to complete otherwise.
I hope this is helpful knowing how difficult it is to manage large assemblies.
We have been using Solidworks since the fall of 98, and keep the software updated. We are currently running on Windows 2000 with SW2005 SP 1.1 (and evaluating SP 2.0)
Reply to
Waligora, R
The 3Gb switch helped my 1Gb machine. It gives SW extra breathing room. What some people don't realize is that during a regen SW may, for short periods, require considerable blocks of RAM. The 3Gb switch gives that breathing room.
I've been getting quotes on hardware with dual or quad 64 bit processors and up to 32Gb of RAM. I do FEA as well and sometimes run out of RAM and am short on CPU cycles. This stuff isn't cheap, but its scalable so I can start with a single processor and run 32 bits and then move on up by adding processors and RAM.
Wayne Tiffany wrote:
couldn't.
working
customer
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Reply to
P.

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