Performance Analysis Tool for Large Assemblies

By Sonya Kasper on

When working with Large Assemblies, it’s important to know how to troubleshoot if your computer starts to bog down. When this happens, it’s often helpful to find out where things can be lightened up by simplifying or suppressing parts or sub-assemblies to speed up your performance. Luckily, SOLIDWORKS has a tool to help find troublesome components. It’s found in Assembly Visualization, and it’s called Performance Analysis. Let’s take a closer look at what it is and how it can help with slow or cumbersome assembly files.

To understand the value of the tool, let’s talk about some important metrics to know when interrogating a large assembly.

Total Graphics Triangles

Image quality is determined by how many graphics triangles are required to display a component. The number of graphics triangles that are required to display a component can slow down the time it takes to display the component. The more triangles used, the better the image quality, but that quality comes at a cost. Sometimes, adjusting the image quality in settings can make a big difference in speed, but sometimes, small or complicated components with curved faces or edges will need more attention. When your files a lagging, consider checking the components that have the highest Total Graphics Triangles and suppress or replace them, if possible, with simpler geometry.  Maybe that spring doesn’t really need to be fully represented after all!  There are tools in SOLIDWORKS that help you accomplish this without having to manually modify each feature yourself.  For more on ways to slim down your heavy assembly files, check out our Assembly Modeling class or even our Large Assembly assessment, only available through TriMech!

SW-Open Time

Often, the file opening time is the problem, so being able to gauge this at a component level can be very useful.  It can even help diagnose lags in networks. If these values differ from working over a network vs locally (like using PDM), it could be a network issue. When opening a part, the time it took to load it is saved and can be viewed under your evaluate tools.

SW-Rebuild Time

Similar to Open time, rebuild time is calculated as well.  Aside from the usual suppression or replacement options to deal with problem components, you can also place your larger rebuild time components near the top of your FeatureTree, which will allow you to utilize the freeze bar to stop them from being rebuilt when refreshing or regenerating all parts.

Now that we know some of the helpful metrics there are, it would be great to have them measured in a visual way and have them easily accessible. And lucky for us, they are! Under Performance Analysis.

To get there, go to your Evaluate tab and find Assembly Visualization

Evaluate tab and choose assembly visualization

The default columns used for Assembly Visualization might not be helpful for what we are doing here, but if we hit the Performance Analysis button, now we will see the Total Graphics-Triangles, SW-Open time, and SW-Rebuild time columns instead.

Performance Analysis tool button

Change the colors on the left-hand side in your Assembly Visualization to what works for you and you’re on your way to making your large assemblies simpler and easier to work with.