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Reducing slowdowns when working with large assemblies in SOLIDWORKS increases productivity at Phil Mauer & Associates

The engineering team at Phil Mauer & Associates once suffered through slowdowns, until they got help from Javelin Technologies. Javelin’s specialists solved their problems and helped them increase their productivity when handling complex geometry by up to 5 times.

Phil Mauer & Associates provides design, prototyping, manufacturing, and sales and leasing of material handling containers and racking. Their engineering team works with customers from inception to completion, finding the most cost effective and safe solution for handling product, whether moving it in house or across the country.

Phil Mauer’s customers provide data for a part or assembly in a neutral file format such as STEP or IGES. The engineering team then uses SOLIDWORKS to design and build a container for that unique product.

The customer’s model must be used as a reference for:

  • Generating parts
  • Customer approval drawings
  • Space claim
  • Interference detection
  • Dynamic collision studies
  • Manufacturing drawings
  • Marketing material

The challenges with customer files

First, the customer-supplied files of the models are huge. After import, some have tens of thousands of unique surface bodies with intensely complex shapes. Opening just one part was taking up to 10 minutes.

The assemblies containing the customer models were not only slow to open; even more critical, they were slow throughout operations. With just one mouse click, the software would stop responding for up to 20 seconds, resulting in distraction, high frustration, and low productivity.

Second, Phil Mauer’s engineers do not need the full complexity of geometry of the part they are designing a container or rack for. Only a small percentage of the faces actually touch the rack or influence its design. When opening a customer part with 15,000 unique bodies, most faces are irrelevant. It was difficult for the designers to separate the useful geometry from the unnecessary data.

Working with Javelin Technologies for quick results

Mike Taylor is Product Development Manager with Phil Mauer & Associates. He recognized that his team was struggling with the long wait times and that efficiency could be improved. He reached out to Javelin to take advantage of their experience and collaborate on a solution.

Their partnership began with a full-day visit from one of Javelin’s productivity services specialists. He met with the team and individual designers, watching them work and discussing their challenges. The goal was to fully understand Phil Mauer’s design and modelling work and workflow, as well as to gauge the strengths and proficiency of each SOLIDWORKS user.

Javelin discovered the bottlenecks, reported on the findings of the assessment, and designed a tailored, two-day training course dedicated to solving the team’s challenges with large assemblies and complex imported geometry.

Now knowing Phil Mauer’s unique challenges so well, Javelin’s training team focused on the most critical areas to address during training – training that was completely customized while leaving plenty of room for brainstorming, collaboration, and two-way communication during the sessions.

The positive impact of the solutions

Mike says that during training, his team gained the deeper knowledge they needed and had a chance to practise new techniques.

“We got a good understanding of the intricate internal processes happening in the software when large or complex models are opened. We then learned and practised efficient diagnostic techniques that pinpoint the cause of any slowdowns, along with the techniques for eliminating them.”

Javelin also studied the challenge the team was facing dealing with masses of unnecessary geometry cluttering up the models.

“Javelin built a simple-to-follow, step-by-step method for simplifying our parts,” Mike says. “We applied the method directly on our parts during the training. We trained the whole team, including our co-op students, on how to use it. Now, before we use an imported model in our assemblies, a junior member of our team will simplify it using this method.”

The results? In just 30 minutes, a part with 15,000 bodies is reduced to less than 150, without a visible change in the geometry of the model. Assemblies open quickly and designers lose no time during operations waiting for the software to respond. Complex models are no longer taxing the system and causing frustrating experiences.

Mike says the investment in Javelin’s productivity services and training resulted in huge benefits.

Can you spot the difference? The images are actually identical. In just 30 minutes, a part with 15,000 bodies is reduced to less than 150, without a visible change in the geometry of the model.

Results

  • During custom-designed Javelin Technologies training sessions, Phil Mauer’s designers gained not only deeper knowledge of SOLIDWORKS but also practical skills directly related to their real day-to-day challenges; they practised techniques that pinpoint the cause of slowdowns and learned how to eliminate them
  • Thanks to a Javelin-designed solution for eliminating the unnecessary geometry not used in the container or rack design, complex customer-provided models can be adjusted upon receipt in just 30 minutes, eliminating hours, even days, of frustrating stop-and-go work for designers
  • Debilitating slowdowns while opening and working on customer-provided files have been eliminated, resulting in user productivity increasing by up to 5 times

Do you have slow loading assemblies?

Learn more about our SOLIDWORKS Large Assembly Service, an onsite service to optimize your models, systems, and processes

FEATURED SERVICE:

SOLIDWORKS Productivity Service

Are you using SOLIDWORKS to its full potential? Enhance the CAD skills and capabilities of your team with a SOLIDWORKS Productivity Service from Javelin.

You want your team to be well equipped and productive, but investing in developing the skills of your team members might not be your highest priority. Budgeting for a Productivity Service to create a more effective SOLIDWORKS team will be a sound investment and will justify the cost of your software and hardware upgrades.

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"Think about taking just one second vs. 10 seconds, or one minute vs. 10 minutes. That’s 10 times better productivity. Multiply that by the number of people working on projects over a week, or over a year. Overall, we estimate user productivity has increased by up to 5 times when dealing with complex geometry. Imagine the impact on how our people feel about their work. Imagine the impact on our business."

— Mike Taylor, Product Development Manager with Phil Mauer & Associates

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