How to increase SOLIDWORKS performance when working with downloaded Vendor models

Article by Vicky Guignard updated August 29, 2017


Working with downloaded Vendor models can be an issue, since these are often. STEP or .IGES files. You may not have full control over the level of detail included in the model. One of the main causes of slow SOLIDWORKS performance is due to the level of detail being displayed on screen. For vendor models, we usually only need the outer shell for representation and certain faces to mate to.

Per example, I have a downloaded a step file of an Automation Bottle Machine. I do not require the inside components as this will only be represented for spacial requirements in a plant layout. There are certain things you can do to simplify your imported file:

Simplify Imported File Technique #1: Delete internal components

When opening a step file from the open file window, under file type, I will select step file. The reason I am doing this is that after I will be presented with an options box. When selecting OPTION, you will be presented with this window. This is where you can specify how you are going to import your .step (or .iges file) as a multi body part, or an assembly file.

Select File Type & access Options

Select File Type & access Options

In this case, I want to remove ALL internal components from this step file. So, I will CLEAR the option to MERGE BODIES and CHECK the option to create separate parts for each body as shown in the image below:

System Options

System Options

When opening the STEP file, it will open as if it was an assembly, giving me assembly options!

Imported Vendor models as separate parts

Imported Model as separate parts

First thing I will do is REMOVE THE INTERNAL COMPONENTS by using the Select Internal components filter from the advanced selection tools:

Select Internal Components

Select Internal Components

Then, I will simply Delete the selected components.

Delete selected internal components

Delete selected internal components


Simplify Imported File Technique #2: Create a SpeedPak Configuration

I could also open the .step file with the same options and then create a SpeedPak configuration of the assembly, selecting only the faces needed for mating purposes.

SpeedPak creates a simplified configuration of an assembly without losing references. If you work with very large and complex assemblies, using a SpeedPak configuration can significantly improve performance while working in the assembly and its drawing.

After the file has been loaded right-click in the configuration manager and select Add SpeedPak from the shortcut menu:

Create SpeedPak Configuration simplify imported file

Create SpeedPak Configuration

Only external model faces are displayed increasing performance.

Only faces are loaded

Only faces are loaded

Simplify Imported File Technique #3: Create a Part with only exterior faces

Another option could be to simply save the assembly as a part and check the radio button stating show only exterior faces.

Save as a part file with exterior faces

Save as a part file with exterior faces

These are the kind of tricks you can learn when attending one of Javelin’s training courses. Our instructors have the experience up their sleeves to come up with creative ways of making your day to day work faster and easier! If you are experiencing slow performance in your assemblies, this could be one of thousands of reasons! Let one of our experts help you.

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Vicky Guignard

Vicky has been working in the CAD industry since 2010 and has a background in machine design and steel structure design. Vicky works closely with the Javelin sales team, helping to solve complex customer challenges utilizing the SOLIDWORKS product line. She is also an instructor for Javelin and delivers private, and public training in Western Canada, as well as online through Javelin's JOLT training. Vicky has been an Application Engineer with Javelin since 2014.