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Couple days ago, I received a part from VAR ( Value-Added Reseller) and asked me how to improve the rebuild performance of a complex part. The part is an SMD (Surface Mount Device) leadframe, in order to cut down the production cost, one leadframe usually consists several hundred or more than a thousand of units.

And this is how one SMD unit might look like: (below is an SMD LED component)

The part from VAR came with massive pattern feature, the number of the pattern instance is 1320 (!), the file size is 175MB and it takes 20 minutes to open the file and regenerate graphics. The total rebuild time is 13336 seconds, or 3 hours 42 minutes and 16 seconds, as you can see below, most of the rebuild time is spent on the pattern features. ( By the way, I have never seen a part with such a long rebuild time.)

So, how to deal with this problem? In order to understand the relation between number of instances and the rebuild time, I performed a simple experiment. I varied the number of instances in a part and measure the rebuild time for each case. After plotting the data in Excel and fit the points with a trendline, surprisingly I saw a perfect second order polynomial curve!

Now I understand why the rebuild time is so long! Because the rebuild time is not linearly proportioned to the number of instances, in fact, it grows exponentially with the number of instances! Based on above trendline equation, when the number of instances for a linear pattern is 1320, the rebuild time will become 11289 Seconds!

With above understanding, it is time to figure out how to reduce the rebuild time. We know that:

Which means if I break a massive pattern into many smaller patterns, the total rebuild time of those smaller patterns should be significantly shorter than a massive pattern. The actual result proves that my math was correct, with the new method, the rebuild time is reduced by 10 times!

The disadvantage of above method is you have to build more base features for the small patterns, but that is an easy task as I use Sketch Block and Equation to help me reuse the sketches. Eventually, mission accomplished!

Update:

After I posted this article, I did some Google search using keyword like "How to improve pattern performance ", there are some articles suggest that pattern body and then perform Boolean operation is faster than the normal feature pattern method. I did some test using the pattern body + Boolean operation method ( using SOLIDWORKS feature Combine ). Here is the result:

This looks quite promising. For example, when number of instances = 255, the Body Pattern + Boolean Operation is 6 times faster than feature pattern!

But when I extrapolate number of instances to 1320 instances, things changes dramatically, the rebuild time for feature pattern is faster after number of instance is more than 1080.

This is indeed an interesting result, it means when number of instances is less than 600, it is worth to try the Body Pattern + Boolean Operation method to reduce the rebuild time, but when pattern instances increases further, I think it is still better to use the method I mentioned previously ( break a large pattern into smaller patterns).

My other articles in LinkedIn Pulse:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/say-file-orruption-shaodun-lin

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/large-assembly-performance-diagnostic-solidworks-2017-shaodun-lin

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/solidworks-upgrade-assistant-shaodun-lin

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/windows-solidworks-setting-optimization-simplified-version-lin

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/step-by-step-guide-shrinking-sql-transaction-log-file-shaodun-lin


Categories: Modeling and Assemblies, Parts and Features

Comments
Last comment By: Bill Stadler   Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:23:59 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by 10X

That's very interesting Shaodun, Thanks for sharing your findings.

 

Mark

By: Mark Biasotti  Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:27:53 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by 10X

Here's my 2 cents:  don't use patterns.  In this case where there are too many instances, you may be stuck with it.  But I have found that the tedious process of inserting each bolt, each washer, each nut, etc. gives me a much faster assembly and actually saves time in the long run.

 

The example above looks as if it would benefit from some feature reduction if possible.

 

I have a problem with large pattern fill features, such as cut holes if we want to create a piece of expanded metal or a cooling vent with a honeycomb cutout.  I'm not sure it would be easy to break a fill up and pattern the fill?  Maybe?   And will that even help?

 

I believe that the software should be capable of doing what is discussed above: taking a user-inputted pattern and behind the scenes breaking up the pattern to optimize the performance.  The user would not even have to know what is happening.  I submitted an ER on this.

By: Chris Clouser  Tue, 14 Mar 2017 16:04:24 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by 10X

..nice to see and agree.. sub patterns are useful workarounds..

.. pattern definitely needs a overhaul,.. to include "groups" and better options with orientation and display (simplified/reference)***

 

..for display.. although we can do some manipulation in laying this out..  maybe,.. having a simplfied and/or reference display state to illustrate start/end patterns and/or suppress the instances within the pattern feature?

By: Paul Salvador  Tue, 14 Mar 2017 18:05:35 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by 10X

Interesting !!! Thx for sharing Shaodun

Will play around with your study here !

By: Christian Chu  Tue, 14 Mar 2017 18:12:36 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by 10X

Hi Chris,

 

That is a good idea!

Chris Clouser wrote:

....

 

I believe that the software should be capable of doing what is discussed above: taking a user-inputted pattern and behind the scenes breaking up the pattern to optimize the performance. The user would not even have to know what is happening. I submitted an ER on this.

By: Shaodun Lin  Wed, 15 Mar 2017 03:34:52 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by 10X

Hi Dan:

 

I performed this test as well.

I think the rebuild time of a  [ 10x10 ] x [ 10x10 ] pattern will be approx. 20~40% lesser compare with a 100 x 100 pattern. [1]

 

So far the best approach to reduce the rebuild time for a massive pattern is still to use the principle below: ( Especially when the number of  instances is more than 1000 )

Raw data for [1]

2017-03-14_9-26-57.png

 

Note:

  1. For 225 Instance, the " two features pattern"  was created in this way: [ 3x3 ] x [ 5x5 ]

1.png

2. For 400 instance, the " two features pattern" was created in this way: [ 4x4 ] x [ 5x5 ]

3. For 324 instance, the " three features pattern" was created in this way: [ 2x2 ] x [ 3x3 ] x [ 3x3 ]

By: Shaodun Lin  Mon, 13 Mar 2017 15:30:20 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by 10X

Great idea, some sort of lite weight or reference status would be very handy rather than burdening the system with the whole pattern and having long rebuilds. I would add to suppress instances, the ability to nominate which ones you require to be full fledged instances so you can add features to those - resolved if you like. Most of the time you are only interested in making an array/pattern but sometimes a few may get additional treatment.

By: Neil Larsen  Wed, 15 Mar 2017 19:29:55 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by 10X

Hey Neil..  yeah, at that time,.. I was thinking/writing out-load,.. but, after returning back to this thread.. maybe more of a subliminal message from,.. Chris Clouser  response on  "..expanded metal or a cooling vent with a honeycomb cutout.."? 

.. it seems logical win/win since patterns can really be a pita,..

By: Paul Salvador  Wed, 15 Mar 2017 19:50:56 GMT
How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

Couple days ago, I received a part from VAR ( Value-Added Reseller) and asked me how to improve the rebuild performance of a complex part. The part is an SMD (Surface Mount Device) leadframe, in order to cut down the production cost, one leadframe usually consists several hundred or more than a thousand of units.

And this is how one SMD unit might look like: (below is an SMD LED component)

The part from VAR came with massive pattern feature, the number of the pattern instance is 1320 (!), the file size is 175MB and it takes 20 minutes to open the file and regenerate graphics. The total rebuild time is 13336 seconds, or 3 hours 42 minutes and 16 seconds, as you can see below, most of the rebuild time is spent on the pattern features. ( By the way, I have never seen a part with such a long rebuild time.)

So, how to deal with this problem? In order to understand the relation between number of instances and the rebuild time, I performed a simple experiment. I varied the number of instances in a part and measure the rebuild time for each case. After plotting the data in Excel and fit the points with a trendline, surprisingly I saw a perfect second order polynomial curve!

Now I understand why the rebuild time is so long! Because the rebuild time is not linearly proportioned to the number of instances, in fact, it grows exponentially with the number of instances! Based on above trendline equation, when the number of instances for a linear pattern is 1320, the rebuild time will become 11289 Seconds!

With above understanding, it is time to figure out how to reduce the rebuild time. We know that:

Which means if I break a massive pattern into many smaller patterns, the total rebuild time of those smaller patterns should be significantly shorter than a massive pattern. The actual result proves that my math was correct, with the new method, the rebuild time is reduced by 10 times!

The disadvantage of above method is you have to build more base features for the small patterns, but that is an easy task as I use Sketch Block and Equation to help me reuse the sketches. Eventually, mission accomplished!

Update:

After I posted this article, I did some Google search using keyword like "How to improve pattern performance ", there are some articles suggest that pattern body and then perform Boolean operation is faster than the normal feature pattern method. I did some test using the pattern body + Boolean operation method ( using SOLIDWORKS feature Combine ). Here is the result:

This looks quite promising. For example, when number of instances = 255, the Body Pattern + Boolean Operation is 6 times faster than feature pattern!

But when I extrapolate number of instances to 1320 instances, things changes dramatically, the rebuild time for feature pattern is faster after number of instance is more than 1080.

This is indeed an interesting result, it means when number of instances is less than 600, it is worth to try the Body Pattern + Boolean Operation method to reduce the rebuild time, but when pattern instances increases further, I think it is still better to use the method I mentioned previously ( break a large pattern into smaller patterns).

My other articles in LinkedIn Pulse:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/say-file-orruption-shaodun-lin

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/large-assembly-performance-diagnostic-solidworks-2017-shaodun-lin

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/solidworks-upgrade-assistant-shaodun-lin

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/windows-solidworks-setting-optimization-simplified-version-lin

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/step-by-step-guide-shrinking-sql-transaction-log-file-shaodun-lin

By: Shaodun Lin  Mon, 13 Mar 2017 02:02:12 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

What about using sketch pattern to pattern the sketch or sketch block, and then you only have a single extrude feature?  How does that help/hurt the filesize, opening times, and rebuild times?

By: Doug Seibel  Fri, 07 Apr 2017 14:35:54 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

All joking aside, sketch patterns are sketchy ... That is to say that it's been my experience to avoid sketch patterns whenever possible. Modifying or fine tuning sketch patterns can be a bit tricky as they aren't always as straight forward as you would figure they should be.

 

I would add however that since the release of SW2017 I have found their functionality to be much better. I have been burned by them too many times to count in the past though so I'm still a bit skeptical.

By: John Pesaturo  Fri, 07 Apr 2017 15:07:32 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

Hi Doug

 

I tried that

 

What about using sketch pattern to pattern the sketch or sketch block, and then you only have a single extrude feature?

 

at the very beginning and it is even slower than feature patterning method.

By: Shaodun Lin  Tue, 11 Apr 2017 05:20:44 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

Thanks, Shaodun! Great stuff.

 

Are your colleagues working on making patterning more efficient, or is it a Parasolid limitation?

Can the patterning of features (not bodies) be multi-threaded, or all operations on one body are single threaded?

By: Alin Vargatu  Tue, 18 Apr 2017 20:45:52 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

Yes, my colleague who response for SOLIDWORKS desktop Product Definition saw this thread last month and expressed his interest in this study and I had sent him all the test part files for his further research work.

 

I do not know the technical detail about pattern performance and not sure if this is the Parasolid limitation or we can use a better algorithm to improve the performance.

By: Shaodun Lin  Wed, 19 Apr 2017 13:44:43 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

That is very encouraging. Can you PM the name of your colleague?  I would like to get him in touch with a customer of mine that has amazing examples with creative workaround.

By: Alin Vargatu  Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:20:31 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

PMed...

Could you share some example here?

I would like to learn from your customer.

By: Shaodun Lin  Thu, 20 Apr 2017 02:13:08 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

Thanks, Shaodun.

 

I cannot share customer's examples with anyone. I will let them know about the opportunity to connect with you and your colleague directly. It will be their decision.

By: Alin Vargatu  Thu, 20 Apr 2017 02:39:50 GMT
Re: How to improve linear pattern rebuild performance by ~10X

While the results are interesting I would hope that SolidWorks addresses this in the software sooner than later.  The role of a designer/engineer is not to remember the countless methods to make SolidWorks perform better...Many of which cause their own issue down the road.  It is difficult enough to juggle the 5 different projects you are on, DFM, Reducing Cost, managing the different customer request/changes, manufacturing issues, testing, project management, and the list goes on.  Not much time to memorize the best practices for working around software limitations/bugs.

By: Bill Stadler  Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:23:59 GMT
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