Work efficiency in SOLIDWORKS® is usually associated with hardware, such as a disk, graphics card, processor. At least that's what the google browser suggests, you can find quite a few articles about it. Of course, this is important, but in this material, I will approach the topic of saving working time in the SOLIDWORKS® based construction department from a different angle, omitting the computer issue.



I have five general suggestions / topics / threads that have a significant impact on the constructor’s comfort of work, shortening the time of work related to the preparation of product construction documentation:
- The development and use of a “Starter Pack”.
- Using shared databases and libraries.
- Adoption of principles / rules / modeling guidelines / design standard in the company.
- Learning and implementing all the rules, tips and tricks in terms of modeling and system settings.
- Using auto-generating models, generators, applications supporting and automating work as well as using integration with other systems in the enterprise, including ERP.


“Starter Pack”
When creating a new part file, an assembly file, you start from the SLDDOT, ASMDOT template, and in case of a 2D drawing from the DRWDOT template. These are the files from which you "start" and which should already have everything you expect: from units, fonts and other settings in the document to the background color and pre-filled file properties. For drawings - from layers to anchors for automatic pinning of tables. If you have to position the table you just generated every time, it means that the template you are using is not yet fully configured.



If you have to waste time formatting the table because it is "out of order", it may suggest that the BOM template still needs to be refined. For each type of table, an appropriate template should be prepared - (*..sldbomtbt, *.sldwldtbt, *.sldpuntbt, *.sldbndtbt, *.sldrevtbt, *.sldholtbt) - list of materials, list of cut elements of welded structures, table corrections, table of holes, etc. Generating a list of material, a table should come down to two or three clicks - nothing more.


Each company has its own requirements when it comes to what the drawing table should look like and what it should contain. The data in this table must be completed automatically after entering them into the file properties and the properties tab is used for this. Entering additional information in the property pane? Be sure to design and use property cards - independently for part (.prtprp), assembly (.asmprp), cut parts (.wldprp), technical drawing (.drwprp).
In the case of sheet metal modeling, you will need dependency tables configured for the company's needs, on the basis of which developments are calculated, and for modeling welded structures, you need a .sldlfp file base, which is the basis for generating structural members. Here, the base should be adapted to the company each time, so that the designer can model with commercially available sections, profiles, bars and flat bars, with already defined data that are to appear in the table of cut elements for welding.



I have not listed everything when it comes to templates, files from which we "go to" modeling, preparation of construction and technological documentation. If you expand the file location control you will see how much there is. Let's call it "Starter Pack". Each constructor in the company should have such a package of files "at the start", before starting work on the CAD project, and what is important, it must be the same and configured in the same way in the SOLIDWORKS® system settings.


If you have problems with this, you don't want to do everything yourself and you want to save weeks of work, we can prepare your "Starter Pack". We already have a set of files that would only need to be adapted to your needs.

Another factor that affects work efficiency is the use of all possible common databases and libraries. Unfortunately, in many companies this is a big problem, especially visible at the stages of preparation, configuration, administration and using the standard library and other commercial components in accordance with the art. Using a common base requires the adoption of general rules that must be respected by everyone in the team. It is definitely easier to "master the subject" if the company has Toolbox and PDM, but it is also possible without it.



The database of models of standardized and commercial components and the library of profiles is not everything. It is worth developing the content of the library of annotations, symbols, blocks, modeling operations, appearances, colors. I consider it necessary to use one company's database of materials. Using these databases gives great potential for saving time, but the company should adopt rules for adding and using these library elements so that with the next project, the library grows and becomes better and better, i.e. that its individual elements no longer require performing unnecessary actions after adding to the project.

The company should adopt guidelines related to file naming, numbering, descriptions, but also the structure of the product tree in the SOLIDWORKS tree and the structure of project folders and files.

The same CAD geometric model can be created as a result of using different modeling methods, which significantly affects the time of its creation, but also later on the "release" of documentation and files for production. Not to mention change management. Should you model using the "master modeling" technique or rather avoid multi-object modeling (maybe) except for files containing only sections, profiles, bars and flat bars? What rules should be adopted when modeling the mirror of sheets? Whether you design to order, whether the production takes place in-house or is outsourced, to whom it is outsourced, what is the manufacturing method, what machines, how many constructors in the company, small or large project - there are many factors that, in my opinion, determine the adoption of modeling methods. I will gladly discuss these issues during trainings / workshops in your company.

SOLIDWORKS® gives you great possibilities for modeling and configuring it to your needs. Keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures, bars, ribbons, options, sub options, custom tools. It is worth learning all the tricks and implementing some of them to save on unnecessary clicking - I invite you to watch one of my free tutorials on YouTube - e.g. the one about "sketching". You will know if you have already squeezed as much out of SOLIDWORKS® as possible.

How you model, what modeling operations you use, how you bind components in an assembly, whether and how you apply configurations, patterns, appearances, what settings have been adopted in both SOLIDWORKS options and document options, how you store files ... is important for the time of loading, opening the file, rebuilding the model and saving, file size. We have studied the subject and share this knowledge.

SOLIDWORKS® has functionalities that enable the preparation of advanced autogenerating models, e.g. equations, configurations, defining relations, suppressing operations. As the name suggests, the auto-generating model is supposed to generate itself - of course, after entering the input values / control parameters. You have probably used the model more than once in configurations, but the autogenerating model can be something more, it can contain a full construction specification of the product, it can contain knowledge about the construction and technology, and the parameters controlling it do not have to be only dimension values. The constructor's work may come down to generating the expected variant based on the base file, renaming the file and inserting it into the assembly.

Big savings of constructor's work time ... but it's not the end. The next level of automation may be the implementation of software that supports such base files in the company, namely supporting the designer in building the entire project consisting of many such autogenerating models. As an ADKSolid company specializing in the implementation of software integrated with SOLIDWORKS, we had the opportunity to "write" such solutions. I cordially invite you to familiarize yourself with the possibilities in this area at www.adksolid.com. You surely already know about our flagship two certified additives MacroSolid and BlachSolid. Have you ever needed a gear transmission? How much time did you spend designing? There are extras for that!!! And we have ours for the gears, but it's also worth exploring other SOLIDWORKS® partner products.

Copyright © ADKSolid. All rights reserved.