Are you looking for a way to open those large assemblies faster? Everyone should be familiar with Resolved and Lightweight modes and the Large Assembly settings but have you ever used Large Design Review?
Large Design Review (LDR) was introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2012 and was useful in opening large assemblies for viewing purposes. Below is a screenshot from 2012 showing the functionality available in LDR.
With the recent Edit Assembly enhancements, LDR mode is now more than just a tool for viewing large assemblies. In addition to the new edit assembly capabilities shown below you can also access component reference geometry such as planes, axis, origin, and reference points and use them for mates. Component patterns can also be created and any edits made while in LDR mode can be saved.
LDR mode can be manually selected when opening an assembly or a component threshold can be specified in the Assembly System Options like Lightweight mode.
So how much faster is LDR versus Resolved and Lightweight? Below are the opening times for this test assembly containing 5,308 components.
LDR – Large Design Review
As you can see the opening time is LDR is dramatically faster. For clarification, I had to use a stopwatch app to document the opening time since the Assembly Open Progress Indicator isn’t shown like it is when opening in Resolved or Lightweight modes.
Take note of the Command Manager when using LDR. Large Design Review is the only tab available and Insert Components, Mate, and the Component Pattern tools are initially grayed out. You must activate Edit Assembly by right clicking on the top level assembly in the design tree and selecting Edit Assembly to access these tools. Note – Edit Assembly cannot be utilized if the assembly contains assembly features.
It does take a little time to load the additional component information, in this case roughly 50 seconds. Combining this with the initial 16 seconds, the total time to open and access the Edit Assembly tools is 66 seconds which is still substantially less than the 2 minutes and 7 seconds opening in Lightweight mode.
LDR might not be appropriate for all circumstances but for the cases where you need to just view or insert and mate a part or subassembly in a large assembly, it’s typically going to be the fastest option to open the file. I would recommend reviewing the Help files to explore all the available functionality and limitations with LDR.
I hope this has been helpful!
SOLIDWORKS Elite Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology