Recently, I was reviewing some of Keith’s articles about Simulation file structure and moving files. While these are great articles (you can check them out here), I noticed he had skipped over a simulation software that is near and dear to my heart: SOLIDWORKS Plastics! So, to correct this oversite, let me give you a primer on managing your SOLIDIDWORKS Plastics studies.
Where Do SOLIDWORKS Plastic Studies Files Go?
In 2016 and older versions, there are two possible ways plastic studies will be saved. The setting that controls the behavior is under “Settings and Help” on the SOLIDWORKS Plastics Menu.
No Configuration Integration:
If “SOLIDWORKS Configuration Integration” is turned off (unchecked), a folder will be created in the same directory with the same name as the part. Inside this folder will be all the setup and results files. With this files structure, if you want to create a second study (like if you wanted try multiple materials), additional part files would need to be created. The good news, is this is not the only option.
If you check the “SOLIDWORKS Configuration Integration” the file structure changes. Now, under the initial folder with the same name as the part. You will find subfolders that have the same name as the configurations. This means that multiple studies can be run on the same file by simply creating a new configuration! And, because these are SOLIDWORKS configurations, you can run multiple studies that modify geometry (like the wall thickness), and change setup parameters all using the same file!
What About 2017?
In SOLIDWORKS 2017, the same file structure as described above still applies for Configuration Integration. However, there is no longer an option to turn off Configuration Integration (it is now always on). If you have an older file that did not use integration, it will be automatically converted to the new file structure. Also, more work has been done to also allow for derived configurations! If you have a derived configuration, there will be an additional folder (with the name of the derived configuration) under the configuration folder it was derived from.
How Could This Be Used?
Generally, I dissuade users from creating derived configurations. There are a few exceptions, and this is potentially one. If you have a geometry change, it still makes sense for that study to be run using a new configuration. If however, you have a setup change, but not a change in geometry, using a derived configuration would make sense for each new setup change. For example: If we had a part that we were trying to determine wall thickness, and material. I would create a new configuration for each wall thickness (geometry change), and then create derived configurations under each thickness configuration, to run using different materials (settings change).
Won’t All Of These Studies Make My Part File Huge?
The results folder contains (almost) everything related to the plastics study. This includes the mesh, setup information, and any results. The only hit to your SOLIDOWRKS model, will be the additional configurations created for multiple studies. Thanks to advancements in SOLIDOWRKS configurations, adding configurations to a part only has a minor hit to file size. An added benefit to having the plastics data separate, is that you can share the part file without giving away your analysis!
Taking The Show On The Road
At some point, you may find that you need to move your files. Fortunately, the process is relatively simple. All you need to remember, is to keep the same folder/ file name and structure. If your part ever gets separated from the results folder, all you need to do, is place the results folder (the one with the same name as the part) in the same directory. If there is a configuration with the same name as a sub folder, your results should be able to load. Hopefully with these tips, you will be well on your way to managing your Plastics studies like a pro!