I have probably posted something in the past on why I love Solid Edge assembly modeling. If so, then I don’t mind the redundancy. Assembly modeling is probably my favorite part of working in Solid Edge. Synchronous part models and assembly workflows can make inter-model references unnecessary. Improvements in Design Intent further make the process rather enjoyable.
Move Faces is just as simple as it sounds. You can move faces of synchronous parts within the context of the Solid Edge assembly. That means you don’t have to directly edit part files, or perform any special functions to fit parts together. Just grab a face and drag it where you want it to go. Once completed, the Synchronous part is updated.
When a face of a Synchronous part is selected (with selection mode set to face) during Solid Edge assembly modeling, a few things occur. First, the Solid Edge Steering Wheel appears. With it, various precise reference and target points can be inferred during the face translation. Second, Live Rules activates in order to maintain the relationships of part file geometries. This includes geometric relationships as well as dimensional constraints.
For example, I was editing one end of a shaft to fit the bearings in an assembly. During the update, Live Rules detected that the other end of the shaft carried an identical diameter, and maintained that relationship, updating both ends simultaneously. If I didn’t want this to occur, I could have simply disabled the equal diameter option on the Live Rules dialog. This works with part dimensions that are locked. Just relax the Dimensions in the Design Intent (or Live Rules), and the face will move, without having to unlock the dimension in the part directly.
Face Relate is like Move Faces, as it adjusts Synchronous part geometries in the context of the Solid Edge assembly. The interface simply snaps faces from one part to the face of another, using specified tools on the Ribbon panel. Move Faces can be used for arbitrary adjustments, but can occasionally be a bit cumbersome to get two faces related just right. With Face Relate, it’s as simple as Part 1 face – pick, part 2 face – pick, DONE!
This functionality is awesome, and remains, in my opinion, one of the most logical processes in assembly modeling. You want to fit a bearing and journal in an assembly; Face Relate, right?!! I still cannot fathom how this is not the ubiquitous normal process across the industry. Users may instead choose to edit the part, importing the journal axis, and then edit the diameter of the journal manually. Why would you?
Relationship awareness is simply my term for how Solid Edge Assembly interface works. I combined the terms “Assembly Relationship” with “Situation Awareness” (understanding what is going on around you). “What is holding this shaft aligned within this assembly?” In some modeling software, that is a hell of a question to get an answer to. In the Solid Edge assembly, when you pick a part, a small status dialog appears at the lower left area of the graphics dialog. It displays all relationships associated with the part.
A shaft for example, might have two: one axial, and one face mate. The dialog shows both of these relationships, as well as identifying which part those relationships are tied to. Picking the references highlights the respective part faces in the relationship in the graphics window.
There are numerous other areas where Solid Edge assembly modeling excels. These examples are three that I really appreciate. The first two are dependent on Synchronous part modeling, which is a process that cannot always be reasonably employed. However, there is a lot to be said for hybrid (Synchronous + Ordered modeling) models. These make both the rigid control of ordered parts possible alongside the flexibility and speed of Synchronous Solid Edge assembly modeling. I think I’ll post a little bit on that soon.