3 Ways to Keep Large Assemblies from Slowing You Down
Written by: Cat McClintock

If you work with large assemblies, you know it can take a lot of time for files to load. And, ironically, it’s not just aircraft and automobiles weighing down systems. Complex assemblies can include small medical devices or even vacuum cleaners—anything with lots of parts!

The good news is that no matter your product line, you don’t have to wait to get to work on your large assemblies…if you use these techniques available in Creo Parametric.

Large assembly: Space Station


Shrinkwrap models can reduce disk and memory usage by more than 90 percent. It’s ideal if you’re working with a bulky assembly that’s bogging down your processor.

A “shrinkwrap” collects and copies surface data from an assembly into a single, lightweight feature—making it fast way to download and manipulate large, sluggish assemblies. For example, say you’re working on a robot arm, you may not need all the interior detail of the servo motors powering its movement. You can use Creo Parametric to quickly create a shrinkwrap version of the motor.

Shrinkwrap in Creo Parametric

Shrinkwrap models and the assembly file opens in just seconds.

As a bonus, since shrinkwrapping excludes much of the internal detail, you can also use it to protect your intellectual property when you share an assembly. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Simplified Reps

Another option for freeing up processor and memory: simplified reps. A simplified rep strips out detail from your master model, making it more lightweight. With simplified representation functionality you can:

  • Simplify the display of a design by showing less detail (by either including or excluding features).
  • Set up a “work region” to limit the display of a design to a selected portion of the total part geometry.
  • Exclude (or include) selected surfaces from the display of the design.

Use external simplified reps to prevent your system from downloading parts that aren’t critical to your work. For example, if you only plan to place a new label on the exterior cabinet, you might load an external simplified rep to avoid retrieving a complex internal electronics sub-assembly into your session.

Create a cross section for a closer look

This advanced feature won’t save your CPU, but you need to know about it when inspecting complex assemblies. Set up a cross section to cut away a portion of a part or assembly. Thus you have a better view of a particular section of the model. In Assembly mode, you can create a cross section that intersects an entire assembly or only a selected part.

Cross sections help visualize complex parts

Create a cross section to cut away a section of a part or assembly to view a section of the model.

As always, if the model has changed since the cross section was created, the cross section updates automatically.

Learn More at LiveWorx

To find out more, join us at LiveWorx 18 in Boston, June 17-20, 2018. We’ll be offering a 2-day master class in Advanced Assembly Techniques in Creo Parametric, including more about simplified reps and shrink wrap. Plus, you’ll learn best practices for restructuring assemblies and replacing components.  Learn more about the Master Class here.

Register for LiveWorx 18

Tags: CAD
About the Author Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.