Performance and working from home

How can I troubleshoot the performance of IMPACT to increase speed of the application

IMPACT for AutoCAD/BricsCAD

IMPACT for AutoCAD/BricsCAD is an application that is linked between the interface of the CAD platform, the file system and the IMPACT database. The database part is less dependent on the latency to the webservices but the file communication open/save/close is more in need a short distance to the files. The system of IMPACT has alot of settings but it's not for sure that the best it to have all the switches to on. It needs to looked at in the light of the value for the performance specially when you are many users on the platform which combination of traffic with the database can create waiting times and lagging.  

File location

IMPACT has four file libraries

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Figure 1: File libraries in IMPACT

The most intense traffic is with the Project folders and it's also there where we need to access the same files and it's important that we don't change the at the same time. It's also this folder where our floor plans and elevations most likely have external references linked in. If you work many in the same project this folder needs to be shared by the user alternatively the installation can be setup to use IMPACT file sync.

The folder Standard is much more static as it contains the files for the drawing standard on common and local level. It's less likely to be in concurrency in form of many users changing the same file at the same time. If you work from home office I recommend to have this folder on the local computer and linked in Sharepoint/Onedrive or something similar. Best is to restrict the change rights to only the desired users to avoid problems. In StruSoft we also have a product called BIMContact that can be used for this.

The folder Company mainly holds files for the reports and can be used in the same way as described for Standard above.

The folder Division is in most cases empty and there is at the moment no use of sharing that within the company so that can be only on the local computer. 

File size and containing objects

The standard files for everything from specification to drawing panels consist of dwg drawing. What is included in every drawing in the standard folder matters because this drawing will be inserted into multiple drawings. Keeping down the file size while then have IMPACT on all drawings that are generated using this blocks.

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Figure 2: Placement of standard library for AutoCAD

A good place to start is in the Standard library folder. In this folder all the files for Common and local settings and components are stored. A good start is to just sort the drawings in the Size of the files so you get the ones that are biggest in top. In my example below I have started with the files in templates_drawings. This folder is very central for all drawings that will be created in IMPACT for CAD.  

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Figure 3: Sorting files in size order in Windows explorer AutoCAD

Not many files in IMPACT in this folder should be bigger than 60 KB. If they are that you should take a closer look at what is inside.

First make sure that you run in AutoCAD (if you are using AutoCAD and not BricsCAD) profile with AutoCAD Architectural loaded.

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Figure 4: Setting profile in AutoCAD that is independent of AutoCAD Architectural

 A very central drawing in IMPACT is the bl.dwg or the source drawing for making new drawing in IMPACT. Nowadays you can have several bl.dwg files but many only have one. So lets start with cleaning up that file. In this file IMPACT needs o have the linetypes that it use and the dimension styles. There are no needs for having blocks in this one so if that is the case you can purge them.

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Figure 5: What needs to be in the bl.dwg file

If you don't use the IMPACT Reinforcement schedules I suggest that you purge them away from the drawing

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 Figure 6: Purge Reinforcement schedules that is not used

In my case I only use the schedules on the floor plans and I have a separate bl.dwg file for the floor plans. If I have some other reinforcement bending schedules I print them from Excel or just the one that is built in in IMPACT for CAD.

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 Figure 7: Having a separate bl file for the floor plan 

So then lets continue to remove some Reinforcement schedules as I no longer use them (if you use them maybe there are some in the list that you don't use anymore then remove them).

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Figure 8: Purge schedules from the bl file

 After this now you can also purge the templates blocks that you not use anymore.

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Figure 9: Purge templates blocks

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Figure 10: Purge templates blocks finalize

Now I have minimized the template drawing file down to the minimum so I save and close it.

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Figure 11: File size after removing data

So the file went down from 240 KB to 143 KB that just great.

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Figure 12: File size templates_drawings

I know from before that the file _dw_section.dwg is big because it contains some hatch so I leave that file by but to other files is biggger than I would expect and that is the drawing head _uh_001.dwg and the drawings specifiication for balconies _uf_e.dwg lets clean them up. All the dwg files (blocks) in IMPACT except the dynamic cast in material and the bl.dwg files (see above) can be cleaned with the powerful command export in AutoCAD.  Start with opening the drawing.

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Figure 13: Opening the drawing for cleaning

So in AutoCAD command window type Export.

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Figure 14: Start the cleaning

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Figure 15: Select Block (*.dwg) and then Save it with the existing name define new drawing and set insertion point to 0,0,0

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Figure 16: Select with a window from lower left to upper right on what to include

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Figure 17: Then you should have an empty drawing

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Figure 18: Close it down without saving

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Figure 19: File size is now 19 KB instead of  141 KB what a save

Lets do the same in the cast in material folder

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Figure 19: Cast in material block file size

The 3D blocks are ending with the number 4 and they can be big but the rest of the block should not be that big so lets have a check of 020322.dwg

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Figure 20: Dynamic blocks should not be cleaned

If the block editor starts when you open the drawing it is a dynamic block then we can't clean it with the export function shown above so lets keep it as it is.

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Figure 21: Cast in material bocks that seems unreasonable big

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Figure 22: Cleaned and down to 19 KB

You can of course also clean up the endcaps folder in the same way if you like.

Clean external reference drawings before using them on your floor plan and elevations

One big source of problems is when the external reference drawings that are used is not cleaned properly. Many of you have got this as a resolution for one of your error reports to us.

It's should also be said that this will not only cause erratic errors it will also dramatically slow down the work. Please have a look into the following article for how to fix.

Autosave many drawings open

The autosave functionality in the CAD system is good in many cases but it can also put an extra load on the system if many users have many drawings open and doesn't close them when they aren't used. 

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Figure 23: Multiple drawings open in AutoCAD

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Figure 24: Autosave in AutoCAD

In the example above I have multiple shop drawings open. And the Autosave function will every 10:th minutes make a save on all of them.

Automatic save of reinforcement and cast in materials on shop drawings

There is a Project properties setting that every time you plot or save shop drawings IMPACT will do an MTO reinforcement and cast-in material. 

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Figure 25: Auto MTO setting in IMPACT

If you have many drawings and in combination with autosave as described above this can slow down the performance for all working with that database.
 

Purge anonymous bars in CAD

When you draw reinforcement that is not named they are stored as anonymous bars in AutoCAD. If you open up older drawings or copy older drawing it can be worth to run that command.

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Figure 26: Purge Anonymus Bars command

Update layout on activation

With this setting on shop drawings with layouts will be faster to do MTO on.

A variable "UPDATELAYOUTSONACTIVATION" which if turned on (1) will no longer update layouts on "Draw element", "MTO all" etc.
Instead the layouts will be updated when they're activated and on command "Reset drawing".

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Figure 27: Update layouts on activation

The drawback could be that switching between layouts might be a little slower because of the update.

Update solid view on shop drawing.

If you show the 3D view of the element on your shop drawing you shall make sure to not have default to show the reinforcement as that will slow down the drawing.

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Figure 28: Solid view on shop drawing with reinforcement on

The setting is available in Project Properties.

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Figure 29: Solid view in project properties

If you don't need the solid at all on the shop drawing I recommend to have this to No because that will of course be the fastest alternative.

Cache on components

In order to optimize performance IMPACT cache data in the AutoCAD session so we don't read it in all the time.

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Figure 30: Setting for cache of components.

There is a setting that turns off the storing of components in the memory (cache). The variable in Standard Admin is called "AUTOUPDATECOMPONENTS" with default value 0. Observe, turning this parameter to 1 can give worse performance.

Turn off tooltip on floor plan and elevations

If you on the floor plan and elevation feels like the cursor is hacking. Then I can be useful to turn off the tooltip.

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Figure 31: Tooltip in AutoCAD on a floor plan.

This can be turn on/off individually on each drawing from the settings plan/elevation command.

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Figure 32: Settings plan to turn off tooltip in AutoCAD on a floor plan.

It's also possible to turn it on/off for all new floor plans and elevations from the Project properties.

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Figure 33: Settings to turn on/off tooltip for all new floor plans and elevations.

IMPACT Project Manager

The IMPACT Project Manager works directly towards the database and in some case there can be files involved that corresponds to *.obj files that sometimes is used for linked elements. Working with filters and detailed levels is recommended to maximize performance in the application. 

Detailed view

If you are not directly working with checking connections between elements it's recommended to have the Model view in to  Medium instead of Fine. Remember you can always change it when you need higher quality.

Depending on what you are working with Coarse can also be enough.

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Figure 34: Medium instead of Fine in Model view

Show endcaps in openings

From IMPACT 16 it's now possible to set the endcaps in openings in Model view. This setting can be turned on when needed instead of always being on.
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Figure 35: Endcaps in openings

IMPACT Resource Manager

Detailed view

It's recommended to turn down the view Settings in the Detailed view to get a faster load of the Cast Planning Detailed view.

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Figure 36: Detailed view Settings in Cast Panning

Filters

Don't select to big scoop of data if it's not needed. In the example below from the Transport Planning a reasonable period for Delivery Date could be from the end of September.

Don't just take all  as this will of course have IMPACT on the search time. 

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Figure 37: Filter selection in Transport Planning

 

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