Often one of the first steps in building a simulation model is to create or import a floor plan of the facility you want to simulate.
Although importing a floor plan is optional, you might find that a floor plan is useful because:
You can use use more than one floor plan in your 3D model if needed.
The ideal floor plan file is an AutoCAD drawing. These files usually have a .dwg file extension. You could also possibly import an image file (.png, .bmp, .jpg, .gif, or .ico) that has an accurate drawing of your floor plan. However, be aware that these images sometimes don't scale as well as AutoCAD drawings.
FlexSim can't import Revit files (.rvt). However, Revit has an option to export to .fbx, which can be imported in FlexSim.
Before importing an AutoCAD .dwg file, consider making some improvements to your floor plan file, as discussed in the following sections.
AutoCAD files typically include much information that is unnecessary to the simulation. Typically, all a simulation needs is a basic layout. Removing information that is extraneous to the simulation will make your model more clear and reduce the burden on your graphics card. As a result it will be easier to build and present the model.
Remove any parts of the drawing that are not pertinent to the simulation study. You should especially consider removing any text, but also possibly grids and hashing as well. Also, check to ensure there aren't any accidental elements on the outer fringes of the AutoCAD drawing that could cause problems once it is imported into FlexSim.
AutoCAD files are often scaled in inches. FlexSim models are often scaled in feet or meters. You might need to rescale the AutoCAD file so that it will work appropriately in FlexSim. For instance, to convert from an AutoCAD file in inches to a FlexSim model in feet, the scale factor will be 1/12. To determine how much to scale, follow these steps:
To scale objects in AutoCAD follow these steps:
AutoCAD drawings are often drawn using a specific coordinate system. This usually means that the objects are not located near the origin (0,0,0). When a .dwg file is imported into FlexSim, it is positioned in FlexSim's coordinate system according to the .dwg's positioning. So if the origin point of your AutoCAD file is very far away from the actual drawing, when that .dwg file is imported into FlexSim, the layout will also be very far away from the model's origin position in FlexSim. To avoid experiencing this problem, move your AutoCAD objects to the origin.
To move your AutoCAD objects to the origin:
You will use the Model Background tool in the Toolbox to add a floor plan to your model. The Toolbox is where you can manage all the different tools that you are using in your simulation model. To find the Model Background tool:
If you need to make changes to the CAD drawing after you're finished, go to the Toolbox and double-click on the Model Background you want to edit to open its Properties window.
If needed, you can also delete the CAD drawing using the Toolbox. See Deleting a Tool Component for more information.
Because AutoCAD is a third-party software, sometimes files created by newer versions of AutoCAD do not always function optimally in FlexSim. This section will discuss common problems and their solutions when importing AutoCAD drawings into FlexSim. If these solutions do not solve your problem, please feel free to contact FlexSim Customer Support at any time.
Sometimes when you import an AutoCAD Drawing, you won't see it in your model.
To fix this problem, make sure that:
Another problem might be that the point of origin for your AutoCAD file is far away from the actual drawing of your facility for various reasons. To find your drawing, you might need to zoom out of the model until you can see where the drawing is.
Some AutoCAD files contain references to other AutoCAD drawings. For example, a portion of one AutoCAD drawing might include portions of another AutoCAD drawing, which means that the original file is referencing that other drawing. Sometimes when you import one of these drawings into FlexSim, it appears that part of the drawing is missing because it no longer references the other file.
To fix this, you need to ensure that all the referenced files are contained in the same root folder as the AutoCAD drawing that references them.
When you import an AutoCAD drawing into your simulation model, FlexSim does its best to find the actual drawing of your facility. However, FlexSim might place the drawing of your facility in strange places in the simulation model (as opposed to setting the location coordinates to 0, 0, 0). This problem is usually caused when the point of origin for your AutoCAD file is far away from the actual drawing of your facility. If desired, you can try to change the location of your drawing by moving it by yourself. You can make these changes in the Background tab of the background's Properties window.
FlexSim uses the term snap points to refer to vertices, lines, arcs and other elements in a AutoCAD drawing. However, it will only use the vertices when snapping it to the background. Typically only advanced FlexSim users need to load the drawing's snap points into their 3D models. You can load the CAD drawing's points into FlexSim's tree nodes to get more control over the way you get information from the drawing in the model. Some people use this functionality to auto-build their models or to get specific data from their models. You can also use snap points to position the objects in the model with more precision. Objects will only snap to the snap points of the first background in the model.
You can load snap points by checking the Load Snap Points checkbox in the Snap Points tab of the background's Properties window. If you do so, consider selecting Always Draw as the Snap to Background Draw mode. Also consider increasing the Snap Point Draw size.
You should also change the model's view settings so that they snap to the background: