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Export a SolidWorks Robot Assembly Model

In this example, you export a SolidWorks™ CAD assembly that represents a robot arm. The export procedure generates one XML file and a set of geometry files that you can import into Simscape™ Multibody™ to generate a new model.

The example begins with a procedure to export the CAD assembly. Information on the robot CAD files and CAD Export follows the export procedure. To import the robot assembly into a Simscape Multibody model, see Import a Robotic Arm CAD Model (Simscape Multibody).

The following figure shows the robot CAD assembly you export in this example.

Example Requirements

To successfully complete this example, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have the latest version of Simscape Multibody Link installed on your machine.

  • Have completed the linking procedure for your SolidWorks installation. The linking procedure adds a Simscape Multibody Link add-in to the SolidWorks installation.

  • Have access to the robot example files that accompany the Simscape Multibody Link installation. See Export a SolidWorks Robot Assembly Model.

Open the Assembly Model

Before you can export the robot assembly, you must load the assembly into SolidWorks.

  1. Open SolidWorks on your machine.

  2. Select File > Open

  3. Navigate to the file directory that contains the robot CAD files.

      Note:   The directory that contains the robot CAD files for the SolidWorks platform is

      <MATLAB Root>\toolbox\physmod\smlink\smlinkdemos\...
      ...solidworks\robot

  4. Select file robot.SLDASM.

  5. Click Open.

The CAD platform opens the robot assembly.

Export the Model

Once you successfully open the robot CAD assembly in your SolidWorks installation, you can export the assembly in a format compatible with the latest Simscape Multibody technology:

  1. On the SolidWorks tool bar, select Simscape Multibody Link > Export and click Simscape Multibody. In certain SolidWorks versions, this option may appear under the Tools menu.

  2. In the File name field of the Save As dialog box, enter sm_robot and select a directory to export the files.

  3. Click Save.

      Note:   Large CAD assemblies require more time to complete the export process. Allow up to a few minutes for the export process to complete.

Check the Exported Files

Confirm the following files exist in the specified export directory:

  • XML file — provides structure of model and parameters of parts.

  • Geometry files — provides surface geometry of parts.

About the Example CAD Files

The CAD assembly files are present in your Simscape Multibody Link installation. You can access the files in the following directory:

<MATLAB Root>\matlab\toolbox\physmod\smlink\smlinkdemos\...
...solidworks\robot
Substitute <MATLAB Root> with the root directory of your MATLAB® installation.

    Note:   If you are not sure what your MATLAB root directory is, at the MATLAB command line enter matlabroot. MATLAB returns the root directory for your installation.

The \robot directory contains a set of CAD files that define each CAD part and CAD assembly. Part file names contain the file extension .SLDPRT. Assembly file names contain the extension .SLDASM. A drawing file with extension .SLDDRW contains robot arm dimensions.

The robot assembly contains nine parts and two assemblies: robot.SLDASM and grip.SLDASM. File robot.SLDASM models the robot root assembly. File grip.SLDASM models the robot grip subassembly.

The following table lists all files the example requires.

File NameType
robot.SLDASMAssembly
grip.SLDASM
wrist.SLDPRPart
upperarm.SLDPRT
secondfingerlink.SLDPRT
metacarples.SLDPRT
firstfingerlinkL.SLDPRT
forearm.SLDPRT
firstfingerlink.SLDPRT
fingertips.SLDPRT
base.SLDPRT

About CAD Export

The CAD export procedure generates one XML multibody description file and a set of geometry files. The XML file contains the structure of the assembly and the parameters that define each part. The geometry files define the 3-D geometry of each part. Once the export procedure is complete, you can import the XML multibody description file into Simscape Multibody software. Simscape Multibody uses the file to automatically generate a new Simscape Multibody model.

CAD Export Formats

You can export a CAD assembly model in a format compatible with the latest Simscape Multibody technology or with Simscape Multibody First Generation technology.

When you import the CAD assembly, you must use the appropriate command for the format selected. If you export a model in a format compatible with Simscape Multibody First Generation, you must use the mech_import command. If you export a model in a format compatible with Simscape Multibody, you must use the smimport command.

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