It is hard to find any good information on setting up a Routing library on the web.
Best practices are practically non-existent.
So we decided to collect all the useful information here.
This post will be a constant work-in-progress, so please let us know if you have something to add, if it lacks crucial info or if it contains a mistake.
Routing is a SOLIDWORKS add-in that lets you create piping, flexible tubing, cabling and wire harnesses.
You use library parts to create routing assemblies, which are often stored as virtual assemblies within your main assembly.
Routing heavily relies on 3D sketches and virtual components.
To learn how to create parts and assemblies that are compatible with routing, check out How to create Routing components. That section got so large that we decided to give it its own post.
The only way to get the routing add-in is to get a SOLIDWORKS Premium license.
Source: the official feature comparison for SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional en Premium.
You also need to select Routing when you install SOLIDWORKS, although it is enabled by default.
Now you only need to turn on the Routing add-in:
I had trouble understanding the jargon when working with Routing, so I thought I’d explain a few terms first.
|DN||European standard||DN, followed by a dimensionless number.
Higher number = greater pipe diameter.
Number roughly resembles diameter in mm.
Part of the European standard for pipes.
Has similar use as the NPS for the North American standard.
|Nominal Pipe Size / NPS||North American standard||North American set of standard pipe sizes.
Combined with a Schedule for pressure rating/wall thickness.
2-inch pipe always has 60.3mm outer diameter.
Europe uses DN number, where 2 inch = DN 50.
|Piping||SW Routing||Rigid standard tubing from steel or plastic. Uses mostly straight lines and elbows.|
|PN||European standard||PN, followed by a dimensionless number.
Higher number = greater wall thickness.
Part of the European standard for pipes.
Has similar use as the Schedule for the North American standard.
|Routing Library||SW Routing||The folder that contains all routing part files.|
|Routing Database||SW Routing||A long list of all configurations that are found in all routing parts.|
|Schedule||North American standard||Non-dimensional number for the wall thickness of a pipe. A higher number equals thicker walls.
Europe uses a PN number.
|Specification||SW Routing||The property SOLIDWORKS uses to match a pipe to a flange or fitting. Very important.
For pipes, this is a custom property.
For other components, this is a setting for each Connection Point / CPoint.
|Spool||SW Routing||An assembly that can be manufactured as one item. You can define multiple spools in one route assembly. They can be used to create drawings and BOMs. More info here.|
|Tubing||SW Routing||Flexible tubing. Uses mostly splines to create routes.|
More terminology is explained in the official Glossary.
The Routing Libary is a fancy name for the folder with all your routing models.
The default location is C:\ProgramData\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2020\design library\routing\
But the best practices are:
You can change the path in the Routing Library Manager.
These steps sound simple, but people have spent weeks, months to get their library set up correctly. So be warned.
The Routing Database or Piping and Tubing Database is a flat list of all configurations of all routing components in your library.
You usually don’t need to worry about making this database perfect, it’s hardly ever used. You do need to add your default pipe and elbow to the database though, otherwise you cannot select them in the Route Properties tab.
The indexing process uses poorly-documented methods to extract data from routing parts and assemblies. Here’s what we could find:
The Type is the only one that uses a single custom property for the whole file because it’s the same for all configurations. All other custom properties are configuration-specific.
Source: this forum topic by Peter De Vlieger.
You need to perform two steps. First, add the file, then add its configurations:
We find the Routing add-in very confusing. The terminology was new for us, and what is the library? What is the database? While learning all of that, we wrote it down to share it with you.
Also check out our other post: How to create Routing components
We hope it was helpful for you as well. Please let us know if you have something to add.