The Spark of Innovation

Cad Software

Some electrical engineers muse over whether to choose construction related Cad software such as Autodesk, or to use Cad Electrical software. This piece looks at the up and downs of using the two variations of CAD software for electrical design purposes. If you wish to soundproof a room it’s possible to stack sheep wall to wall or perhaps creates a vacuum in the wall space.  Either method will probably eventually work but will take an inordinate amount of time and effort with no guaranteed successful outcome. A similar analogy applies to choosing between Electrical and construction software’s. The many variations of Autodesk software in the construction industry e.g. structural engineering, civil engineering provides many if not all parameters to design a successful project. There are very many clever tools within the base programme for getting ideas across and changing things as they develop across a collaborative platform. Indeed with the advent of BIM modelling new methods and ideas are emerging all the time. This works across all disciplines within a project including architects, engineers contractors, financial backers. When the project is within well defined parameters then BIM or AutoCAD software will probably work seamlessly .As with everything there are however exceptions. Image result for electrical schematic diagram

CAD Electrical

 Whilst Autodesk is a proven and used worldwide tool across many disciplines its use within electrical design projects is not without some issues. This is where purpose built cad electrical software will make a significant difference.

Disadvantages of using constructional cad for electrical design purposes

 One can design electrical symbol diagrams but it’s impossible to add functionality and intelligence to them. You can draw material lists but it’s not possible to have them autofill. You can write texts or method statements but they will not translate automatically. You can place relay coils and contactors but once again there is a limitation in that you cannot have the references between them updated automatically. You can draw up as many schematic plans as required but again there are difficulties in the functionality of the software to have the various diagrams gathered into the same file with cross referenced paths between them built in. The overall workflow process within constructional Cad is designed for just that construction. Adding to this workflow with electrical functions creates additional and time consuming paths to work through. This will obviously have an adverse effect on production and inherent difficulties caused by adding functions on an ad – hoc basis.

Purpose built electrical design packages

The aviation, spacecraft, automotive, railway, shipbuilding industries and some consumer goods industries all require purpose built electrical packages which would naturally include wire harness design software. Within packages such as this one requires functionality such as: on the fly clever copying, automatically generated schematic and graphical plans, seamless cross platform intuitive responses to queries, the ability to have auto filled ordering lists with purpose built drop down menus with highly relevant materials and components. This should be enough to convince electrically fused engineers with the obvious need for these purpose built software packages.

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