Have you ever wired a plug with a kitchen knife because you’ve not got a screwdriver available? Or hammered in a nail with an adjustable spanner? It gets the job done but it’s not ideal.
There can be many times in product development where a similar situation arises. Managing product data using a standard file system, engineering calculations using spreadsheets and producing service documentation and technical illustrations in your CAD package all get the job done but none of these are the best tool for the task.
In a world where so many design functions are being aided by computer software, it is not uncommon to find many companies still doing their early electrical design work on paper or in basic drawing design tools. But it is often painful to rely on educated guesswork and intuition to make important costing and design decisions.
This is where a dedicated ECAD or Electrical CAD tool comes in. Using object-oriented programming, this means that a cable or component viewed in one sheet is the exact same object as displayed on other sheets. This approach also makes it easy to find all references to a particular component across multiple data sheets.
While CAD is usually used for designing a specific part or an assembly, ECAD is used to design an entire system of many components connected to each other, usually by electric circuits — think the circuit board in your computer. Different parts of a component can be spread across multiple schematic sheets but need to remain associated, with multiple views of the same component required for design, manufacturing or service. The intricacies of these types of designs are often quite complex for a CAD software to handle in an effective way.
ECAD software offers many advantages over traditional CAD packages, the main benefits can include:
- Multi-view project file
Projects contain all aspects of your design (schematics, cable plans, control panels, formboards and fluid detail). All dynamically linked; a change in one is automatically reflected in all.
- Electrically-aware parts library
Intelligent parts libraries help drive the design with automatic part selection and real-time design rule checks to prevent errors.
- Real-time design rule checks (DRC)
ECAD engine designed for electrical engineers with built in real-time DRCs. Preventing errors rather than finding them later.
- MCAD integration
Collaborative design for harness and fluid engineering offering integrations with all major MCAD vendors.
Zuken E3.Series is a Windows-based, scalable, easy-to-learn system for the design of wiring and control systems, hydraulics and pneumatics. The out-of-the-box solution streamlines this design process by performing many tedious operations automatically and includes tools for the creation of schematics (for circuit and fluid diagrams), cables (for advanced electrical and fluid design), panels (for cabinet and panel layout), and formboards (for 1:1 wiring harness manufacturing drawings). Integrated with MCAD, E3.series is a complete design engineering solution from concept through physical realization and manufacturing output. E3 also has its own data management solution, as well as integrations with most major PDM/PLM vendors.
To discuss how ECAD can fit into your design process, please get in touch