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Paving the way to a new era of engineering

Paving the way to a new era of engineering Companies that adopt the latest engineering design technologies are gaining true competitive advantages, whilst those continuing to rely on legacy CAD risk being left behind, says EPLAN's Ken Christie


Most electrical design in the UK is still performed using simple, two-dimensional CAD systems that produce flat drawings, where all accompanying lists and documents have to be researched and assembled separately. A growing number however, are turning to newer, more innovative, design tools that allow the manual and most time-consuming functions to be performed automatically and instantaneously. Modern Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) systems have been proven to deliver cost savings to the early adopters, whilst also significantly improving design integrity and project turnaround times.

One of the leading electrical design software packages is EPLAN - an innovative design suite which contains all the design tools and report generators required across a range of engineering disciplines; ensuring greater speed, accuracy and flexibility in product development and order fulfilment. EPLAN offers reference tools that compare and contrast incoming designs to make sure equipment purchased from various suppliers adhere to established quality and technical standards. This ensures project errors are detected early on, before having potentially detrimental cost consequences. The time consuming error checks necessary with legacy systems have now been eliminated - thanks to the automatic error-checking features of EPLAN software.

The feature that truly sets the EPLAN software apart from other electrical design packages, is that it provides users with access to the EPLAN Data Portal. This enables users to access the device data of over 250,000 components. Information that is designed, managed and controlled by 48 leading manufacturers including ABB, B&R, Festo and Phoenix Contact, guaranteeing the accuracy and precision of part drawings and documentation.

Reduced design time
The EPLAN Data Portal enables users to easily select and apply data or components required for a project; reducing time spent on drawings by up to 80 per cent. Schematics are built up using intelligent symbols and component representations containing all relevant technical information and, as a component is inserted into a project all lists and documentation are automatically updated and cross-linked.

The ability to automate the creation of recurrent content negates the need for the time-consuming creation of master data and provides integrated data for intelligent design, precisely fitting assemblies, virtual wiring and sustainably shortened product development and production cycles.

Thanks to the power of the CAE software, EPLAN can effortlessly convert project documentation into the language that customers, vendors and subcontractors require, and export it in one of many common file formats including intelligent PDF, DWG and XML. In addition, EPLAN's software is available in 17 languages and can be translated into many more languages thanks to its Unicode capability. This fosters collaborative workflows, interdepartmental and global integration as well as the standardisation and reuse of content, data reliability, and mechatronic design. Projects can also be structured from the outset to allow for automatic conversion between IEC, the North American NFPA, Chinese GB or Russian GHOST industry standards.

With its ability to link to a company's enterprise systems EPLAN is the complete modern engineering software package; ensuring effective communication between sales, purchasing, accounting, manufacturing, servicing and other departments. This high-level of integration links engineering disciplines not only with one another, but also with other vital business functions, as well as customers and suppliers.

Companies are undoubtedly gaining big beneficiaries from the use of modern CAE systems such as EPLAN; giving them the freedom to evolve in line with their clients' needs. With access to a large database of up-to-date information that can be inserted into a project with a single keystroke, users of the software, are liberated from the most tedious aspects of their role.

Ultimately, the companies that exploit the full capabilities of EPLAN and incorporate it into their design workflows will stay ahead of the competition.
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