SolidWorks Electrical is a software suite which offers for the first time, the ability for electrical and mechanical engineers to work together, seamlessly. How does this work? Well lets take a step back and understand how companies deal with the challenges of integrating electrical and mechanical design.
Most designs begin in a conceptual phase, where top level systems are laid out and are assigned costs, component manufacturers are selected, ect… This is captured in a visual form in some cases, in a 2D layout, like DWG or Visio. Then after more is known about the design, the electrical engineers start specifying power requirements, PLC actions are laid out, and detailed schematics are created. The mechanical team then begins working on their part of the design, placing frames, cabinets, and other structural and mechanical components. Then documentation of the wire and cable is done, after everything is actually assembled on the prototype. The amount of time it takes to create proper wire and cable harnesses is ignored till the end, even though it is a central part of the design and a long lead time item. Most companies send out harness manufacturing to an outside source. Invariably, components change on the electrical side that affect mechanical and visa-versa. This results in many issues. Among them delays in finding problems, when they are harder to fix.
We feel like there is a better way. If the electrical and mechanical design could be done at the same time from a common platform, many of these design challenges can be addressed earlier is the design cycle with less effort. Designing machinery and other products that typically combine both electrical and mechanical aspects are opportunities to use SolidWorks Electrical products.
There are two different products offered in the SolidWorks Electrical suite:
SolidWorks Electrical: enables the ELECTRICAL engineers to plan and detail the electrical system to achieve the designed logic and electrical functions.
SolidWorks Electrical 3D: enable the Electrical design data from schematics created in SW Electrical to be included in the overall 3D model for the machine or product.
This enables many benefits including for fits, clearances or equipment, sensors, included DIN rail, electrical ducts, plan wire/cable paths, ect… Wire/cable/harness lengths are easily calculated and available to the 2D documentation (including wire lists) includes in SolidWorks Electrical. The major benefit of this application is the real-time, bi-directional link between 2D and 3D, which is unique in the industry. This collaboration is managed by a relational database (Microsoft SQL Server) and allows for multi-user, simultaneous collaboration. The database also enables searching the massive database of symbols and components linked to manufacturer data (over 500,000 items are int he database and it is always updated)
So if you want Multi-user 2D and 3D electrical design, Bi-directional, real-time syncing of design changes between 2D schematic & 3D model, one BOM for electrical and mechanical, and automated 3D wire, cable and harness design, take a closer look at SolidWorks Electrical!