SolidWorks Electrical 2014 has been officially released alongside SolidWorks, Enterprise PDM, Simulation and Composer 2014! I thought I would share with you my top 10 new features of SolidWorks Electrical Schematic with you today on this great occasion and I will follow up soon on an article on Electrical 3D as there is just too much for one article! End users of the software will find powerful new tools combined with the traditional ease of use afforded by SolidWorks solutions. Management will enjoy accurate, standard reports on circuits, BOMs and new design rule checks while still taking advantage of the collaboration features that SolidWorks Electrical inherently promotes.
Here is my top 10:
1) Administration: SolidWorks Electrical can download and be installed using the SolidWorks Installation Manager, making deployment very easy. This makes IT and Management happy as there is a one step process to installing the SolidWorks Mechanical and Electrical software. The software can be deployed now through administrative image just like the rest of the SolidWorks software solutions. Also enhanced behind the scenes is a database format switch to all SQL rather than a mix of Microsoft Access and SQL. This is a more modern format and makes the archiving of projects on the 64 bit platform work in both SolidWorks Electrical Schematic as well as Electrical 3D.
2) Work the way you want, when you want: Create block diagram or single-line schematics with alongside the typical mutli-line, full detail schematics, all on the same page. For systems where the engineer wants to illustrate how things are connected at a higher level while at the same time showing the detailed wiring this will reduce the number of pages in a project and improve clarity.
3) New descriptive symbol support: Symbols can now be defined as non-purchased without a component attached to them. Typical scenarios for a symbol that is purely descriptive vs. one that has a component part number defined is a ground symbol, or a twisted pair wiring designation as show here. Attributes can be defined as well to let the electrical installer know more about the conditions present. This new “passive” symbol is not considered as an electrical symbol. It does not have a mark, circuits or connection points. It is stored in a library for insertion into a drawing.
4) Wipeout and Level definition: A new wipe-out drawing tool lets you hide test of parts of circuits that do not need to be shown to certain users. For example, you may want to hide the part numbers that call out a particular part number called out by a symbol. OR there may be an optional circuit that just needs to be hidden for a particular configuration of your design. Hide components or add space for text. Also part of this is a new Background and Foreground option for displaying objects in front of or behind another where they overlap. This makes complex schematics with Printed Circuit Boards much easier to create and form connections to.
5) Terminal Strip Improvements: Sorting and renumbering terminals works directly the Terminal Strips Editor by a right mouse click. This makes it easy to sort and renumber selected terminals according to positioning, marking or connection criteria. It is also easy to manually add a page break in the Terminal Strips Manager, so that you can divide the terminal strip by manually for your terminal trip drawings rather than relying on the automatic number of breaks defined by the configuration options. Other items new for terminal strips include the management of the maximum number of connections for the terminal, and the mnemonic address of the terminal can be defined as PLCs have offered.
6) Paste Special: If you reuse circuits that have locations and functions defined that should stay the same but component mark should index to the next available number, Paste Special will be your best friend. While using the Paste Special command, a dialog box opens allowing you to manage marks.
7) Locations: This may be my favorite new improvement. Locations boxes have been completely overhauled so that components can automatically be adopted by drawing a location box around them. There is also support for different display styles that include a single line font, double line font, solid thick line and a filled in box typical for PCBs. A Zig Zag is added at the bottom of the symbol if the Location box is used more than once in your project to illustrate that there are more items on those locations elsewhere. The same capability for adopting components is also available for Function boxes. These improvements will make your schematics conform you Aerospace standards as well as your own unique corporate standards.
8) Wiring Improvements: I could have done a top 10 list on just the wring improvements and may do so as a future article, but I do want to summarize the great enhancements to wiring that were added: First, Wire and Equipotential properties can be accessed by a right click on the wire in the schematic versus having to dive into the Wire Cable Order menus structure. Users can edit the mark of the wire, the signal, function or color at this screen. Next, wore conflicts are now displayed graphically on the connection points so there is no doubt that a problem has occurred. If a conflict is displayed, there is a new conflict resolution option that will walk you through correcting the problem. Connecting wires from one page to another was already very easy as users needed to just click the open ends of a wire an connect them, resulting ion reference labels that are always up to date, but now a new automatic wire connection option allows the signals that are the same across multiple pages be connected with one click! Finally, there is a new automatic Wire Order optimization algorithm to reduce the amount of manual wire order changes that may need to occur.
9) Title Blocks: A simple right mouse click in the document browser lets you gain access common title block tools. Users can update, replace and remove title blocks right away, and access the actual title block in use to make changes if the administrator allows it. And any open document can be added to the title block library, like you can already with the Symbols library.
10) Reports and Calculations: The reports interface has received a facelift to make it easier to browse through standard reports to add to your project. A new type of reporting system has also been added with this improved interface to calculation style reports, live voltage drop calculation checks. There are improved parameters that you can add to your wires and cables, like Applied Voltage, Full Load Current and Inrush Factor. Reports pre-built in the software include calculations for voltage drop, KW Loss, AMP capacity and more.