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OEM Update

E-CAE software fosters overall efficiency

August 19, 2011 5:33 am

Electrical Computer-Aided Engineering (E-CAE) software increases engineering efficiency, accuracy and lowers maintenance cost
Engineering has grown with the evolution of technology. New disciplines and uses have emerged, demanding better methods and tools that help engineers and businesses to keep up. Electrical Computer-Aided Engineering (E-CAE) software has been shown to enhance controls hardware engineering in many traditional and new industries, as well as educational institutes. An E-CAE example is the EPLAN Electric P8 electrical design software from EPLAN Software & Services that fosters inter-disciplinary collaboration by incorporating electrical, fluid power, and process control engineering tools in one solution
What sets E-CAE software apart from traditional computer-aided drafting (CAD) tools is the integration of a powerful central database. When a database is incorporated in a CAE system, it has the ability to support more than one discipline. Such a system internalises all of the design and reporting tools required by multiple disciplines like electrical, fluid power, and process control engineering. The results are improved design quality and turnaround times in product development and order fulfilment with significant cost savings. This is accomplished through a number of functionalities enabled by the central data backbone supported CAE tools. Typical gains are:• Improved workflow among engineering disciplines. Separate departments are able to work simultaneously on a project instead of sequentially.• Much closer collaboration among designers, manufacturers, customers, suppliers, and service technicians.• The database enables storage and reuse of data that, to an extent, has not been previously possible. This encourages standardisation and modularisation of product content.• The systematic reduction in errors and the amount of time devoted to error-checking. The system also minimises data redundancy within and across disciplines.• The ability to shorten design timelines and have a more reliable production schedule.• Increased data consistency and tracking for more efficient part sourcing and inventory management.• Automated setup of wire processing and enclosure manufacturing.• The creation of a digital work environment for automation, controls, and mechatronic design.• Providing engineers with the ability to merge data with 3D modeling software to create virtual prototypes. This allows for designs to be validated before manufacturing begins.
Efficient engineeringCompanies using database-driven E-CAE software often opt to change how their workflows are structured for more streamlined engineering. From start to finish, projects are able to progress faster and with increased accuracy.
The database standardises information and enables data sharing among different departments and processes, making it possible for all disciplines to work together and create an integrated build package. Using a company’s existing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Product Data Management (PDM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), or other enterprise systems, CAE databases can be connected to multiple departments within the company such as sales, purchasing, accounting, manufacturing, and service. Since the same data is used across departments and disciplines, changes become transparent, providing contributors with a clear understanding of the project status. Collaborators separated by only a few feet or thousands of miles can share the same data in real time.
Pre-designDuring pre-design, the CAE database permits necessary design and build data to be easily imported from a specified source or accessed from an archive of standardised design elements and modular product options. The archive is able to store data on frequently used parts or complex macros of entire product assemblies and sub-assemblies. These elements and options are already pre-validated, ensuring they are error free.

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