Powerful CAE software solution is driving productivity gains

21st December 2011
Written by : ES Admin
Powerful CAE software solution is driving productivity gains
Computer-aided engineering (CAE) software is the designer´s best friend, a tool proven to enhance the user´s productivity
It has liberated engineers from the most tedious aspects of their jobs, shortened project
turnaround times and improved the quality and accuracy of their work. Today´s advanced electrical CAE
(E-CAE) programs have automated many tasks, such as wire numbering and device tagging. Engineers are completing assignments that once took days or weeks in a fraction of the time. The latest generation of CAE programs such as EPLAN adds a powerful central database that enables them to provide substantial additional automation. This database can hold a large archive of recurrent content, ready for insertion into a project with a single keystroke. Engineers can convert project documentation into different languages or regional, national and international standards. This makes the database-centric CAE wellsuited for cross-country and cross-border collaborations or for serving a multinational customer base.

The database-centric CAE solution EPLAN can make every phase of a job, from design through production, more efficient or cost-effective with gains that include the following.

Improving Accuracy
The database-driven CAE delivers a systematic reduction of errors, error-checking and data redundancy.
Few, if any, errors survive to the manufacturing stage or beyond, where they´re significantly more costly to fix.

Leveraging Recurrent Content
Storing and reusing data opens the way to standardizing and modularizing product content. This accelerates design and manufacturing, and enables large economies of scale in purchasing components.
The benefits of standardization are so great that some companies redesign existing models to maximize
standard content so design and manufacturing for subsequent orders take less time. Others invest
considerable resources creating large content archives as part of their transition to a database-driven CAE. The archive can store frequently used components or complex macros of product assemblies and
subassemblies, all pre-validated.

Creating Efficiencies
The database can be integrated into a company´s IT architecture, allowing other departments to monitor a project´s progress for more accurate customer quotes, more timely and cost-effective stocking of components, and more reliable production and delivery scheduling.

Streamlining Interaction with Stakeholders
Project files can be exported to customers and re-imported with changes to speed up revisions and
approvals. They also can be exported to subcontractors to shorten delivery times. Engineers can import
component data directly from vendor catalogues.

3D Prototyping
Merging data with 3D modeling software lets engineers create virtual prototypes to prove a design before manufacturing. Mechatronic engineering requires smooth connectivity between mechanical engineering and all other engineering disciplines.

Superior Machine Setups
Automated setups of wire processing and enclosure manufacturing machines turn around orders faster, and with precise results.

Interdisciplinary Design as Needed
Most CAE systems are discipline specific. The EPLAN Platform with its integrated product platform supports design software for electrical as well as other engineering disciplines. In effect, the EPLAN Platform becomes a powerful multidisciplinary platform. Traditionally, engineering disciplines work separately, often with different software tools, passing a project back and forth as content is added or changed. When a process engineer adds a pneumatic-controlled butterfly valve to a design, the fluid engineer must add the fluid drive and the electrical engineer must provide control for it. Working separately, each designer´s intent is self-referencing, and colleagues might not understand it. If those same engineers work together on a project as part of a multidisciplinary team and use the integrated product platform of EPLAN, they get greater speed and accuracy and a high degree of assurance their contributions fit well together. Data is shared across all disciplines. As changes are made, the system makes updates automatically wherever those changes occur or otherwise affect the project. In addition, revisions management has been streamlined.

Maximum speed and easy search and find of component data
EPLAN´s innovation for up-to-date component data accessibility is the Data Portal, a single-source
web-based library of certified parts data from the world´s leading manufacturers. It lets engineers import component data directly into projects. The data is always current, tested and verified free of errors. Users no longer need to leaf through multiple vendor catalogs to search for the right parts - another low-value use of an engineer´s time. More than 40 manufacturers with in total more than 180.000 devices are included and frequently used by engineers with more than nine million downloads so far.


Quality Improvements in Maintenance Engineering
Traditionally, the process of obtaining customer revisions and applying them is prone to delay, which can
disrupt production schedules. With modern CAE systems like EPLAN, project documentation can be
exported to customers in formats such as smart PDFs, and their changes are reimported and incorporated automatically. Once a design is finalized, the CAE automatically generates a complete build package for manufacturing that includes all diagrams, lists and component IDs, and if desired, automated setups for NC machining and wire processing. The maintenance technician in the field similarly is empowered. Product data typically is available in multiple electronic formats, suitable for continuous updating. Engineers can access project PDFs on a laptop or tablet for quick and mobile troubleshooting and resolution. The EPLAN viewing tool can be connected to the visualization tool running in the control room. That´s a far cry from arriving at a customer location to find the machine´s printed manual missing, damaged or hopelessly out of date.

Fostering international collaboration
Corporations with multiple locations around the world often end up using different design tools due to
decentralization of engineering operations. Replacing various legacy systems with a single advanced CAE solution like EPLAN enables seamless data transfers and real-time collaboration by teams that are
geographically separated, resulting in a more efficient use of a company´s human and software assets.
EPLAN transcends geography and language barriers by automatically converting projects to different
languages and output formats, making it easier to collaborate with colleagues, customers, and suppliers in different parts of the world and bring projects to a conclusion faster.

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