Embracing Intelligent Schematics for Electrical Design

THE LAST TIME INDUSTRY EMBRACED A WIDESPREAD CHANGE FOR THE DESIGN AND DOCUMENTATION OF ELECTRICAL SCHEMATICS, THE PERSONAL COMPUTER REPLACED THE DRAFTING BOARD.

Intelligent schematics are the next evolution in electrical design.

There are many benefits to this technology. The largest advantage being a unified platform for design and collaboration—a tool that can create designs faster with fewer errors, cut the need for peer review, reduce change orders, and foster design re-use. This change is worth exploring.

Change in any organization is difficult; change is even more challenging when replacing an engineering system.

The question to ask is, what is the cost of not changing?

The measure of status quo is no longer a financial one. Factors like being able to find and maintain willing employees, getting new employees productive, partnering with an organization to get the most out of your investment, and having a tool that is adaptable across many business units are key factors in success.

Lightning Fast Design

Intelligent Schematics allow faster creation of electrical designs. The systems do this by automating the clerical tasks an engineer needs to complete a design. Time spent completing clerical tasks is time taken away from design and innovation.

Intelligent schematics also keeps all designs and design standards in one place. With an intelligent schematic design tool, an engineering department output becomes more homogeneous.

At a glance—design at breakneck speed when you:

  • Use libraries for symbols, parts, and wires
  • Automate device tagging and wire numbering
  • Assemble correct and dynamic reporting

Fewer Errors

Engineers strive to produce correct and complete designs for an initial release. As designs become bigger and more complex, the ability to do that decreases. A peer review system will catch some errors in design, but often it does not catch everything. With this valuable time, engineers could be instead checking design integrity. Intelligent schematics all but end peer review for clerical error checking.

Without intelligent schematics, catching errors that slip by peer review happens on the shop floor, creating the second phase of engineering during manufacturing. Another risk introduced by clerical error-driven engineering change lays in manufacturing the incorrect version or release of a product.

The second type of clerical error occurs when a design changes. What should be a simple swap can incur a change in upwards of 30 different places on a schematic. Intelligent schematics eliminate this. Make a change once, and that change populates throughout the design.

At a glance—no more checking and re-checking when you:

  • Automate clerical error checking
  • Complete and correct clerical tasks the first time
  • Reduce peer review time
  • Decrease engineering change documentation
  • Make design changes easier

Upcycling Electrical Schematics

Our mechanical engineering colleges have been using and re-using sub-assemblies for a long time. Traditional electrical schematic design re-use involves many steps and takes away valuable time. It is arguable that there is no time difference in this type of design re-use and creating the design from scratch.

Intelligent schematics allow you to save electrical sub-assemblies and keep them in a library for reuse not only by the engineer who created it, but also by the entire team. This elevates the idea of intelligent schematics beyond the building blocks of design.

At a glance—enable your engineers to:

  • Catalog an entire library of electrical sub-assemblies
  • Use the search tool to find sub-assemblies
  • Have a common library accessible for the department

Embracing the Future

Parametric design has been a staple of mechanical design for many years. Now is a great time to look at these toolsets that solve problems for electrical engineering departments. The usage of controls and electronics in all products is increasing and with that comes added workload to already thin departments. The right toolset combined with a company that’s going to partner with you for success is something to ignore no longer. A modern intelligent schematic design package will set your company up to attract the best engineering talent, maximize engineering budgets, continuously improve, and leverage designs in new ways.

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Meet the Author

Clare Schaeffer

Clare Schaeffer

As Electrical Product Manager, Clare leverages SOLIDWORKS Electrical to save her customers time. She's had experience in the “trenches” as a design engineer for new product development, including circuit boards, prior to joining GSC. She has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Valparaiso University and is a certified SOLIDWORKS (CSWS-MD) and Electrical Specialist (CSWS-E).

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