Tech Briefs

Integrating Electrical Systems into 3D Mechanical Models

Real-time integration of 2D schematics and 3D models allows mechanical and electrical teams to better collaborate and deliver more accurate designs.

Product development teams are under increasing pressure to engineer more complex products that combine numerous electrical systems within a single design, including visual interfaces, power systems, logic controllers, complex wiring and harnesses. Simplifying the design of these electro-mechanical systems using intelligent design tools, and a shared, comprehensive parts database, medical device designers are able to achieve significant cost savings. These savings are multiplied when this electrical design work is done in perfect synchronization with the mechanical and industrial design teams using a shared data model.

altAny company involved in the design or manufacture of equipment with electrical systems can benefit from planning and integrating electrical systems into their overall 3D mechanical models. New applications pave the way for electrical and mechanical engineering teams to collaborate during product development, which streamlines the design phase, and reduces product delays, thus resulting in consistent and standardized designs, lower costs, and faster time-to-market.

The ability to efficiently and effectively collaborate between multi-disciplined development teams is a significant factor in the in the overall development cycle time and development cost of a product. To address these needs, SolidWorks has developed a powerful and integrated design and logistical tool suite that provides a unique development platform that simplifies and streamlines the development of complex electromechanical products.

SolidWorks Electrical includes three applications that work together to aid designers: a 2D schematic design tool for electrical system architecture and planning; a 3D add-on to the CAD application that connects 2D systems-level schematics to 3D models designed with the software; and a Professional version, for users working in both 2D and 3D areas of electrical development.

SolidWorks Electrical Professional provides a means for integrating electrical designs within a 3D mechanical design. This unique capability enables the consolidation of design, supply chain and manufacturing elements into a single platform. These capabilities were developed to address the unique requirements that each design team in a specific discipline requires, while maintaining the compatibility with the existing industry tools. For electrical engineers, a schematic based interface with an extensive and easily expandable part library, which has the capability to import and utilize existing data formats, is provided, while a bi-directional bridge between the electrical schematic and 3D design tools are provided for a mechanical engineer.

Using a combination of 2D and 3D technology, the professional version enables medical equipment designers to merge the logic of electrical design with the physical aspect of mechanical design. This integration creates a logical- to-physical association that enables quick and efficient definition, design, and documentation within a single integrated design platform. This combination of 2D and 3D technology, coupled in a real-time bi-directional collaborative environment, enables medical equipment manufacturers to concurrently develop complex electro- mechanical products, which speeds development and discovery of potential problems early in the design process when they can be more easily and economically resolved.

The intuitive interfaces, extensive and expandable libraries, and bi-directional collaborative environments of the software, coupled with advanced routing technologies, are suited for medical equipment manufacturers who have the need to efficiently incorporate electrical and mechanical components in their product designs. As a newly released product, the software is under evaluation by major medical equipment manufacturers for product development. SolidWorks Electrical is already used in adjacent markets and has resulted in vast improvements in productivity, quality, time to market, and overall product development costs.

This article was written by Louis Feinstein, Senior Product Manager, SolidWorks Electrical, Waltham, MA. For more information, visit http://info.hotims.com/45599-180.