Want a laugh? Google “wiring nightmare.” That’s the kind of mess you can get when you rely on spreadsheets, clipboards and piles of drawings to design and document your cables and wire harnesses. Seriously, how you design and document all those connecting wires and components that give purpose to embedded software and deliver power and data to the products that make up our electro-mechanical world is every bit as important as your mechanical CAD design and documentation efforts.
Yet, traditionally, wiring design has been a job that you thought about sometime or other in the product design process. This benign neglect and less than rigorously structured associated workflows can and will haunt you before you get a product out the door or, worse, in the field. Today’s Pick of the Week is about how you can bring wiring design and documentation into the 21st Century.
Zuken develops comprehensive, specialized software systems for the design and documentation of wire harnesses, cable assemblies, control systems, and panel layouts as well as fluid design for hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Late last year, it released the 2014 version of its E³.series of integrated applications. Here’s a little background.
The E³.series is a modular set of integrated electrical CAD and documentation solutions. It lets you use multi-view project files where all project design data such as schematics, cable plans, control panels, form boards and fluid detail are kept and dynamically linked. It has built in real-time design rule checks, intelligent libraries of symbols and components and file viewing and similar collaboration tools. E³.series software integrates and plays nice with major mechanical CAD, PDM (product data management) and PLM (product lifecycle management) systems. There’s a ton more features, but you get the idea.
The E³.series gives you a structure and set of tools for electrical wiring, control system and fluid engineering design, documentation and related processes. You can extend its functionalities to map it to your engineering needs and it extends to bring electrical design and documentation processes and data into your organization.
E³.series 2014 was a major release that emphasized ease of use and manufacturing and design productivity. Recently, Zuken rolled out version 2014A of its E³.series of applications. This is a substantial update that complements its predecessor by focusing on enhanced manufacturing features intended to help reduce manufacturing costs. A couple of highlights illustrate that.
First is the new E³.PLC Bridge solution. It brings bidirectional PLC (programmable logic controller) data exchange for machinery formats like B&R Automation Studio. B&R Automation Studio lets you configure the controller, drive, communication and visualization in a single environment. Bidirectional data transfer improves data quality as it accelerates interaction between electrical design and software development teams.
Second, is the new eCl@ss Advanced tool. eCl@ss is an ISO/IEC compliant cross-industry product data standard for classifying and describing more than 39,000 product classes and 16,000 properties spanning all disciplines. The eCl@ss Advanced tool enables efficient download and read-in of electrical component data from the eCl@ss format into E³.series libraries, which means your component libraries are up-to-date and accurate.
You can learn more about the E³.series 2014A release from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. You’ll find links to supplementary data like videos and on-demand webinars. But the most interesting link is the one where you can sign up for a no-cost E³.series 2014 test drive.
Yeah, yeah. I know. Lots of developers offer test drives. This one is different in three big ways. First, it’s in the cloud, so you’re not installing an application. You register, login and start poking around. Two, your test drive comes with a nearly four-hour, step-by-step harness design tutorial. Three, you have access to technical support. No kidding. That’s a test drive. So, hit today’s Pick of the Week link, learn a little more about Zuken’s E³.series then take it for a spin.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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