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Electrical CAD System Enhances Manufacturing Support

Zuken says that new features in the 2014A update of its E³.series electrical and fluid CAD software suite provide manufacturing cost reductions through enhanced electrical design. The 2014A update debuts integration with B&R Automation Studio, data export for drilling and milling machines, XVL output for the free Lattice Technology viewer, enhanced support for Komax wire processing machinery and a new eCl@ss data standard tool. Additionally, the developer reports enhancements in its support for harness families and harness derivatives offer timesaving benefits.

E3 panel Zuken Z0396

E³.panel allows engineers to export drill holes and cutouts for manufacturing directly out of the panel design. Image courtesy of Zuken.

Zuken’s E³.series is a modular set of integrated solutions for electrical wiring, control systems and fluid engineering. It is made up of tool sets for the design and documentation of wire harnesses, cable assemblies, control systems and schematic layouts as well as tools for fluid design of hydraulic and pneumatic systems. It offers multi-view project files in which projects contain and dynamically link all aspects of a design, such as schematics, cable plans, control panels, form boards and fluid detail. The E³.series has built in real-time design rule checks, and its intelligent parts libraries provide automatic part selection and real-time design rule checks to avert errors. E³.series software integrates with major mechanical CAD, PDM (product data management) and PLM (product lifecycle management) systems.

The 2014 version of E³.series, released late last year, highlighted new functionality for panel manufacturing and new ease of use features for its E³.schematic solution for designing and documenting plant, machinery and electrical control schematics. The 2014 rollout also marked the release of Zuken’s new E³.eCheck electrical analysis software for identifying errors early in the development stage.

Zuken Z0413 Options Wires

All optional wires and all possible routing paths are created automatically by E³.series software, according to the company. Image courtesy of Zuken.

The E³.panel solution for laying out and documenting components inside panel enclosures has the ability to place 3D components in free space without a predetermined mounting fixture. E³.panel+ support for the DXF file format provides layer-based output for milling and drilling machines. This, explains Zuken, allows drill holes and cut outs, for example, to be defined in the library. Manufacturing data then generates automatically, all of which eliminates time-consuming manual data creation while minimizing the potential for errors. The import function also allows DXF data to be read directly in E³.schematic for viewing.

New ease-of-use features in the E³.schematic solution include the ability to highlight objects in folders from the device tree, which includes additional information such as supplier name, current rating or user-defined attributes. Other enhancements include user-defined icons to represent unique parts and grouped parts for improved design reuse.

To help identify errors at the development stage, the E³.eCheck extension provides DC functional analysis and circuit checks for E³.series designs. This utility tool automatically ensures a schematic is functionally accurate and that wires as well as fuses are within the acceptable tolerances. E³.eCheck works in real-time and, adds Zuken, provides instant visual and audible feedback. E³.eCheck also simulates functionality checks, such as simulating current flow through a circuit, opening and closing contacts or energizing coils.

The 2014A E³.series update extends last year’s release with new and enhanced manufacturing features intended to help reduce manufacturing costs, according to the company. For drilling and milling, for example, manufacturing output is produced by E³.CutOut feature automatically. This feature uses drill hole and cutout definitions from the E³.series library to export data such as outlines, cut outs, drill holes and restrictions in standardized DXF format. This functionality reduces machining preparation time and increases accuracy, says Zuken.

Zuken Z0413 PLC Bridge Update

E³.PLC Bridge provides a bidirectional interface to automate data exchange with programmable logic controllers. Image courtesy of Zuken.

Zuken estimates that the E³.series 2014A’s new enhanced support for Komax wire processing machinery can reduce assembly times by more than 50%. The new support automatically produces wire bundles, eliminating the need to create and cut wires manually by referring to schematic drawings.

Lattice viewer support, first introduced last year, includes lightweight 3D XVL format support. This, says Zuken, enables 3D panel viewing and animation in XVL Player, the free XVL file view and interrogation application from Lattice. When coupled with the XVL Studio technical document-authoring tool from Lattice, users can generate animated, step-by-step assembly movies, which can help make the manufacturing process clearer and faster.

The new E³.PLC Bridge solution, says the company, provides easy-to-use bidirectional PLC (programmable logic controller) data exchange for widely used machinery sector formats like B&R Automation Studio. B&R Automation Studio, explains Zuken, allows the controller, drive, communication and visualization to be configured in a single environment, reducing integration time and maintenance costs. With bidirectional data transfer, interaction between electrical design and software development teams is accelerated and data quality improved, according to the company.

Zuken Z0413 XVL Viewer

An E³.series panel design shown in Lattice XVL Viewer. Image courtesy of Zuken.

The new eCl@ss Advanced tool introduced in E³.series 2014A, Zuken reports, enables efficient download and read-in of electrical component data from the eCl@ss format into E³.series libraries. eCl@ss Advanced contains electrical component data from component manufacturers that can be used to quickly create library components that are up-to-date and accurate. 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.

In E³.series 2014A, Zuken enhanced its E³.cable solution for designing and documenting cable plans and harness layouts and E³.formboard for creating cable harness drawings for manufacturing. Both now support harness families and harness derivatives within a single design. This enhancement eliminates the need to handle different options of the same wire. Additionally, different wire lengths requiring specific properties can be handled within a single design and viewed and managed with fewer steps.

To learn more about the full complement of applications in E³.series 2014, go here.

Click here to sign up for a free test drive of E³.series 2014.

See what else is new with the 2014/2014A releases of E³.series.

Watch some videos on the E³.series in action by feature and by industry.

Go here for details on Zuken’s live and on-demand webinar series.

Learn about optional extensions for E³.series.

See why DE’s Editors selected the 2014A update to Zuken’s E³.series electrical and fluid CAD software as their Pick of the Week.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@digitaleng.news.