Control Engineering Autodesk custom newsletter for June 7, 2004


A custom advertising newsletter from Control Engineering & Autodesk| June 7, 2004

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CAD for the Electrical Engineer

Autodesk hosts two Webcasts to demonstrate AutoCAD Electrical

For much of the history of CAD (computer aided design) software, the lion's share of attention and available products has been devoted to mechanical engineers and their issues. As a result, electrical engineers often see CAD as a tool for mechanical engineers and feel overlooked in the design process. This lack of parity in available software tools is considered by many to be one of the principal reasons behind the lack of proper communication between electrical and mechanical engineers—a problem that hinders the agile manufacturing required of companies in today's marketplace.

To address this situation, Autodesk offers AutoCAD Electrical—a 2D CAD tool that can help electrical engineers design and document controls systems easier, faster, and more accurately. Design time reductions of 20-30% using AutoCAD Electrical are not uncommon. Full details of the AutoCAD Electrical tool will be explored in two Autodesk Webcasts on June 11 and June 25. Click here to find out more about these Webcasts and register to attend.

"After evaluating all the other software, and trying several of them, I would say AutoCAD Electrical is the only logical choice."
—Wayne Gatlin/Sr. Designer/Tegron

An intelligent electrical controls design package, AutoCAD Electrical helps electrical engineers automate many facets of the electrical controls design process, meet aggressive customer schedules, and drastically reduce errors and increase design collaboration with mechanical engineering counterparts.

Made for anyone designing or laying out ladder-style control schematics or point-to-point wiring diagrams, AutoCAD Electrical 2004 can save time and improve drawing accuracy in designs including programmable logic controller (PLC) I/O, motor control, or discrete electrical control components. AutoCAD Electrical uses the AutoCAD DWG file to store important project information and therefore does not require a proprietary database. As a result engineers can edit and manipulate AutoCAD Electrical drawings using standard AutoCAD software and maintain complete drawing compatibility with other AutoCAD users.

"We have been able to reduce schematic and layout errors by 90%… and reduced project times by 25%"
—Tim Hortaridis, Osgood Industries

AutoCAD Electrical provides the following high-level benefits:

  • Fast control schematic generation
    AutoCAD Electrical is an industry-specific version of the AutoCAD software application designed for an electrical engineer or designer who designs or documents industrial control systems. AutoCAD Electrical ships with a comprehensive set of JIC and IEC electrical symbols as well as a set of pneumatic symbols.

  • Automatic wire numbering and component tagging
    AutoCAD Electrical automatically places sequential or reference-based numbers on all wires and components based on the chosen configuration. It also attaches a suffix to reference-based numbers and tags to ensure unique names (for example, 406, 406A, 406B). If AutoCAD Electrical determines that an inserted wire will interfere with another object, it searches for a clear spot to place the wire number and automatically draws a leader back to the wire, if necessary.

  • Automatic creation of PLC I/O drawings from spreadsheets
    Automatically generate a complete set of PLC I/O drawings by defining a project's I/O assignments using any spreadsheet program. As AutoCAD Electrical works its way through the spreadsheet, it creates new drawings as required to accommodate the inserted modules. If a module doesn't fit in a column, AutoCAD Electrical automatically breaks it at the bottom of the ladder and continues it at the top of the next ladder column or in the next drawing.


  • Smart panel layout drawings
    Once schematic creation is complete, AutoCAD Electrical extracts a list of schematic components for placement into panel layout drawings. The footprint representation of each schematic device is inserted into the layout at the engineer's selection point. A link is established between the schematic and panel representations of a device so that changes to one prompt for permission to update the other.

  • Automatic reports
    Generate many different types of reports at any stage of the project, including:

    • Bill of materials (BOM) reports (tallied, purchase list format, or by tag ID)

    • From/to wire reports

    • Cable reports

    • Terminal reports

    • PLC I/O reports

    • Component reports

    • Connector plug/jack reports

    • Various exception and design rules check reports

Reports can also be inserted into a drawing as a table or saved directly to Microsoft Excel or Access, XML, ASCII, or CSV format.

  • Reuse existing drawings
    To reuse drawings from another project, just incorporate a copy of that drawing into the new project and AutoCAD Electrical takes care of the rest. Or, when reusing an entire drawing set for a new design, the Copy Project utility can be used.

  • Real-time coil and contact cross-referencing
    AutoCAD Electrical sets up a parent/child relationship between the coil and contact and keeps track of how many contacts are assigned to any coil or multi-contact device. The software sends an alert when the limit has been reached.


  • Share drawings and track changes
    AutoCAD Electrical drawings can be viewed and edited by any DWG-compatible program such as AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT software. When drawings are returned from outside sources, AutoCAD Electrical can create a report of what was changed. And when it's time for a drawing revision, AutoCAD Electrical can create a report of changes made since the last update.

  • Web publishing
    AutoCAD Electrical automatically creates the HTML pages and links needed to post a design to the Web for collaboration. Users can drag these drawings directly from the Web into an AutoCAD session.

  • Open and flexible API
    Two hundred programming entry points can be used to create powerful, custom applications such as automatic schematic generation or special drafting and design utilities. These applications can be written using AutoLISP, Visual LISP, Microsoft Visual Basic, Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications, C, C++, or AutoCAD scripting.

  • Cable and harness interface
    AutoCAD Electrical enables the creation of a from/to wire list that can be imported directly into Autodesk Inventor Professional for creating wire harness and cable designs. This list contains point-to-point connector and pin information.

To learn more about AutoCAD Electrical and see it demonstrated, be sure to register for and attend the Webcast on June 11or 25, by clicking here .

Autodesk Inc.
111 McInnis Parkway
San Rafael, CA 94903

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