Seven ways automation design software helps IIoT

Electrical and automation design software can help with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) automation implementations in seven ways. See product examples.

By Mark T. Hoske June 6, 2020


Learning Objectives

  • Automation design software can save time and money. 
  • Software includes computer-aided design (CAD) software, electrical design software, and simulation (design software). 

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) automation implementations can benefit from electrical and automation design software that:

1. Interconnects with other systems, preserving past efforts and avoiding rework when a plan is thrown over the wall to operations via incompatible software, or worse, transferred on paper.

2. Integrates design and development requirements by feeding simulation software or creating simulations by creating a digital twin during the design process. Doing so can optimize product or product flow in software, rather than in prototypes or on the plant floor, which is a much costlier time to make changes.

3. Automates repetitive tasks by applying rule sets or parameters in templates for future work, incorporating best practices along the way.

4. Extends the design through simulation into operator training. In some cases, operators can begin training as designs are being completed.

5. Concurrent design and sharing tools makes it easier to integrate input from operations, maintenance, and other areas during design, saving rework later.

6. Uses software features, depending on project size and complexity, to enable virtual factory acceptance tests, which saves time and decreases travel and human exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

7. Incorporates product lifecycle considerations more easily to update the digital twin and for subsequent faster design iterations based on product use.

These, along with other benefits of automation and electrical design software, can shorten time to productivity.

Automation design software examples

While no one software package may satisfy each of these attributes, individual offerings do address many of these automation design software capabilities. The New Products for Engineers Database from CFE Media and Technology includes software in the following categories, as well as others. Examples in each area follow.

Computer-aided design (CAD) software

Contact Elements from Contact Software: Contact Elements is the world’s leading open technology behind our products and the solutions of our customers and partners. Elements brings everything together to make developers and users more productive. Its modular design ensures that IT components are easier to integrate and new requirements can be met more quickly.

NX CAM from Siemens Digital Industries Software: NX for manufacturing software is an end-to-end solution for part manufacturing, which can accelerate machining, program multiple robots, print color parts, and generate production-ready CNC programs using a cloud-based technology.

Robotmaster V7 from Hypertherm Inc.: Robotmaster V7 is a standalone, task-based robot programming platform integrating CAD/CAM (computer-aid machining) functionality for welding, cutting and other process experts without buying or learning complex CAD/CAM software. It can be used for offline robotic programming in a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, power generation/energy and welding.

Electrical design software

AutoCAD Electrical software from Autodesk Inc.: Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical engineering software automates common design tasks and facilitates drafting productivity. It includes all the functionality of AutoCAD software, plus electrical CAD software features such as symbol libraries, bill of materials (BOM) reporting, and PLC I/O design that make control design faster and more efficient.

Design Master Electrical from Design Master Software: An electrical design program in the familiar AutoCAD (by Autodesk) environment integrates calculations and drafting. Generate panel schedules, create one-line diagrams, calculate fault and voltage drop, and more.

ETAP 19 – Team Engineering, Cloud-Based Collaboration & Arc Flash IEEE-1584-2018 from ETAP: ETAP 19 is a breakthrough product that brings in brand new team-based engineering and cloud collaboration for power system modeling, analysis and operation. It includes the new IEEE 1584-2018 standard, the latest guide for performing arc flash hazard calculations.

 Simulation (design software)

Adams Explore from MSC Software Corp.: Adams helps engineers to study the dynamics of moving parts, and how loads and forces are distributed throughout mechanical systems. Product manufacturers often struggle to understand true system performance until very late in the design process. Mechanical, electrical, and other subsystems are validated against requirements within the systems engineering process, but full-system testing and validation comes late, leading to rework and design changes that are riskier and more costly than those made early on.

Mimic Simulation Software v3.6.3 from Mynah Technologies: This release of Mimic, v3.6.3, contains new functionality that makes improving plant operations easier and faster, including enhancements for better mining and solids process simulations, simulation performance enhancements and optimizations, and new simulated input/output (I/O) driver for Siemens PCS7 and S7 Systems.

Studio 5000 from Rockwell Automation: The Studio 5000 environment combines engineering and design elements into one standard framework that enables optimized productivity and reduced commissioning time. The environment allows faster responses to changing market and business needs, while reducing total costs of ownership, including maintenance and training.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

KEYWORDS: Automation design software, CAD, simulation software


What software for automation design shortens your time to productivity?

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.