Defragmenting and elevating electrical design beyond basic CAD

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Written by Kristjan Müül

Posted on May 20, 2024

As electrical designers, we’ve seen a significant evolution of electrical design tools over the past decades. Basic CAD tools have nevertheless served as the backbone for many electrical design projects, and continue to be used, but their limitations become apparent as the complexity and scale of engineering tasks grow.

When basic CAD tools are used, the resulting fragmented nature of electrical design projects and their disconnected deliverables is the source of practically all challenges faced by engineering offices. Consequently, this is a key area to target for optimization.

Nowadays, staying competitive requires more than just keeping up, you must stay ahead! In this blog, I delve into some of the challenges faced by engineering offices that use basic CAD in modern electrical design projects, and how CADMATIC Electrical offers a comprehensive solution to these challenges by defragmenting and elevating electrical design to a level that will keep you ahead of the chasing pack.

Basic CAD use in electrical design creates business challenges

It goes without saying that basic CAD tools necessitate the use of a wide range of disconnected software tools to cover all disciplines and project deliverables commonly required. The race to meet end customer expectations for quality, deadlines, and cost estimations is relentless. Basic CAD tools often fall short in supporting the full spectrum of design phases efficiently, leading to missed opportunities and strained resources.

You have probably also noticed the associated increase in manpower requirements. The manual nature of processes in basic CAD systems means that you need more hands-on deck. This directly translates to higher operational costs – a significant concern for any engineering office aiming for scalability and efficiency.

It also means you need to juggle software licenses and packages, some of which are ill-suited for electrical design, which adds further complexity and expenses. The use of basic CAD will not provide any added value in the future either; the benefits of today's work remain limited to the present.

The flexibility to start small and scale up is often difficult or even impossible and financially draining with basic CAD solutions. These tools often do not score high marks with regards the transparency and manageability of the design process either. This lack of transparency makes quality management a significant challenge.

Manual and time-consuming work with change management issues

From a practical design and design process perspective, Basic CAD use for electrical design projects creates several inefficiencies. Just because we have become used to dealing with these issues by doing workarounds and tolerating manual work and additional working hours, does not mean this is what will keep us competitive in future.

One of my pet hates with Basic CAD is the high amount of manual effort required starting from standardized symbols and ID handling up to template creation and reports. It is not only time-consuming but also greatly increases potential errors and inefficiencies.

Imagine reclaiming your time many times over with a system where these elements are readily available and effortlessly maintained. The same goes for manual change management. It is a risky business where the lack of functional support from the software means you must rely on diligent engineers to catch and update every necessary change. No matter how good your design team is, this results in a time-consuming and error-prone process.

The last challenge I want to highlight is that Basic CAD systems significantly hamper collaborative efforts. Without a unified platform, the synchronization of work both internally inside electrical systems and externally across electrical, automation, and instrumentation design becomes a massive task, one you’d rather avoid if you could. And you can!

The CADMATIC Electrical difference – defragment and optimize your resources

By offering a centralized database and a suite of automated functionalities covering all electrical project deliverables, CADMATIC Electrical directly addresses the above-mentioned pain points.

CADMATIC Electrical’s library of standardized symbols saves a lot of time and reduces errors while it streamlines the creation of all the drawings and templates you need with intelligent copying functionality and next-level generation tools. It’s a total gamechanger when you can say goodbye to the manual slog of placing objects in multiple documents.

When you need to make changes at any stage of the project, the centralized database makes it a breeze. Changing the location of a motor in a layout drawing, for example, updates all related documents automatically. In this case, room or ship frame information in diagrams is automatically updated as well as cable lengths in the cable list. This way, you instantly ensure the quality and consistency of all your project documents.

With CADMATIC Electrical you will be able to cooperate seamlessly across disciplines with integrated data management and sharing capabilities, significantly reducing the manpower required for effective project execution.

CADMATIC Electrical offers a total solution for electrical engineering, allowing electrical designers to manage all project deliverables within a single CAD software platform. Its interconnected design environment ensures data integrity and seamless updates across documents, freeing user from manual tasks. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with other disciplines like process engineering and 3D modeling, enhancing collaboration and project efficiency.

What next?

I hope that my blog has been thought provoking. Maybe you recognize that your engineering office faces many or some of the challenges above. It is understandable, however, that you may be hesitant to move away from familiar tools, even though you suspect they are holding you back.

At Cadmatic, we are ready to make the process of elevating your electrical design to the next level as seamless as possible.

Let’s start with a demonstration of the software at a time that is convenient and/or do a free trial of any of our electrical design packages. Seeing is believing! Transitioning from basic CAD to CADMATIC Electrical isn't just an upgrade; it's a transformational shift that redefines what's possible in electrical design.

Ready to explore how CADMATIC Electrical can revolutionize your design process? Dive deeper into our solution and discover real benefits for yourself.