Developing electrical systems can often feel like planning an event. There are many moving parts, lots of unknowns, and the requirements can quickly shift and evolve as the date draws closer. Suppose it’s something you put together annually or multiple times a year – it would only make sense to save the numbers of your favorite vendors, prepare your invitations and mailing addresses and overall tighten down your process to save time in the future. As with anything, having the right tools can help. SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic is a fantastic electrical design solution that can help you plan out your system, adapt to changes and automate repeatable procedures to produce high-quality, professional drawings time and time again.
While every project you compose may be unique to a specific client or application, there will often be elements of the design that are frequently used or outright repeated from one job to the next. If you were not directly involved in developing a previous project or some time has passed since you were, it can be very easy to lose track of these elements, leading to time wasted either hunting them down or redrafting them from scratch.
Frequently Used Elements as Macros
To avoid this, SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic allows you to save frequently used content as macros in your own shared, searchable library. This allows users to quickly locate the content they or others within their organization have created and reuse it through simple drag and drop controls. This reduces the amount of “tribal knowledge” required to draft up a new project and improves the consistency of electrical documentation from one project to the next. With a bit of Excel know-how, macros can even be used to initiate the skeleton of an entire project from a set of inputs in a spreadsheet, reducing the impact on the engineering team by allowing project managers or even sales to define the scope of a system and required drawings quickly.
When reconsidering your approach to electrical design, you may find many of the practices you currently follow were developed around the limitations of the tools you now own. One such example is using sheets marked “Intentionally Left Blank” to reserve space for elements or options to possibly be added to a project without disrupting the page arrangement.
With modern tools like SOLIDWORKS Electrical, these practices are no longer required, as the application manages the relationship of project drawings to one another automatically. If you need to add, remove or reorder a page, it’s just a simple matter of drag and drop. Because the data relating to a drawing’s sheet number is not stored in the file name (or even the file itself), sheets can be adjusted effortlessly without negatively impacting the rest of the project.
This principle holds true for title block properties as well. For example, a drawing number common to all sheets within a group of drawings is often created to help identify the system it is documenting. In practice, this can be difficult to manage if the data is stored in the files, as it would need to be manually added to each file and maintained in some way were it to change. Since SOLIDWORKS Electrical stores all this information in the SQL project database, it is a trivial matter to encode this behavior into your templates to improve the reliability of your designs.
Having a project database also makes collecting information from contained drawings a much simpler process. Using an automated report template included in the base configuration of the product, you can quickly collate the properties of all drawings and present them in a project index. Each record in the table can even contain a hyperlink to other drawings, providing the reader with quick access to the drawing whether they have access to the software or are simply viewing a PDF copy. Off-page references also benefit from the project database, remaining intact even if pages are rearranged or circuits are moved on a page. References are updated automatically and contain hyperlinks that even a PDF viewer can benefit from, making project navigation a breeze.
Learn more details about this topic in the below on-demand webinar! SOLIDWORKS Electrical can help you reclaim control over your project documents and provide you with the flexible tools you need to adapt to shifting design requirements and aggressive timelines.