We are currently trying to assess if the higher functionality of AcadE is right for us. We have access to the software but are currently creating our documents manually. Before we go out for training we are trying to assess if it is worthwile for us.
One of our major concerns is as an engineering firm we do not always get to choose how many / what types of drawings we must create. For instance if we were to make a design for a VSD driven motor circuit fed from an MCC bucket we would have to update / create the following drawings:
MCC front arrangement
MCC Signle line diagram
Wiring diagrams (Point to point but showing from the MCC to the VFD to the Motor but also any feedback, coms and control wiring as well. These additional aspects would usually go back to a control panel ie PLC cabinet and possibly through a marshalling panel or junction box)
Schematic diagrams (these are the standard idea of a schematic and are more used for concept / PLC programming then actual wiring.)
PLC / Control Panel Layouts
PLC / Control Panel Wiring.
Loop / Instrument wiring
Now for most of these drawings we have been told by our reseller that these drawings can be created / manipulated easily but when speaking with them they did not realize that the wiring and schematic drawings basically show the same thing and the PLC panel wiring diagram shows the interfacing terminal strip the cables land on as well. So that in some cases the PLC terminals, breakers and wiring is shown 3 times plus a physical representation is shown on the PLC Panel Layout. So basically my issue is that how they showed us we can only show the same terminal twice. Once on the schematic and once on the layout. Any other representations are going to be manual and would not update when changed and we attempt a global update. This would be true for our cable and wire numbers, I/O points and any other components located in the PLC / Control panels. They are shown on the wiring diagrams, PLC Wiring diagrams and the schematics.
So basically I am asking if there is a way to do this in the software where we can show the same point 3 to 4 times on 3 to 4 different drawings in different ways and still have them intelligent / update as one. How would this affect the BOM and any other reports?
Sorry for the long winded question but any help would be greatly appreciated.
Of course the schematic and wiring diagrams basically show the same thing. That's the whole point! The same information but for different users. (Wiring diagrams for the people who build the equipment, schematic diagrams for those who have to understand it and make it work).
I'm fairly certain all your requirements can be met with AutoCAD Electrical. But you will find you will have to create lots of you own symbols and develop new working practices. The "getting started" examples that AutoCAD give you are highly simplified and don't have much relevance to the real world in my experience. Wiring diagrams are not even really covered! There are short courses available and I strongly advise you to go on one of these before you buy. Bring some examples of what you do and ask how it could be done.
I think the real benefit over creating manual drawngs (which is the way I used to do it) is the reduction of errors. Don't expect it to save you any time, however. I find it extremly difficult keeping a number of different documents which basically show the same information linked. AutoCAD Electrical will help in this respect by enabling you to create wiring diagrams that are linked to your schematic. ALL my wiring diagram symbols (footprints) are "hand crafted". Wire and cable lists are generated automatically from the information created in the drawings. Far from automatically though, there are many manual things you must do to keep them "linked".
However, the abillity to show the same point 3 to 4 times on 3 to 4 different drawings is fairly limited. For example I can't have the same schematic terminal on two different schematic drawings. In my opinion, this is one of the major shortcomings. In practice, this means I often have more rail terminals than I actually need in a panel just so I can show the functionallity of a system better in my drawings! Rail terminals in general and multi-level and jumpered terminals are poorly supported. They have/are trying but have a long way to go. All my drawings are point-to-point and include lots of complex sensors, servo systems and IT equipment. I don't use ladders. Multi-core cables, fan-in and fan-out also is a bit limited. But we could not go back now. I have tried!
So after all this, I think you will find AutoCAD Electrical useful. I don't think there is anythig better around. Being based on AutoCAD is a strength and a limitation. I don't think there is a big enough user base in this field to fund some truly integrated software for this complex task. (IMHO)
Sorry, long winded answer to a long winded question!
Thank you John,
That does clear a few things up. I was playing around in the electrical environment last night and am on board with the schematics being easily done, it is actually much faster then CAD'ing the system manually. Then I started to make footprints on a separate drawing which also went well. (this would be the panel Layout) But when I was trying to create the wiring diagrams it would still not allow me to do what I wanted.
How would you go about creating the point to point wiring diagrams that show an instrument (ie a valve with feedback) that goes through a set of terminals on a JB then to a CP (more terminals) which has the PLC inside? (Terminals get prewired to the PLC or an IFM is used). I would have to show the terminals, cables and cable numbers, wires and wire numbers and I/O on the schematic, wiring diagram, JB Panel Layout, JB Panel Wiring, PLC Panel Wiring and the PLC Panel layout.
Do you have a recommended website / training provider that helped you get this information? A lot of what we want is to be able to reduce errors on our drawings and when we make a change on one drawing the changes are done globally.
Would it be better for me to put together a series of drawings (I would have to remove the boarders and some of the info from the drawings for privacy issues) to show you?
You can only have one schematic diagram , although this can consist of many sheets (drawings). I think I am right in saying you could have many different wiring diagrams of the same schematic (someone could correct me here). The "footprints" on the wiring diagram get their information from the schematics. In fact if you have a footprint of a component on a wiring diagram it will be automatically updated if you edit the linked "component" on the schematic (and possibly v-v). But if you change the wiring to a component on a schematic you then have to go to the wiring diagram and manually run a command to update the wiring information. It's actually easy to forget to do this. So as I said, not totally automatic!
Your wiring diagram can have representations of the actual component, as detailed as you like and to scale if you want. I tend to simplify mine to a general outline. You can have terminal strips using footprints (actually drawing blocks) drawn by you or by using a range of supplied symbols. All of these can show wiring information: type, cable information and colour at each of the terminals. What it can't show is the interconnecting wire path between the footprints. I tend to leave this up to the wireman or manually put a bit of text on the drawing if it matters. You can, of course manually draw in the DIN rail, enclosure or mounting plate outlines, or anything else you want.
The wiring schedule is generated from the schematics and if you are careful in the way the information is put into each schematic component and output the list in the right format, you can produce a useful document. I actually save mine as an xls spreadsheet and run a macro in Excel to format it further before printing.
I have to admit I am not an expert. I did go on the course a few years back (ask your AutoCAD re-seller for one near you). Since then I have learnt by doing it. This forum is my main source of instruction!
Thanks for the quick response. How would I be able to find out if this is possible? I have attached a selection of drawings that is a basic example of an e-stop. Please look peticularly at the CR2 relay and how it is wired through the E-stop and back to the
How would I go about recreating these drawings? I think I am following you in regards to how we can only have one schematic (which is one of the drawings I have attached) then I have 2 more wiring diagrams and one panel layout. So i would use the same command as I normally would to add the footprint to multiple drawings? Wouldn't that delete the first one?
Hopefully this clarifies things for both of us.
Your PNL Layout could definitely be re-created in AutoCAD Electrical. I don't go to that level of detail usually but no reason why not. The blocks you use for the ribbon cable to terminals units, the Puls power supply and the CRs could be used as footprints as is by adding some attributes. Your rail terminal strips could also look just like they do now with a bit of work. Not sure how you tackle the PLC due to the quantity of wires in a small space. I don't use PLC's much. I use fieldbus wiring for my I/O and have generated symbols for Murr Cube67 and Wago 750 series. Often I have to sacrifice realism for practicality.
I think your Schematic.dwg could be created in AutoCAD Electrical just the same. Personally (and I know I'm probably not following the usual standards here) I like my schematics to be straightforward and direct like the attached. Anything that tries to place components in any kind of real physical positions is not a schematic! IMHO.
But do you think that it would be possible to link all 4 drawings as Electrical is supposed to be able to do? I.E.. If I make a change to the schematic it would be reflected on the other 3 drawings. Like changing from input 6 to input 2 or something similar?
I am treating your drawings as:-
PNL Layout - wiring diagram
PNL Wiring - wiring diagram
Schematic - schematic diagram
Wiring - schematic
The problem I see is that the relay coil 2CR shows on both schematics. The coil can only appear once as a component. Relay contacts are child components and can appear on other schematic drawings but only once for each individual contact.
If PNL Wiring is a wiring diagram then AutoCAD Elec connot generate the wires on a WD.
As I say, having a number of wiring diagrams linked to the same schematic is something I am not sure about. Anyone else know?
Thank you for your help John.
I am going to try talking directly to Autodesk and go back to our reseller about this so hopefully either they will have some more information (which I will put on here after) or someone else has this issue as well and can help us both!
Thank you again,
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