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Electrical, mechanical design software enables collaboration

02 June 2009

CIMdata white paper, ‘ECAD-MCAD Collaboration Solutions,’ explains the collaboration possible between electrical computer aided design (ECAD) and mechanical computer aided design (MCAD) software, and includes info on product offerings PTC and Mentor Graphics.

A new white paper titled ‘ECAD-MCAD Collaboration Solutions’ explains the collaboration that’s possible between electrical computer aided design (ECAD) and mechanical computer aided design (MCAD) and describes product offerings that help companies develop electro-mechanical designs regardless of industry sector. John MacKrell, a senior consultant for product lifecycle management (PLM) consulting and research firm CIMdata, authored the paper, which also provides CIMdata’s assessment of the ECAD-MCAD collaboration solutions of PTC and Mentor Graphics.

According to MacKrell, PTC and Mentor Graphics have developed their own sets of ECAD-MCAD collaboration solutions that can also work together. These are the first two companies to develop solutions that adopt the new ECAD-MCAD data exchange format introduced by ProSTEP, which supports the engineering design process for products that combine both electrical and mechanical content. Such collaboration helps engineers design products in the context of both disciplines, allowing them to make more thorough and informed product design decisions.

These ECAD-MCAD collaboration solutions also support active collaboration throughout the design process, allowing more design innovation and facilitating engineering change processes. ‘This is very important, since the electrical and mechanical design processes in most companies are carried out by different teams who typically work in isolation from each other and who use different methods to produce their portions of the product design,’ says MacKrell. ‘Communication among the members of these teams is critical to producing high-quality products that meet the requirements of customers.’

Electro-mechanical design is a critically important part of the product design process in many companies. However, the integration of electrical and mechanical design into a collaborative design environment is not a simple task. MacKrell states: ‘What PTC and Mentor Graphics have done in this area is very positive, and sets out a direction for continued development. Furthermore, the current solution can provide real benefits today.’

Benefits that accrue from ECAD-MCAD collaboration include faster engineering change resolution, more functionally valid designs, and increased product design innovation.

MacKrell says PTC’s and Mentor’s ECAD-MCAD collaboration solutions are leaders in integrating mechanical and electrical design for businesses across many industries, but the long-term challenge is to support simulation of the complete system’s interactions including those among software, electrical, and mechanical components of a product. “While the current suite of products provides a fundamental base for ECAD-MCAD collaboration, PTC and Mentor Graphics have indicated that they will continue to expand the capabilities,’ he says.

– Edited by Renee Robbins, senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk www.controleng.com


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