Automatic generation of electrical design projects - The 5 basic rules
By Thor Vegge
This article describes the five things you should know to get a high degree of reuse and automated workflow when creating electrical wiring diagram projects - in an advanced electrical design software as PCSCHEMATIC Automation.
When having achieved a reasonable relation to working with electrical projects, there are some extra options which you should examine more closely - so that you can increase your efficiency considerably when creating electrical documentation projects.
Generally speaking, this is all about reusing already created material. In some cases, this material can be reused to such a degree, that you can literally let the electrical design software, PCSCHEMATIC, generate the diagram pages for you automatically.
To phrase it in a popular way, you might say that there are 5 things you should know, to achieve a fully automated workflow, when creating electrical design projects in an advanced electrical design software as PCSCHEMATIC Automation.
1. Extended use of sub drawings
As mentioned in the article „Drawing Wiring and Power control circuit diagrams on PC - 10 basic rules“, you can really save a lot of time by using project templates and page templates.
When you start a new project by opening a project template, all necessary project pages will therefore be available from the very start. In the electrical design software, PCSCHEMATIC Automation, you can furthermore create a library consisting of electrical sub diagrams / sub drawings, which you use frequently in your electrical schematic diagrams.
These electrical schematic sub drawings can have attached article data for all electrical symbols in the sub drawings. When you place these sub drawings, the program will therefore automatically transfer the information, which makes it possible automatically to fill out all necessary lists for the placed electrical sub diagrams.
If it, in some of the sub drawings, is necessary to attach further data in the moment of placing, you specify this when creating the electrical sub drawing. When you subsequently place the sub drawing, a dialog box is displayed, in which you type in the relevant information, which is transferred to the placed sub diagram.
2. Automatic insertion of sub drawings on template pages
When you have created the necessary sub drawings and template pages, you are ready for the next step in a faster workflow. When you wish to start drawing a new electrical diagram page, you therefore just open a template diagram page.
You can for instance create this template page so that the electrical potentials are already drawn. If this is not the case, you can in stead choose to place them via the program function for automatic placing of electrical potentials.
Automated workflow: 1) Open a project template containing all relevant project pages. 2) Place sub drawings with attached article data for all symbols in the electrical sub diagrams.
You then place the sub drawings manually - or apply the program function for automatic placing of sub drawings. This function automatically connects the electrical sub drawings to the drawn electrical potentials.
3. Automatic generation of projects
When all relevant sub drawings and template pages are created, you can let the program generate projects for you automatically. This can be relevant anywhere where diagrams contains many repetitions of specific sub diagrams. When this is relevant for you, you can therefore let the electrical design software draw projects on several hundred pages, based on information from e.g. an Excel file.
Beyond the diagram pages, these projects can be created with all other relevant project pages automatically - such as project and chapter front pages, project and chapter tables of contents, all types of lists (e.g. components, parts, cables, terminals and PLC lists), and pages for printing labels. Based on this, you can subsequently let PCSCHEMATIC create real graphical cables, terminals and connections plans automatically.
4. Merging projects
When several electrical professionals are working on the same project, each individual constructor can create his own independent project, which subsequently can be merged with the projects from the other constructors. This can for instance be done via Excel. When the electrical projects are merged, reference designations and other project and page data, can also be controlled via Excel.
Even more automated workflow: Based on the created sub drawings and template pages, PCSCHEMATIC Automation can create full projects automatically.
At any given time, any of the constructors can generate the full project, containing updated schematic diagram pages with PLC, wiring and power control circuit diagrams from all involved parties. When merging these projects, separate lists can still be created for all of the different sections of the individual projects, for instance by applying reference designations. Time is therefore saved, because all involved parties has access to the full electrical documentation at any time.
5. Advanced Reuse + Intelligent PCSCHEMATIC functions
The general principle i most of the above mentioned options, is reuse of existing material combined with intelligent PCSCHEMATIC functions. Having become familiar with this, you can get away with only creating each different element once. When for instance you copy everything from an area in the documentation, you can reuse it like this:
- You can place the area elsewhere on the diagram page, or on another page in the project. When placing the copy, the program will offer you to rename all symbols terminals and wirenumbers in the copy automatically - just like the program will offer you to correct the applied reference designations in the copy automatically. Furthermore, the article data attached to the symbols, will also be attached to the symbols in the placed copy.
- Based on the copy, you can also create an electrical sub diagram / sub drawing, for automatic insertion in electrical schematic pages.
- Furthermore, you can create a new symbol based on the copied area.
Another place where you meet the principle of only having to do things once, is when creating symbols with attached article data. When you have created a symbol with attached article data in your database, and then have placed the symbol in the always visible symbol pickmenu, the symbol will always be directly accessible when drawing electrical schematic diagrams. - And article data can already be attached to the symbol when you place it, so you do not need to enter the database to do this.
If you subsequently need to change the appearance of the symbol or its attached article data, you can do this for one symbol, and you will get the option of transferring these changes to all occurrences of this symbol in the electrical project automatically. When you wish to replace all occurrences of a specific symbol with another, you just apply the automatic replace symbol function in the program.
Of course it takes some effort
When you wish to learn how to do this by yourself, some effort will naturally be required. However, the manuals for the electrical design software includes descriptions, in which you can see how to do - so this is definitely possible. A short-cut to also master this side of electrical documentation, is to get some training in the program. The time spent on such a course, will be regained quickly in your daily work.
Other articles in the series
You can read more in the these articles: