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Computer aided engineering with EPLAN Electric P8

16 March 2011

For many years, computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided engineering (CAE) systems have improved the productivity of individual engineers

Further advances in CAE systems are rendering these legacy tools obsolete. Advanced systems like EPLAN are the catalyst for change in how engineering workflows are structured and how engineers share data in real time with departments like sales, purchasing and manufacturing. Manufacturers that embrace these wider opportunities are realising efficiencies worth tens of thousands of pounds or more annually.

Fulfilling an order using a legacy CAD often involves a great deal of manual data entry and manual cross-referencing, not only by the designer but in other departments like purchasing which have to adapt bills of materials and other data submitted by engineering. Manual data construction leads to errors or omission and necessitates a great deal of error-checking. Error-checking is an especially low value use of an engineer’s time, yet it’s essential.

Imagine a manufacturing environment where one person can generate a complete set of electrical engineering documents to fill an order because the unit has been pre-engineered and stored in E-CAE software. An electrical engineer can create a new variant of a machine in minutes instead of weeks.

There is virtually no risk of design errors impacting the build process or finished product. A major benefit of a common platform in overall engineering is the CAE database can be linked, via a company’s PLM, PDM or other enterprise systems, to the sales, purchasing, accounting, manufacturing, service or other departments.

EPLAN Electric P8 with numerous upgrades and new options remains best in its class, with the greatest breadth of productivity enhancing features, many of which can be accessed in seconds from pull-down menus or dragged and dropped into a page. Those options can augment the savings and efficiencies available with the standard packages.

For example, a multinational manufacturer of complex food processing machinery adopted EPLAN’s optional Schematics Generator module in conjunction with an upgrade to Electric P8 and is generating standard schematics packages in literally minutes instead of the 40-70 hours it took previously.

Investing in an advanced CAE system like EPLAN Electric P8 and other EPLAN products solely for their extraordinary array of productivity-enhancing features for the individual user will pay for itself in a short period of time. However, these features represent only a part of the total benefit of ownership that can be achieved by using the technology strategically to change how engineering is structured and integrate it into a company’s business and manufacturing environment.

EPLAN consultants who put clients’ engineering processes through a comprehensive review find that optimising specific processes and practices can yield improvements on the order of 50-70%.

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