Integrated system design tool
Control system implementation requires many design issues to be addressed and documented. Principal among these are logic diagrams, wiring diagrams, and component layout drawings. Many factors weigh in when selecting among many design documentation approaches. These factors typically include project size, project complexity, probability of replication (will this be done again), support plans (w...
Contributing Editor, Tracy J. Coates P.E. is a consulting engineer at PCE Engineering, Johnson City, Tenn.
Control system implementation requires many design issues to be addressed and documented. Principal among these are logic diagrams, wiring diagrams, and component layout drawings.
Many factors weigh in when selecting among many design documentation approaches. These factors typically include project size, project complexity, probability of replication (will this be done again), support plans (who and how), customer expectations, and corporate culture. As the need for coordination of devices, cables, connectors, and associated logic requirements increases so does the need for an integrated documentation system.
An example of an integrated package for electrical system design is Cadtek USA Inc.'s (Pocono Pines, Pa.) E
Project organization features of the package make it unique. Where traditional CAD packages require users to create a series of individual drawing files to document the design, E
E3 accomplishes the integration by creating a custom database at the project level and then tracks all objects within that structure. Each object's set of associated attributes provides the required cross-referencing through multiple drawings. This level of tracking and coordination is provided for all control devices, cables, wires, and associated connectors.
For example, if a project uses a multi-conductor cable to bring analog signals from a field junction box to an I/O device interface, the following drawings and device associations could be created:
Analog device overview defining end devices, junction boxes, and cables;
Analog loop sheets that reference specific devices, wire numbers, and signal types;
Cabling diagrams that reference cable identification, terminations wire numbers, and signal types;
Panel layouts with terminal blocks, connectors, and wire numbers; and,
Logic diagrams for how the I/O device is linked to the field devices.
As the user creates each entity, an automatic association is made with connected devices, that is, a field device is associated with specific cable linking to required terminal blocks for a complete package. This integrated "bundle" becomes a tool for the assembly and installation teams and system support personnel.
While all drawings are part of the overall project, the package has the ability to export to AutoCAD and other drawing software using DWG or DXF formats or directly to wire cutting, marking, and stripping machines. In addition, users can create custom reports, using Microsoft Visual Basic exporting into Word, Excel, Access or ODBC formats. These reports are then linked into the package and are accessible from the task bar.
This review is based upon the Series 2000 version of the E
For more information on the E
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