Back in the day we had to bring out our pencil and a ruler to create electrical schematics. Nowadays we almost fully rely on Electrical Computer Aided Design (E-CAD) software, fully-serviced part databases and automated functions like cross-references and intelligent symbol/part management.A lot of practices have changed in electrical drafting over the last few decades, and this change continues to occur. The development of CAD has made drafting more efficient and drawings more transportable. However 90% of the work done in a CAD package is still, essentially, drafting. That is drawing lines on paper albeit on electronic paper.

E-CAD suppliers have been innovating and implementing loads of functionalities to improve user experience, which is a good thing. Being aware about the fact that every firm has different internal standards, processes and resources, it is understandable why engineering teams are not hyped to adjust to new E-CAD workflows or unnecessary functionalities.

Why use E-CAD if I can use a common and proven solution like normal CAD? This metaphor shows my perspective and what should be considered when making software choices for the future:

“When you want to drill a hole in a concrete wall, you use a masonry bit. When you want to drill a hole in a wooden board, you would use a wood bit. You can still use the masonry bit for the wooden board, but the hole will not be as neat.”

For electrical drafting to be efficient, the drafting software must understand electrical connectivity and must provide a rich library of electrical parts available in the market. Once that exists, the user is able to combine electrical design and the drafting.

Using CAD software for multiple disciplines works, but when considering quality, effectiveness and efficiency a regular CAD program does not meet these requirements. A dedicated E-CAD software package like the WSCAD Suite provides you with the tools that can take you to a higher level of electrical engineering.

by Samuel van Lenthe
Technical Sales, ATS Applied Tech Systems B.V.
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