Why are you using AutoCAD or Microsoft Visio for Electrical Design?

Article by Delvin Masilamani updated August 17, 2015


The price of anything in monetary terms is what we typically believe the cost is as well. For the longest time we believed the cost of oil and gas to be what we paid for it; the cost of a cigarette is what you paid to buy it. It took us decades but we figured out that the cost of cigarettes and burning fossil fuels is far reaching – not only does it affect your life but the overall society at large is affected.

Why are you using AutoCAD or Microsoft Visio for Electrical Design?

Using Electrical Design

Similarly, the cost of using AutoCAD® or Microsoft Visio® for electrical design will linger far longer and is much larger than companies realize, not only is there no intelligence in the lines and circles, these non-intelligent items somehow become an integral part of the thinking and DNA of the design team.  I have seen Engineers, Designers and Technicians alike cling to these 2D CAD tools while automating production lines!

It is baffling – making/designing automation equipment using the most manual method possible … irony at its best. So why are you using AutoCAD or Microsoft Visio for Electrical Design?

I need AutoCAD for my DWG files?!

There are companies that use these tools with the excuse that their customers work in DWG (which is a file format and not tied to specific software) not knowing that automated software solutions like SOLIDWORKS Electrical can produce and edit DWGs very effectively. Here is a demo video to show you how SOLIDWORKS Electrical works with DWG files:

I don’t want an Automated Design Solution?!

If I were to list all the manual electrical design tasks that can be automated, I would probably lose my mind! So as a matter of self-preservation I have a small list that shows the Grand Canyon between AutoCAD and an automated solution like SOLIDWORKS Electrical.

Manual Task (AutoCAD/Visio)Automated Task (SOLIDWORKS Electrical)Time Saved with SOLIDWORKS Electrical
Device Tags (Just Text)Automated Device Tags based on Standards80% Savings
Wire Numbering (Start Counting)Automated Wire Numbering based on Standards90% Savings
Electrical Symbols and StandardsReady to go out of the Box50 – 70% Savings
Wire and Cables (Lines and more lines)Electrical Aware Wires and Cables50% Savings
Page References (Just Text)Intelligent References – Live updates and Links80% Savings
Bill of Materials (Start Counting!)Automatic Bill of Materials based on Design80% Savings
Separate pages for drawings (No Co-relation)Projects with Drawings and Title Blocks in sync with each other30% Savings
Manual Entry of Title Block InformationAutomatic Update of Title Blocks80% Savings
Table: AutoCAD vs. SOLIDWORKS Electrical for common electrical design tasks

If you need more convincing then take a look at the video below to learn how SOLIDWORKS Electrical automates the design process and saves you time:

I want to incur more costs by using AutoCAD?!

The biggest issue with using AutoCAD or Microsoft Visio for electrical design is the extra time it takes to carry out the manual tasks as opposed to an automated solution. A conservative calculation of time utilization by the majority of designers for a typical project yields some startling results.  The time and cost savings that can be achieved with SOLIDWORKS Electrical are quite substantial as shown in the table below:

Project SizeSavings from Design
(Requires 60% of project time)
Savings on Reports
(Requires 25% of  Project Time)
Error Reduction and streamlining
(Requires 10% of Project Time)
Time SavingsTotal $ Savings
Small (50 Hours)18 Hours10 Hours4 Hours32 Hours$1,600
Medium (100 Hours)30 Hours18 Hours7 Hours45 Hours$2,250
Large (500 Hours)100 Hours80 Hours30 Hours210 Hours$10,500
Table: SOLIDWORKS Electrical time & cost savings example; (labour cost [loaded] at $50/hour)

In Summary

Using software that was specifically designed for automated electrical design is going to be better for your business than relying on 2D CAD software that has manual tools and is designed for every industry. But if you need even more convincing then please download the white paper below to learn about the advantages of using SOLIDWORKS Electrical over AutoCAD.

Related Links

Delvin Masilamani

Delvin is ‎Senior Solutions Expert at Javelin and is based in our Oakville, Ontario office.