Mechanical Engineering Meets SOLIDWORKS Electrical Episode 4 – Electrical Routing
Welcome back once again, loyal readers! This blog marks the culmination of my project to design an exciting new home theater system. If only the improved system could also improve the Canucks quality of play… In our previous adventures we explored setting up 2D components, combining those components into an intelligent 2D drawing, and adding electrical intelligence to our 3D models. Today we will use SOLIDWORKS Electrical Routing to bring it all together by assembling a 3D digital replica of my system, complete with accurate wiring/cabling.
SOLIDWORKS Routing – It’s (Mostly) Not Magic
SOLIDWORKS Routing is the primary reason we taught our components electrical intelligence. It is the tool that interprets the detailed wiring information from our 2D drawings and outputs optimized 3D wire/cable/harness routes.
If given no other options or parameters, routing will automatically draw a point to point path between connected components. While this may be appropriate in some situations, it is frequently advantageous to be able to define specific paths for our wiring. Luckily, this can easily be done with SOLIDWORKS Electrical Routing.
You Are on the Fastest Route
SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D contains a Routing Path command, which allows us to quickly create a 3D sketch for routing, or convert any existing 3D sketch for use. The command ensures seamless usability by naming sketches according to the SOLIDWORKS Electrical conventions. Routing sketches can be added to components, locations, and/or the project level assembly, allowing for paths to be specified and standardized at any point in the design process. It was very easy for me to quickly add routing paths to my component models and top-level assembly to control the paths my wires would be routed on.
Users are further able to control routing through use of parameters. The parameters control rules for SOLIDWORKS Electrical Routing, such as the maximum allowable distance between an origin point and path, the maximum distance a wire can traverse between routes, or any paths that the wire styles are included/excluded from using. These parameters allow users to obtain repeatable, optimized results, according to their best practices. By carefully positioning and being aware of the start and end points of my routing paths, it was straight forward to specify routing parameters that would yield ideal results.
Why be Approximate?
My completed wire and cable routes, provided immediate visual feedback for reviewing my design in 3D, sharing it with others, or just observing (with satisfaction) the fruits of my labor.
Key design outputs for assembling my design (and for manufacturing) are accurate lengths of cabling and wiring. Approximating cuts can lead to lost time if lengths are too short, and wasted material if they are too long. Regardless, approximating cuts can easily be a lose/lose scenario. By using SOLIDWORKS Electrical Routing, my lengths were automatically calculated and communicated back into my 2D design.
Do you remember the connection table from Episode 2 with all the connection information for my components? The cable lengths obtained by routing have now been populated back into the table, making it an invaluable tool for assembling my system.
Now it’s Your Turn
Thank you again, valued readers, for joining me on this journey to design my ideal home theater system. Through the process we have explored many ways that SOLIDWORKS Electrical creates value for designers at every stage in the design process. With powerful tools that encourage automation, flexibility, and effective communication, SOLIDWORKS Electrical provided an ideal environment for me to create a robust electrical design, that can be updated, expanded, or reused in the future with ease. Furthermore, this digital replica of my system is now ready to be leveraged through the many versatile tools of the SOLIDWORKS 3D Experience Platform.
This series of blogs has provided a single, specific example of how SOLIDWORKS Electrical enhanced my workflow and helped me create a useful design. I encourage you to contact us to learn more about how SOLIDWORKS Electrical can fit into and improve your design process. We look forward to working with you to get more from your designs!
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