Common design practices: Shorter project turnaround time, fewer errors, smooth and meaningful work


For a long time, electrical design in cad-programs was drawing-based. At that time it was sufficient that the drawing was realized in a graphically correct format and it could be printed for installation. The CAD workstations were not connected to each other and each designer worked as it seemed best. Modern design programs are changing this approach. In order to fully exploit the benefits of databases, the CAD workstations need to be connected. The properties of programs are so vast that it is not reasonable for a single designer to study all the possibilities a program offers. For this reason, a company that has chosen CADS should select main users who, together with Kymdata’s experts, get acquainted with the program’s options and technical solutions. Then the common practices of the enterprise for CADS use will be created. This will bring along cost benefits and add smoothness to the design work.

Let’s make clear the starting point and create objectives together.

The CADS main users and Kymdata expert will go through the company’s existing design practices and the use of design tools. At the same time, objectives for the future are laid down. Which reports do we want to get from the database? Which data do we want to import from Excel to the database? These may be examples of questions that help businesses define their needs. This will create an understanding what the company’s need for a design tool is and what the current problem areas are.

We will create the necessary technique.

After the common goal is decided, we will start building a technical solution. This is where the company’s main users of CADS play the key role. They will realize the agreed items according to the instructions of Kymdata’s expert. Below is a list of samples of common design content to be shared with all CADS users:

•    Numerous settings and directory paths;
•    Common electrical symbols;
•    Standardised drawing templates and logos;
•    Model projects and model drawings;
•    Shared databases (product models/product data, cable types, electric cabinet specifications, etc.);
•    Standardised report templates;
•    Dictionaries;
•    etc.

Utilising model projects as the basis for new projects makes the design process more efficient and the project turnaround time faster. At the same time the appearance and expression of CAD drawings become standardised. Links to other data systems are created by means of Excel or a tailored interface, of which CADS.PDM is a good example. This is an extension to CADS Electric to be separately acquired that allows data transfer between CADS Electric and PDM/PLM systems.

Once the CADS main user work station has been put in the desired state in every way, the settings and the design content will be shared with other CADS users. This is done by means of tailored CADS installation. This is an automated engineering, created by Kymdata experts by means of which all the company’s CAD workstations have the same settings. Pentti Suoniemi from Sweco put it well into words: “Designers have immediately accepted this practice. The benefits are so obvious. When everyone is drawing with the same settings, it is easy to modify a drawing someone else has created.”

New usages are implemented in practice

When the technique is in place, implementation in practice of the new modes of operation we will be started at the company. This will be done at training sessions jointly conducted by CADS main users and a Kymdata expert. The main users are experts in their companies and their internal processes, while Kymdata expert is the best expert of the CADS tool for their part. In this way, internal knowledge of the company and the expert knowledge of CADS tool come together in training. In that case the promotion of new modes of operation is justified within the company, as it is based on the best knowledge and skills.

There will be a number of specifications and corrections in the design environment during the training when all CADS users will have the opportunity to present their ideas and thoughts. Good ideas will be taken into use and the main users will implement them.

You can learn to ride a bicycle by yourself. If you fall, you can get up and try again. But if you buy a helicopter, it would pay off to take flying training courses first and listen to the trainer’s instructions about flying safely.

What would you be willing to do in order to make your work more reasonable?

With best wishes for cooperation.
Toni Hirvonen
CADS Electric -expert and trainer