The best teamwork comes from ECAD / MCAD collaboration. Designed specifically for the collaboration of MCAD and ECAD systems, MECODES integrates mechanical, electrical and electronic design disciplines performed with market-leading authoring systems. The mechatronic approach is quite different as there are no separate design phases in each of the CAD tools.
It is essential that companies use the diverse application options of product development software for reasons of development time and quality. The use of computer-aided design (CAD) software and product lifecycle management solutions ensures innovation in new product developments.
The combination of mechanics, electronics and software leads to a completely new generation of products in home and industry. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) or its further developments anti-slip regulation (ASR) and the electronic stability program (ESP) are now installed in practically every high-quality car. Video recorders, cameras with automatic focusing and correction against shaking, as well as magnetic disk storage and CD-ROM drives are typical products with a combination of mechanics and electronics (Mechatronics). Mechatronics are also in demand for robots or tools with self-adjusting functions. Virtually every device on a never-ending list of industrial products makes it clear that electronics and software are increasingly merging into mechanically engineered products. New, technically sophisticated mechatronic products are usually the perfect interplay of a good idea, inquisitive creativity, cross-industry experience and professional ability.
For the consumer, the integration of mechanical, electrical and software engineering elements is a hidden blessing or downright pleasure. However, for design professionals in product development companies the trend toward electromechanical design can be a nightmare.
Expanded innovative product functions have long been part of everyday life – but the processes for interdisciplinary cooperation in development are still archaic and inefficient in many companies. Electronics and mechanical engineers use separate systems for ECAD (Electrical/Electronic Computer-Aided Design) and MCAD (Mechanical Computer-Aided Design), making collaboration time-consuming, difficult, and as a result leading to errors and costly rework.
What’s missing is a way to bring mechanical and electrical design teams together early in the product development cycle and give them the opportunity to efficiently exchange.
incremental design changes rather than pending problems to postpone to the next design handover.
Where is the problem?
Basically, most product development companies face the following problem: MCAD and ECAD are separate fields that have different origins in terms of product development and use different data models in the computer. And that makes working together much more difficult. Electronics and mechanical engineers work in separate and parallel data silos. Ideas, constructions and questions are exchanged and clarified by e-mail, telephone or in a personal conversation.
This type of personal cooperation is simply no longer up to the tight time-to-market cycles, the sometimes globally distributed development teams and the general pressure to pack ever better functions into ever smaller products.
What is the solution?
The best way to meet the challenges of ECAD-MCAD collaboration is by a software solution which integrates the work of ECAD and MCAD designers. The integrating software allows MCAD/ECAD designers to mark changes in the electronic and mechanical design by both design teams in a completely transparent manner across systems. In practice, this means that the view of a common integrated data model appears on the screen – the PCB layout and the 3D CAD model married to each other. Along the development process chain, the active 3D MCAD design is presented together with the state of the electronic circuit board of the ECAD area. When a mechanical engineer adjusts a component in the MCAD model, the effects on the circuit board layout are automatically displayed and vice versa.
Problems that would otherwise not be immediately apparent are quickly identified. An integrating software of the two different ECAD-MCAD systems allows the management of all changes. Engineers can first verify the changes to a component of the other domain instantly, and then verify the origin of a specific change, if necessary. In addition, with this solution, project managers and other members of the design team always know that they are working with the current version of the design.
Does the solution for the ECAD_MCAD Collaboration exist?
Every mechatronics project of the customers of the CADCAM Group in Zagreb – a company for the distribution of CAD software for mechanics and electronics combined with engineering services – is and has always been an exciting challenge in the world of engineering and technologies of today and tomorrow. CCG supports the development of a unique product starting from an idea until completion and thus creates the basis for the success of its customers.
In this respect, CADCAM-Group offers an integrated and comprehensive solution for ECAD-MCAD collaboration: the ‘Mechanics-Electronics-Collaboration-Solution (MECODES)’. It was created by the software developers at CCG. MECODES enables faster collaboration and provides the industry’s most advanced functionalities to modernize the detailed electromechanical design process.
Thanks to the convincing functions of MECODES, mechanical engineering and electronical engineering can work together more efficiently and, thanks to the integration of the two different design tools MCAD (CATIA from Dassault Systèmes) and the ECAD systems from Siemens EDA, Cadence and Altium that are common on the market, design changes can be seamlessly seen, proposed, identified, manage and track.