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Identify Electrical System Design Errors Early

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Zuken (Munich, Germany, and Westford, MA) has released E3.eCheck, an extension to its modular E3.series of electrical CAD software for designing and documenting electrical wire harnesses, control systems, and hydraulic and pneumatic systems. By identifying errors at the development stage, says Zuken, E3.eCheck can help avoid costly iterations.

Zuken Zuken
A virtual voltmeter in use, connected (left) versus disconnected (right). Image courtesy Zuken.

E3.eCheck, says the company, provides DC functional analysis and circuit checks for E3.series designs. The utility tool automatically ensures a schematic is functionally accurate and that wires as well as fuses are within the acceptable tolerances. E3.eCheck works in real-time and is said to provide instant visual and audible feedback.

As well as catching tolerance design faults, E3.eCheck also simulates functionality checks, says the company. For example, operating a switch simulates current flow through the circuit, opening and closing contacts or energizing coils, which in turn operates additional contacts. As the current flows through the circuit, loads activate or de-activate and provide immediate visual and audible feedback to the user on their behavior and operational accuracy.

Zuken describes E3.eCheck as being ideally suited for engineers working with DC control systems, such as those in the transportation industries, as well as applicable for engineers in such diverse industries as automotive, aerospace, railway, off-highway vehicles, and special-purpose vehicles. Additional functionality provided with E3.eCheck includes circuit functional analysis, current checking, current direction indicator, voltage drop analysis, error navigation, and multi-symbol and multi-sheet support.

Zuken
Circuit test showing an active lamp, current flow, voltage, and current. Image courtesy Zuken.

"E3.eCheck represents an advancement in the tools available for electrical engineering of harnesses and control systems," said Zuken’s Steve Chidester in a press statement. "The days of prototyping and then documenting afterwards are on their way out. Today it is important to engineer products from concept through manufacturing. E3.eCheck not only makes design analysis faster and more accurate, but it also identifies design flaws early — saving time and cost by eliminating prototype iterations."

In related news, Zuken has announced new features for manufacturing and design productivity in the latest version of E3.series, its modular electrical and fluid CAD software. The 2014 update, says Zuken, contains new functionality for panel manufacturing; file preview in Windows Explorer and Outlook; support for Lattice 3D Viewer from Lattice Technology; and new ease-of-use features in the E3.schematic modeler for creating schematic diagrams of electrical control systems.

Zuken Zuken
See the result of closing a switch (right) compared with the open position (left). Image courtesy Zuken.

The E3.panel module for general arrangement drawings of cabinet enclosures now includes the ability to place 3D components in free space without a predetermined mounting fixture. For panel manufacturing, the E3.panel+ module offers a number of enhancements to its DXF support capabilities. Layer-based output for milling and drilling machines allows drill holes and cut outs, for example, to be defined in the E3.series library of functionally-intelligent objects. Manufacturing data is then automatically generated, avoiding time-consuming manual data creation and the potential to introduce errors. The import function allows DXF data to be read directly in E3.schematic for viewing.

A new preview functionality allows designers to share files with collaborators who do not have E3.series. The preview plug-in for Windows Explorer and Outlook makes it possible to view sheets, zoom in, and change pages. This, says the company, assists in making design decisions and keeping the design flow moving, as well as improving communication along the design chain.

For more information on the E3.series electrical CAD software system as well the E3.eCheck extension, visit Zuken.

Download the E3.eCheck datasheet.

See what else is new with the E3.series.

Watch a video on the E3.series.

Check out some E3.series on-demand webinars.

For more on Zuken’s product-level design approach, read DE’s previous coverage here.

See why DE’s editors selected Zuken’s E3.eCheck as their Pick of the Week.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.