RS adds electrical design tool to free CAD portfolio

September 07, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
DesignSpark Electrical is the latest free software package to be made available by distributor RS Components. The tool brings time-saving and error-reduction benefits to electrical system design, RS says.

In electrical design, there are many engineers who have not had the productivity gains taken for granted in, for example, the PCB design sector – RS asserts. Perhaps the majority of engineers still work with paper design, or very general-purpose drawing/planning software. DesignSpark Electrical is a fully specified electrical CAD package with key benefits, to deliver time saving and error avoidance, for control panel, machinery and electrical system design. Among other benefits, it offers a wiring-based approach – wiring line diagrams – to system planning that is familiar to electronic and PCB engineers.

From a connectivity base, engineers can call real components from a library, complete connectivity with automatic wire numbering (maintained through changes), and proceed to populate cabinets, with assistance in making the optimum choice in terms of cabinet size and similar parameters.

RS adds that the tool is supported by Schneider Electric, the specialist in energy management and automation products – Schneider is the largest single supplier in the product database accessed by the software. Also built into the software is Bill-of-Materials (BOM) quote functionality, enabling customers to order parts via RS for their designs.

DesignSpark Electrical joins the suite of DesignSpark engineering resources and continues RS’ intention of removing the barriers to innovation for every engineer. As with, for example, its 3D CAD software, RS has sourced the code from a specialist in the field, in this case Trace Software which maintains a full-feature software offering in a similar space. DesignSpark 3D was written by SpaceClaim. The electrical product has been two years in development and has undergone several rounds of trials in the field.

This new free tool provides access to the functionality of electrical CAD for businesses that in many cases, RS believes, cannot reasonably justify the considerable price tag per seat for existing commercial electrical CAD software. DesignSpark Electrical optimises the methods of electrical and automation system design and helps enhance the design capabilities of RS customers, enabling them to compete in the market much more effectively.