September 24, 2014
If Cat Stevens were an engineering troubadour writing songs about technology, he might toss off a line that went something like this: “Oo, oo baby, it’s a wired world, it’s hard to get by without good data-uh-uh.” Whatever you call what’s going on — say, smart something or other, the Internet of Things or Industry 4.0 — a new world of engineering challenges is upon us. Electromechanical devices, automated systems, digital factories and so on need to be designed, tested, documented, commissioned and maintained in a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment throughout their lifecycles. That isn’t easy, and it’s just getting more difficult without the right tools.
EPLAN Software & Service recently released the 2.4 version of its engineering process-oriented EPLAN Platform. In a nutshell, EPLAN is intended to help you meet the engineering challenges of our wired world whether you’re talking about electrical engineering, automation, fluid (hydraulics/pneumatics) engineering, mechatronics or complex process, production and control projects.
Think of the EPLAN Platform as both an underlying infrastructure and a suite of applications. As an infrastructure, the EPLAN Platform serves to integrate the applications suite by providing consistent, accurate data throughout all the steps of product development and production. That includes interacting with your CAD/CAE and enterprise systems like PLM (product lifecycle management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning).
Applications that make up the EPLAN Platform solution suite include the widely deployed EPLAN Electric P8 for electrical project planning, documentation and management as well as EPLAN Harness proD for wire harness design and documentation and nail board design. Other members of the suite include EPLAN Pro Panel for 3D enclosure layout, EPLAN Preplanning for drafting of machines and plants and EPLAN Fluid for the design and documentation of circuits in fluid power installations. There’s also something called the EPLAN Data Portal that provides access to data in manufacturer product catalogs.
The theme of the 2.4 release is greater engineering process efficiency. Perhaps the biggest step toward greater efficiency is that EPLAN is now available in a 64-bit version. Efficiency also comes in such forms as simplified PLC (programmable logic controller) project planning in graphical overviews, subproject management and user-definable and configurable properties including default values for property selection lists.
Version 2.4 now implements additional check runs to automatically check and validate the parts management database and ensure managed data accuracy. A new report type for distributed devices allows you to generate project information into simpler reports for the manufacturing and maintenance departments. All displayed cross-references are now accessible through hyperlinks. Those links will work in the export to PDF function too, which should make creating reference documents more efficient.
Current users will be interested to know that EPLAN 2.4 provides extended support for IEC 81346 and IEC 61355 definitions through structuring principles and reference designations. Version 2.4 also incorporates new extensions to the synchronize functionality that offer better support for interdisciplinary collaboration. Among the miscellaneous enhancements are more than 80 new measuring units for conversion, the ability to convert your units in EPLAN directly and additional layer information to help you identify the current layer values.
You can learn more about EPLAN Platform 2.4 in today’s Pick of the Week write-up and from the links after the main write-up. Seeing, as always, is your best bet. One of the links at the end of the main text takes you to a library of on-demand webinars on the applications in the EPLAN Platform suite.
EPLAN Software & Service also has scheduled a live, one-hour webinar covering the highlights of the EPLAN Platform version 2.4. To air on Thursday, October 2 at varying times across the U.S., this complimentary webinar will show how the EPLAN Platform can help boost engineering process efficiency through high-quality, consistent data across all process steps of product development and production.
Among the new version 2.4 features that you’ll get a close look at are the new graphic design for the PLC bus configurations, the new hyperlinks capability, the additional PLC interfaces and the enhancements to user-defined properties. Click on today’s Editor’s Pick of the Week for more details on the EPLAN Platform version 2.4.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
This is sponsored content. Click here to see how it works.
About the Author
Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].Follow DE