Electrical CAD Runs on Visio

Electra E7 simplifies creating and documenting circuit drawings.

Radica Software has launched the E7 version of its Electra electrical CAD software for Microsoft Visio. The combination of Electra and Visio enables electrical, control and automation engineers to create technical drawings, designs and layouts quickly and without the need for a significantly more expensive mechanical CAD platform.

Radica Software Users just draw or paste graphics, and Electra will add it to a symbol automatically. Image courtesy of Radica Software.

Electra provides users a number of automation features to simplify the tedious task of creating and documenting circuit drawings. Among these are tagging symbols and wires, assigning the right component, generating terminals, as well as a table of contents automatically. It offers one-click generation of such reports as bill of materials (BOMs), terminal listing, panel layout and cross-references. It supports exporting and importing AutoCAD drawings. Standard features include 700 user-editable symbols, wires with intelligent numbering and wire links, pre-made title blocks and the ability to create real-time cross-references and locations.

“We understand that creating circuits is an extremely tedious and time-consuming job,” said Thomas Yip, founder and CEO of Radica Software, in a press statement. “That’s why we’ve built more automation capabilities in Electra E7 to allow engineers produce these circuits three- to five times faster compared to non-electrical specific software. With the help from Electra, engineers can focus on safety and great designs, rather than drafting.”

Pneumatic Sample A sample pneumatic circuit made with Electra E7. Image courtesy of Radica Software.

Electra E7, says the company, sees “significant improvements” to meet the challenges faced by engineers responsible for electrical and control projects that often require hundreds of pages of documentation, including electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic circuit diagrams. The company reports that Electra E7 offers a startup speed more than 100% faster compared to its previous version. Other key enhancements introduced include automatic panel layout placement on rails in the Professional edition and pneumatic and hydraulic editing capabilities in the Enterprise edition.

Radica says that Electra E7 makes creating symbols and modifying existing symbols easy. With its new floating connection points functionality, Electra E7 can find all connection points and float them to a group level, enabling you to create a custom symbol and not worry about when to add connection points.

The PLC (power line communication) module generator in Electra can create all sorts of symbols. In E7, users can now elect to show or hide internal pilot lights and control the width of the entire module. Using the PLC module to generate any symbol is now easier and faster, according to the company.

Even More Flexible The Electra PLC module can generate all sorts of symbols. Image courtesy of Radica Software.

Electra E7 offers more and improved symbols in its Layout 3D, Prefab and Title Block Stencils capabilities. New symbols include square and rectangle buttons on the Layout 3D stencil. New Prefab circuits include automatic transformer starter with control circuits. New title blocks include portrait blocks and a variety of sizes.

Among the miscellaneous enhancements in Electra E7 are an improved CableTag symbol that can traverse wire links and the ability to export symbols and wires to Excel or as tab-separated values (TSV). Performance improvements include increased speed when using wire links.

In the Electra E7 Professional edition, placing and arranging panel layout drawings has been made easier and faster with automatic placement, says Radica. To use it, you simply drag and drop layout symbols on rails and Electra arranges them automatically. Once arranged, layout symbols stick to the rail even if you move the rail to another location.

Multitier Terminal Electra E7 supports multi-tier terminals. Image courtesy of Radica Software.

New capabilities in the Electra E7 Enterprise version let you create pneumatic and hydraulic circuits and seamlessly integrate them into your electrical designs. All pneumatic and hydraulic circuits come with additional functionality such as automatic and intelligent naming, the ability to create prefab circuits and the ability to generate BOMs.

“We are very excited to introduce Electra E7,” said Radica Software’s Thomas Yip. “Electra E7 is capable of producing highly detailed and accurate circuit drawings, and it doesn’t require extensive training or retraining.”

Electra E7 runs on workstations running under Windows 7, 8/8.1, XP or Vista operating systems. It requires Microsoft Visio (32 bits).

Electra E7 is available in Standard, Professional and Enterprise editions. Pricing starts at $998 for the Standard edition. The full-function Professional edition is $1298. The Enterprise edition has all the functions available in the Professional edition as well as the pneumatics and hydraulics capabilities. It costs $1898. For further details on what’s new in Electra E7, visit Radica Software.

Watch a video demo of Electra.

See a features comparison of all editions of Electra.

Download a 30-day trial edition of Electra.

Visit the Electra drawing gallery.

Check out the Radica Software blog.

See why DE‘s Editors selected Electra E7 as their Pick of the Week.

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

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About the Author

Anthony J. Lockwood's avatar
Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].

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