Collaboration between mechanical and electrical designers – Part 2: Using Connections to Mechanical


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MagiCAD Discipline Manager for Electrical Samuli Mattila explains the need for better collaboration tools between electrical and mechanical engineers and presents the Connections to Mechanical feature in MagiCAD that enables easy and effective cooperation between these disciplines.

In Part 1 of this series we explained the need for collaborative tools between electrical and mechanical engineers and looked at the development of the Connections to Mechanical function in MagiCAD. The upcoming Part 3 (16.12.) will explain how you can ensure that models include the necessary connectors in order to get the most out of the tool.

In this part we will take a closer look at the Connections to Mechanical Objects feature and explain how this allows mechanical and electrical engineers to coordinate their needs effectively.

The symbols that represent power/ELV connectors are referred to as connection nodes in MagiCAD. The term describes the points at which two different disciplines are connected.

Connections to Mechanical Objects

The main dialogue of the Connections to Mechanical feature looks like this.

At first glance it looks like a normal dialogue listing the various MagiCAD connection nodes found in or to be added to the model, but there is a lot of useful functionality embedded in it.

First of all, you are able to filter the search of mechanical objects only to a specific project if needed. This helps you to narrow down your search to an easily manageable list of objects that require a power and/or ELV connection.

There are also three useful functions at the top of the dialogue: Zoom, Show, and Select.

Zoom helps you find the location of a specific case that you need to examine. You can simply select the view to examine from the list next to the button.

The Connections to Mechanical feature automatically suggests suitable symbols for the connection nodes based on definitions in the dataset. With Select you can choose a new symbol for each instance (row) that you have selected in the list, in case the automatically suggested symbol needs to be changed.

Finally, Show opens a dialogue with a 3D view of the host object on the mechanical side. The dialogue also includes relevant properties of the host object so that you can identify the specific mechanical part that requires an electrical connection.

Working with Connection nodes

The dialogue shows the following information for each connection node

  1. Connection node symbol
    This is automatically assigned by MagiCAD based on dataset definitions, but can also be changed with the Select button or by right-clicking the row.
  2. Object ID of the host object on the mechanical side
    This is naturally only applicable to MagiCAD projects and objects. There are also workarounds for adding the MC Object ID parameter to every family in every project, in case this is needed when working outside MagiCAD and our support will be able to help you with this.
  3. Active power of the mechanical object
    This is one of the most important things for the purposes of the electrical design. The power values from the mechanical objects are needed for dimensioning the power distribution network.
  4. Mechanical object category
    The MagiCAD object category is shown by default. If it’s unavailable then the Revit category is shown.
  5. Product information of the mechanical object
  6. The connector type
    This indicates the type of system that the connector needs to connect to in the electrical project, for example Power indicates a connection to the power distribution system and Controls is a connection to the building automation system.
  7. Action to be done for the connection node
    The actions are executed for the connection nodes when you click Apply.
  8. Selection of changes to be applied
    Some common changes are automatically active, but some, such as the removal of a symbol have to be confirmed each time.
  9. Important messages about each case
    If there are any data differences, location differences or missing counterparts between the symbol and the mechanical objects, or if a symbol selection needs to be made, they will be noted here.

You can execute all the selected actions by clicking Apply. MagiCAD will perform the changes while maintaining all affected tags and wires as they were before the changes. In addition, all changes to symbol locations done with the ang2D, dX2D and dY2D parameters and possible object variable texts are maintained.

These functions allow users to effectively manage connections between electrical designs and mechanical objects and enable designers in both disciplines to more effectively communicate the needs of their equipment. In the final part of this series we will take a look at how designers can verify that objects have the necessary connectors and get the most out of the feature.

In Part 3 (16.12.) we will take a closer look at how you can ensure that models include the necessary connectors in order to get the most out of the tool.