Collaboration between mechanical and electrical designers – Part 3: What to consider


MagiCAD Group

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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. Part 2 presented how the Connections to Mechanical tool works in practice.

So how can you ensure that the mechanical objects have all the needed connectors, and the Connections to Mechanical feature will work as intended? Here are the three things to consider.

Manufacturer models from MagiCAD

The MagiCAD product modelling team is already in the process of doing the work of setting connectors to objects for you. As the team updates and upgrades existing models and creates new ones they always evaluate together with the manufacturer and our technical team if a product needs electrical or ELV connectors.

This work is ongoing and you may not see updates in existing project, however, we are constantly working with the goal of covering all products that need a connector.

Editing families in Revit

In case there are missing connectors, it is easy to edit the mechanical families in Revit and add the needed connectors. Here’s quick instructions on how to do it:

  • Select the object that needs to be modified and click Edit Family
  • Open the Create tab and click Electrical Connector under the Connectors panel, and then click and place the connector to the correct face in the product. If there are no suitable faces available, you can also create a small box for this purpose and mark it as invisible in the final model.
  • In case of power connectors, set the following information according to the power connector needs:
    • Type: Power-balanced
    • Voltage: Usually either 230V or 400V
    • Number of poles: Usually either 1~ or 3~
    • Apparent Load: Total power demand for the product
    • Power Factor: Power factor for the power demand above. If you are unsure of the power factor, it can be set as 1.

Note: If a family has several types, you may need to create family parameters to control them because some properties, such as power, can vary between different types and sizes.

Note: Connector types for extra-low-voltage (ELV) systems include Controls, Communication, Data, Fire Alarm, Nurse Call, Security and Telephone. Even though these don’t have any additional data, it is still a good practice to select the appropriate one.

The importance of communication

A lot of the success in establishing all the needed information for features that cross disciplines comes down to communication. Even though digital tools allow us to automate a lot of the process, we cannot rely on them solely. If there is missing information that is needed for the electrical project, communicate about them with the mechanical engineer and promote the positive sides for everyone involved of adding the information, and provide help in the process if needed.

Everyone involved in the project will benefit from having all the needed information for efficient cross-discipline collaboration. The easiest way to achieve this is to have intelligent and data-rich product models, either with ready manufacturer models or by adding the information to models afterwards.

Thank you for reading and I wish good collaboration and success for your projects.