Suggested DAD over CAD could save millions

Sep 02, 2013 by Nic White
Suggested DAD over CAD could save millions
Mr Kennedy says the size and complexity of electrical systems has grown phenomenally, containing 1000 times more information than 30 years ago. Credit: Lafayette College

New engineering design software could drastically improve the efficiency and accuracy of electrical system documentation and save the construction, minerals and energy industries millions in labour costs.

Electrical systems documentation – blueprints that tell engineers how to install the cables and components in a project – is usually delivered as a series of 2D drawings that maps out how the system fits together in a schematic, known as Computer Assisted Design (CAD).

However, this often involves hundreds of drawings drafted by different people that do not line up perfectly, and according to research, causes repetition of objects and makes the documentation complicated, confusing and prone to mistakes.

Any changes must be manually edited into each drawing, leading to inconsistencies and further errors.

Previous research by Curtin University Built Environment Peter Love found 449 errors in the 106 schematic drawings and one cable schedule, designed using CAD, of an stacker conveyer built in 2008 as part of a Pilbara mining project.

Professor Love says a shift to a System Information Model (SIM) approach would significantly reduce errors and engineering .

Systems engineering firm I&E Systems have designed SIM software and procedure package Dynamic Asset Documentation (DAD) that emphasises objects and the connections between them over CAD's schematic map of the entire system.

"That's the trick that's probably unique to our model, that we have a sense of connections within our data objects so you can follow connections easily," I&E managing director Dermot Kennedy says.

"Whereas if you were adding something to an existing CAD documentation, you'd add symbols to some drawings and lines to others … you can't tell where any item will be on the drawings so you have a complexity that drives a lot of cost," he says.

Mr Kennedy says the size and complexity of electrical systems has grown phenomenally, containing 1000 times more information than 30 years ago, making schematic modelling less viable.

DAD instead uses attachments to items in the software to give instructions on cable length and other properties and does not attempt to spatially represent the system, preventing redundancy across the documentation.

All items are in a database and any changes to them or their connections are automatically updated across the model to remove inconsistencies.

According to Professor Love's research, each of the 107 documents would take about two hours to produce using DAD compared to almost 40 hours in CAD.

This could save $523,000 (94.22 per cent cost reduction), even though DAD draftsman earn $20 more an hour.

Explore further: LISA Pathfinder: From CAD models to ready-to-fly hardware

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

CERN launches Open Hardware initiative

Jul 08, 2011

Four months after launching the alpha version, CERN has today issued version 1.1 of the Open Hardware Licence (OHL), a legal framework to facilitate knowledge exchange across the electronic design community.

Fujitsu Develops World's First Ultrafast 3D CAD Engine

Jun 09, 2010

Fujitsu and iCAD today announced the development of the world's first computer aided design (CAD) engine, designed to be used as part of a 3D CAD system for designing machinery that is capable of processing ...

Recommended for you

Tesla says decision on battery factory months away

Aug 01, 2014

(AP)—Electric car maker Tesla Motors said Thursday that it is preparing a site near Reno, Nevada, as a possible location for its new battery factory, but is still evaluating other sites.

Comfortable climate indoors with porous glass

Jul 31, 2014

Proper humidity and temperature play a key role in indoor climate. In the future, establishing a comfortable indoor environment may rely on porous glass incorporated into plaster, as this regulates moisture ...

Crash-testing rivets

Jul 31, 2014

Rivets have to reliably hold the chassis of an automobile together – even if there is a crash. Previously, it was difficult to predict with great precision how much load they could tolerate. A more advanced ...

Customized surface inspection

Jul 31, 2014

The quality control of component surfaces is a complex undertaking. Researchers have engineered a high-precision modular inspection system that can be adapted on a customer-specific basis and integrated into ...

User comments : 0