Multi CAD data for MCAD and ECAD from a single data source makes digital twins a reality

How component manufacturers can provide their digital product data for common CAE systems like Zuken e3.series, EPLAN, NX Electrical, Automation Designer or AutoCAD Electrical

CADENAS now offers component manufacturers valuable support in implementing their digitization strategy using the popular eCATALOGsolutions platform. With a digital product catalog, component data can be managed centrally and enriched with information for electrical planning in addition to data for mechanical engineering. Digital product information for an electrical engineer’s designs can be instantly generated in native formats for common CAE systems such as Zuken e3.series, EPLAN, NX Electrical Routing, Siemens Automation Designer, AutoCAD Electrical, ECLASS ADVANCED and WSCAD. For a maximum coverage of all major electrical planning tools available on the market, CADENAS is continuously working on the integration of further CAE systems.

Interdisciplinary, high-quality product data as a prerequisite for digital twins

Providing interdisciplinary product data has become a requirement for component manufacturers in the age of digitalization. However, the requirements for digital design data for mechanical engineering differ significantly from those for electrical planning. The 3D outer dimensions of a component play an important role in mechanical design, whereas electrical engineers need information about circuit diagram symbols, connections, component types (connector, cable, standard component, terminal, etc.) or parent child corresponding when selecting the appropriate component. The part must contain information on how to dimension the installed components correctly or which connectors are compatible with each other. If this information is not provided with the digital CAD model, electrical engineers must collect it manually from various sources, which is time-consuming.

Providing interdisciplinary digital design data was so far only possible with great effort for component manufacturers. Now available with CADENAS’ eCATALOGsolutions for digital product catalogs, technical components with electrical functions can be enriched with all necessary CAD and CAE information to serve digital twins.

"In the past, we have already supported our customers not only in CAD but also in CAE planning with extensive technical and commercial product data. These were created either in-house or in cooperation with external service providers. However, updating the product data was time-consuming and error-prone, since various data sources and output formats had to be supported," explains Simone Brinkmann-Tewes, Head of Smart Data Engineering at WAGO Kontakttechnik GmbH & Co. KG. "With CADENAS’ solution, we now gather all the necessary information in one central system and process it to the standardized ECLASS ADVANCED format as required. In this way, we can guarantee that the digital product data for all current CAD and CAE systems are consistent and up-to-date as digital twins. This enables us to cover our customers' needs completely and to react more flexible to future requirements."

Semi-automated generation of CAE data based on ECLASS ADVANCED

An electronic product catalog from CADENAS enables manufacturers to support their customers with product data for CAE systems such as EPLAN, NX Electrical Routing, Siemens Automation Designer, Zuken e3.series, autoCAD Electrical, ECLASS ADVANCED and WSCAD. The existing digital product catalog can be automatically enhanced to include any required electrical planning information. For example, if the component data is already classified according to the ECLASS ADVANCED standard, the existing information can be utilized. This allows the necessary attributes of the component, such as current or number of pins, to be correctly identified and used for enriching the CAE data.

Josef Schmelter, Master Specialist Classification at PHOENIX CONTACT GmbH & Co. KG, acknowledges this advantage: "We have already classified our products in our PIM system with ECLASS ADVANCED. We simply import this product data into the digital product catalog from CADENAS. This way we can generate our digital components for all CAD and CAE systems out of one database. The multi CAD capability of our digital product catalog ensures that we can provide a valuable service to our customers in both mechanical engineering and electrical planning and at the same time we only have to concentrate on ECLASS, as the only data standard.”

Weidmüller, the manufacturer of products in the industrial environment of energy, signals and data, also recognized the importance of cross-divisional design data at an early stage: "The CADENAS solution ensures an optimized process for the provision of our digital product data," explains Sven Köcher, Head of Product Information Management at Weidmüller Interface GmbH & Co. KG. "We understand data as a digital product from Weidmüller and classify our products according to the industry standard ECLASS ADVANCED already during the development process. By importing this classified product information into the CADENAS product database, extensive CAD and CAE data can be generated, which we can provide in a multidisciplinary way. The user benefits from this, because we provide high-quality data for a continuous process chain in the engineering of our customers."

Easy provisioning of CAE data even without existing classification

Even manufacturers who have not yet or only partially classified their product data with the ECLASS ADVANCED standard can provide their customers high-quality CAE data with little effort. In this case, the metadata or attributes can be provided by the component manufacturer in the form of an Excel table. CADENAS not only generates a comprehensive digital product catalog, but also delivers cleanly classified product data. The components classified by CADENAS correspond to the ECLASS ADVANCED standard and can be fed directly into the manufacturer’s PIM system.

This solution also convinced Harting, a specialist for electrical and electronic connections: "Our product data is used by our customers in both mechanical and electrical development. It was therefore important for us to ensure that our product data is also be made available in various standards for electrical design as best as possible," says Andreas Wedel, Director Competence Center Digital Transformation at Harting Technology Group. "Thanks to the support of CADENAS, this could be implemented without any problems. We were simply providing our existing product data and CADENAS enriched and classified the data according to the requirements. With this data, extensive ECAD and MCAD information can now be generated. Thus, we also cover the needs of our customers comprehensively in electrical planning."

Excellent customer service ensures a significant increase in sales

By providing intelligent MCAD and ECAD data tailored to specific customer needs, component manufacturers offer a valuable service. Engineers want to focus primarily on developing innovative products, and rely heavily on manufacturers to provide high-quality, accurate product data for their designs. Providing intelligent product information saves them extensive research and time-consuming requests to clarify the correct product configuration with the manufacturer.

With a digital product catalog based on CADENAS’ eCATALOGsolutions technology, manufacturers can rely on a future-proof solution for their product data when implementing digital twins. MCAD, ECAD and BIM data in more than 150 native formats can be provided online from a central database. CADENAS also supports the efficient marketing of the components: The digital product data is not only available for download on the manufacturer's website, but is also made available for download via online platforms such as or to a potential of about 24 million engineers, buyers, planners and architects. In 2019, more than 405 million downloads of 3D CAD & BIM models were recorded worldwide through these channels. According to surveys, approximately 87% of these downloads lead to purchased products.

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