Free electrical design software targets smaller users
• Automated reports including a bills-of-materials (BOM) quote function that allows users to order parts from RS, quickly and easily.
A project manager allows users to open existing projects or to create new projects from templates containing a standard configuration along with project data and documents. The time-saving templates come with defaults such as units (metric, imperial), symbol libraries (IEC or ANSI), graphical options and more. Users can also create empty projects with no data or documents, which they configure before starting a project.
The software also contains a library that allows users to store elements of schemes, called macros. Subsystems can be selected, dragged and dropped into a macro browser window, where they are numbered and stored automatically, or can be customised. Once created, they are classified using filtering criteria and are available for use in any project, allowing re-use and upgrading of commonly used systems and subsystems.
Revision management keeps track of when documents are created or revised. Work can be shared either via hard-copies, or using an import/export function and generating a file in the PDF format or the DWG format used by other CAD programs. DesignSpark Electrical cannot import full drawings from other packages, but can import symbols and templates in the DWG format.
Help is available offline through help functions and tutorials, as well as online. There is also the option to access tutorials and videos via a browser.
The software supports a choice of 14 languages including English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Chinese (Simplified and Traditional). Any two languages can be displayed simultaneously, which will help in multinational projects.
“The high cost and the learning time that is required of existing commercial electrical CAD tools have been major barriers to adoption for many companies,” says Glenn Jarrett, RS’ global head of product marketing. “Now, the introduction of the highly intuitive DesignSpark Electrical removes these cost barriers in a single stroke and passes on the key benefits of electrical CAD to all engineers, allowing them to design more quickly, accurately and effectively.”
RS and its partners will continue to develop DesignSpark Electrical. At present, the package doesn’t offer functions such as 3D design or heat calculations, but these may be added later. RS may also offer paid-for add-ons for the package, as it introduced recently for the DesignSpark Mechanical package.
DesignSpark Electrical is now available for free download and is accompanied by tutorials and support to help users get started.