Electrical CAD to Mechanical CAD Interchange - CircuitWorks™



Share data between electrical CAD (ECAD) and mechanical CAD (MCAD) designers using the CircuitWorks™ tool in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software. CircuitWorks enables users to share, compare, update, and track electrical design data so users can more quickly resolve electrical-mechanical integration problems. Mechanical and electrical engineers can work closely in creating complex designs, speeding up the product development process, saving time and development costs, and accelerating time-to-market.

Electrical CAD to Mechanical CAD Interchange Overview

Efficient sharing of CAD data is one of the biggest challenges for mechanical and electrical designers. In a consumer product, such as a laptop, where reducing size and weight while preserving aesthetics are all important criteria, the electrical engineer designing the printed circuit board (PCB) and selecting components (such as fans and power supplies) must clearly communicate ECAD data to the mechanical engineer. In turn, the mechanical engineer needs to clearly communicate back mechanical design changes affecting the design of the PCB.

CircuitWorks efficiently promotes this two-way data exchange. Design teams can work together to resolve ECAD-MCAD integration problems and move faster to create innovative, higher quality products. Designs can start with mechanical aspects of PCB design and then be passed to electrical engineers to create the electronic design. The overall design can then be passed back to the mechanical engineers. This process repeats continuously during the product design and development process.

CircuitWorks also includes a common library of 3D electrical components to help all designers work to company standards. You can import thermal properties with components and run an electronic cooling analysis inside SOLIDWORKS to check for proper cooling of electronic devices.

Key functionality includes the ability to:

  • Exchange data with CircuitWorks using IDF, ProStep (IDX) or PADS (*.ASC) formats
  • Create PCB outlines, keep-out/keep-in areas, locations of major components, and maximum heights—then pass the design to electronics designers
  • Filter out holes, plated holes, slots, and vias to understand board mounting and interconnection and the mechanical aspects of the design
  • Import detailed electronic designs from ECAD, review the design, then build the PCB assembly with SOLIDWORKS software
  • Compare different boards and board revisions to fully understand differences
  • Include design change notes as data passes between electrical and mechanical team members
  • Track changes as versions of the design are exchanged between ECAD and MCAD