Each year, SOLIDWORKS seeks to outdo itself with hundreds of sweeping enhancements to its diverse and ever-expanding portfolio of engineering, manufacturing and design solutions. SOLIDWORKS Electrical, in particular, received quite a few significant enhancements this year, making documenting your electromechanical systems more streamlined than ever before.
With this article, I wanted to highlight some of what I consider to be the most impactful updates for those considering whether it’d make sense to upgrade sooner rather than later.
3D Harness Routing: Performance Improvements
One of the first things I noticed about SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2022 was how much faster it was than its predecessors. The difference was most apparent when routing harnesses using the SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D add-in for SOLIDWORKS. In my personal experience, the new version automatically imported connection information from my schematics and produced connector fanouts 30% faster than it had in this past. This is a staggering improvement that will benefit anyone looking to leverage their SOLIDWORKS assemblies for harness planning and fabrication.
SOLIDWORKS Routing: New Manufacture Flatten Options
This year, some big additions were made to the manufacture flatten utility in SOLIDWORKS Routing, which SOLIDWORKS Electrical leans on for the 3D representation of harness elements.
In SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D 2022, you can now select multiple segments of the route to use as a primary reference for flattening. This new capability allows you to define the main trunk much more efficiently without additional postprocessing after the harness is flattened. The software will use the selected elements to establish the central horizontal (or vertical) element, with secondary segments breaking out as defined.
Create Flatten Route with Lines Only
There is now an easily overlooked option on the Manufacture Flatten tool which automatically removes any curved or spline segments from the flattened route. This addition significantly reduces the time it takes to prepare the harness for documentation in a drawing, as previously you would need to touch each segment to verify no artifacts were remaining from the routed configuration.
Edit Flattened Route Contextual Menu
I’m an absolute sucker for delighters like this one. A brand new contextual menu is now available in 2022 when preparing a flattened route that reduces the amount of mouse travel required when using commands. When you select a segment to edit, the menu immediately appears beside your mouse cursor with relevant commands, allowing you to enter and accept parameters far more quickly than ever before. I was personally able to prepare my entire harness without ever touching a sidebar menu or ribbon.
Better Integration of Tools
SOLIDWORKS has always differentiated itself in the market with a continued commitment to eliminating barriers to tools you commonly need to access. This means fewer popup menus, less mouse travel and overall less time fighting with the UI.
Two standout examples of this in the 2022 release are the formal integration of the Electrical Content Portal and the Electrical Component Wizard into the core interface of SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic. Both tools now have dedicated commands and sub-commands within the software, negating the need for external programs to detail your system components.
With all these enhancements, along with the modernization of the GUI, SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2022 is shaping up to be a milestone release. If you already own or are considering SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D, this is definitely not the version you want to sleep on.
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