Since the advent of CAD software in the design and engineering world, one of the main advantages touted by developers and users has been the ability to check for errors and mistakes during the design process. Discovering and fixing design flaws, honest mistakes, and little bugs before a product reaches the production phase - not to mention consumers - is an obvious way for a company to reduce costs, waste, and protect themselves both from lawsuits and a bad reputation. There is almost no disputing the fact that computers scanning for and rectifying human mistakes during the design process has led to an overall improvement in the general quality of the products we use in the world today, and major savings for the companies that make those products.
SOLIDWORKS Electrical is no exception to this trend in engineering CAD software. There's an obvious need to be able to rapidly scan and check electrical project documents for accuracy, completeness, and informational clarity: with potentially thousands of wires going to dozens or hundreds of components, it's almost a statistical certainty that there will be errors and small inconsistencies in the drawings and schematics. SOLIDWORKS Electrical takes care of this inherent problem by including several Design Rule Checks, commonly referred to as DRCs. These DRCs scan the project for specific errors and then provide a report on what those errors are and where they appear in the project for a variety of different potential issues.
In this 5-part blog series, we’ll go in depth over four of the most commonly used SOLIDWORKS Electrical DRCs - what they are, how they work, and why you would use them - on top of this introductory overview. These four DRCs are also demonstrated in a 4-part YouTube video series. (Watch the first video here.)
So, what exactly is a DRC and how does it work? A DRC is just a standard report template that's included with the software and designed to scan the project for certain data criteria in the SQL database, then report back anything that matches that criteria in the database in an easy-to-read format. For example, if the DRC is selected to scan for Components without Part assignments, the software will look through the Component list in the SQL database and find any Components that do not have a manufacturer part assigned to it, and then generate a table showing the Component tag and its location in the schematics. This table document is then added in the master documents list as a report; it can be saved as part of the revision and verification process to include as documentation, or can be deleted once the errors are fixed.
Click it and click Add in the upper left corner of the Design Rules Manager window to see the master list of all the DRC templates included with SOLIDWORKS Electrical.
To use any of the DRCs in the list, simply check the box next to the design rule you’d like to implement and click OK; the software will begin its scan of the project, and generate a report in the documents list if any errors are found.
Be sure to check back for the follow-up blogs in this series, where take an in-depth look at the Equipotential Conflict, Component Terminals Not Connected, Components Missing Part Assignment, and Parts Assigned to Component but Not Connected DRCs. For a visual demonstration, you can check out our SOLIDWORKS Electrical series for Design Rule Checks on YouTube.