Remember performing a layout of a control box design with a panel and enclosure and then having to estimate the cost? Part by part, you had to look up the costs on previous projects, go out for a quote, or make a best estimate. If there was a change to the design or the quantities to be delivered, you would have to sweat through the whole process again.
Now designing to cost is simplified due to PANELdraw, a modified Access 97 database that has the component cost data you need for speedy cost estimation. Offered by Hoffman Enclosures, PANELdraw is an AutoCAD add-on that automatically generates the bill of material (BOM) as you pick the components you need from the database. The PANELdraw database has two functions: it serves as a manufacturer part number lookup table, and it has the AutoCAD part symbols readily available, so you can just drag and drop the symbols into your design. You can design in custom components too, and import the data from your database into PANELdraw. There are some handy tools for panel selection such as calculating the 3D clearances. It will then take you to Hoffman's web site where you will find possible enclosure configurations to choose from. What PANELdraw won't do is design the circuit card assemblies that go into the box or calculate the reliability of the box.
PANELdraw also offers an error checking feature that will let you know if you have duplicate part identification or are missing any part numbers. You can use PANELdraw to include material, labor, and mark-up in your cost estimations. Hoffman regularly updates the parts cost database on its website, then sends you an e-mail notifying you to download the new pricing data. Pricing for PANELdraw is $500.
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