Zuken, a Munich-based developer of mechatronic design tools, joined the growing list of design tool developers working to bridge the gap between mechanical and electrical design tools. Its newly available Board Modeler 4.0 integrates with its CR-5000 Board Designer tool so that electrical or mechanical engineers can check for conflicts without having to translate information either into ASCII or using an intermediate data format (IDF) translation.
"Board Modeler 4.0 can now read both mechanical and electrical data," said Herbert Ritthaler, a Zuken application engineer. "If an electrical designer makes any changes because of mechanical design constraints, the information is incorporated in the Board Designer tool."
Zuken's CR-5000 tool integrates with PTC's Pro/Engineer or Dassault's CATIA MCAD software. "If engineers import the design for housing a board, they can do collision-checking in 3D and get mechanical data from the MCAD software," Ritthaler said. "This way, they can confirm that critical components still fit within the housing. If they find a problem, they can make changes in Board Modeler and import the change to the Board Designer tool."
This offers benefits to both electrical and mechanical designers, Ritthaler said, especially in terms of saving time. "It's easier to find conflicts earlier. It also means that ECAD engineers can perform 3D analysis without having to learn a sophisticated MCAD application."
The derivation of the 4.0 designation in the new product is admittedly confusing. Ritthaler said it represents the "harmonization" of previous versions Zuken had created for markets in Japan and Europe.