Posts Tagged ‘electrical design’

New Release 3.0.0.603: Need for Speed II, Block Clusters Introduction, and Data Updates

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Greetings DraftLogicers,

We are pleased to release build 3.0.0.603 to you. This release focuses on further improving the new Drawing Validation, a vast speed jump in Automated Circuiting, data updates that affect conductor and protection selection, and introducing a new feature–‘block clusters’!  What follows is a summary of the differences between this build and the prior.  Given the extra functionality and fixes, we strongly recommend you implement this build ASAP.

NEED FOR SPEED II

Automated Circuiting’s main function has been vastly sped up.  Small projects will complete Automated Circuiting in about half the time (i.e. our tutorial school now completes in about a minute versus just over two minutes prior).  Large projects will see even more of a speed increase, for example a 350K ft2 fitness center used to take about 37 minutes for Automated Circuiting on one of our test machines, now takes about 8 minutes on that machine, about a five times speed increase.

BLOCK CLUSTERS

Have you ever needed to put a repetitive cluster of the same blocks to service the same type of device throughout a project?  It gets pretty boring after the first five, or ten, or twenty, right?  Well, the same auto placement and auto snap and rotate features that you have seen in action for single blocks in DraftLogic Electrical can be applied to groups of blocks.  In this build, we have dipped our toes in those waters and included a couple of new rules that support block clusters:  a hospital bed rule and a computer rule.  The hospital bed rule places 4 receptacles and a data/telephone port behind the bed.  Two of the receptacles are pre-tagged as ‘emergency serviced’.  The computer rule places a receptacle for the computer and a data/telephone port alongside it.  So block clusters can contain any combination of DraftLogic Electrical blocks & they will retain all of your attribute and xdata settings that you had when you create the block cluster.  In a near future release, we’ll add a tool palette to support some premade clusters and to support ones you make.

In conjunction with the release of this new ‘Computer’ autoplacement rule, we have downgraded the existing ‘Desk Receptacle’ rule to specifically look for desks rather than doing so but falling back to placing a receptacle opposite the door if desk not found, now will only place receptacle behind desk.  I would recommend only mapping computers during drawing mapping if they are in the architect source unless you want both the regular desk receptacle and the computer package where desks + computers are both mappable from the source.  Alternatively, if you have desks as blocks or closed polylines in the source but no computers, you can choose to map the desks to computers if you want the computer block cluster for each desk.  To support the new rule, we have added ‘Computer’ as destination category in Drawing Mapping Wizard so if there are blocks representing computers or a layer with closed polylines representing computers they can be mapped during the Drawing Mapping process.

There is information on making more types of block clusters added to the forums at: http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=122

 

DATA TABLES UPDATES

This release includes 124 additional luminaires (now 1,638), 36 additional room definitions (now 1,554), and some additional project and design parameter templates.  We have gone through each and every table that affects protection and conductor selection and made a number of updates.  Some other tables have also been updated, like the addition of a computer rule that you can apply to rooms that applies a receptacle+data block cluster to computers & hospital bed clusters that apply four blocks to beds in hospital rooms.

 

AUTOMATIC DRAWING VALIDATION 

The  automatic drawing validation feature included in the last release checks your drawing for the most common trouble spots.  It will completely automatically fix issues that we are 100% confident can be resolved without your interaction & identify the rest with error arrows.  This tool checks out the issues that are behind about 70% of our support calls, specifically issues with:  room boundaries, room IDs, floor boundaries, floor match blocks, duplicate blocks, and bad polylines.  In  this version, we have added some more automatic fixers, added more issue identifications, and also excluded some ‘non-issues’ that were causing false positive issue identifications.

See the Drawing validation forums entry for detail on what it does and how to take advantage of it, changes for this release have been appended to the bottom of the original entry:

http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=116

The near-zero length polyline cleanup will affect those who edit DraftLogic Electrical block definitions, please review this forums item if you plan on editing DraftLogic Electrical blocks, including block clusters:

http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=126

As you probably already noticed, the Automated Drawing Validation threatens that you must resolve critical issues before you can continue…this is hot air right now, we are not yet preventing anyone from continuing with known issues.  This will be left this way until we are comfortable that the validation checks are all identifying only valid issues & when we do make a change, you’ll still have an ‘out’ to simply continue onward with the identified issues left as-is.

 

OSNAPS ACTIVE MANAGEMENT IMPROVED AND NOW OPTIONAL

Osnaps Active Management has been audited, over 200 instances of it have been checked to ensure that user osnaps are saved and restored before/after DraftLogic Electrical functions.  Also, we have added a user preference to allow expert CAD users to disable the Osnaps Active Management, see this forums entry for details:

http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=124

ACAD x64 ISSUE RESOLVED

This release includes resolution of the harmless-but-annoying Automated Exception error on exit from AutoCAD 2011 after using Automated BCW, it manifested as an empty dialog box in AutoCAD 2012.  See this forums entry for information: http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=123

NEW CLIENT and SERVER UPDATE INSTALLS

For those who have already updated to DraftLogic Electrical V3.0.0.545, we have new update installers to take you from 3.0.0.545 up to this version (3.0.0.603).  The server and client update installers take care of all the updates except the database update for now.  If you were not already at V3.0.0.545, contact me to plan your update as the update installs may not catch everything that is out of date on your installation.

 

IMPLEMENTING THE RELEASE

For those who have already upgraded to V3.0, this update will take 10-15 minutes.  See the attached instructions on downloading and installing, it has been written to apply to this and future updates so file references are generic (files specific to this update are mentioned below).

 

Give me a call or drop me an email if you want to arrange a time for me to execute the updates or a complete V3.0 installation for you via WebEx.

 

The two upgrade packages & database update needed for this specific update are:

‘DraftLogic_Electrical_V3.0_ServerUpdateOnly_603.exe’

‘DraftLogic_Electrical_V3.0_ClientUpdateOnly_603.exe’

‘DraftLogicDatabaseUpdate_3.0.0.603_20120828.zip’

The database update is for all three databases.  Refer to the attached update manual for details on whether you need to do anything with your database pointers or not.

*** If, however, you have added data that you desire to retain in any of your four libraries, you MUST contact me and let me know what data you have added & we need to execute a manual update by running SQL scripts to make the updates without harming your added data!

Regards,
Dean Whitford
Chief Executive Officer
DraftLogic
Phone 780-906-2888 (9AM to 6PM MTN time)
Email dwhitford@draftlogic.com
Blog http://www.draftlogic.com/blog
Visit us on the Internet: www.draftlogic.com

 

Speed and Usability Focused New Release 3.0.0.545

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Greetings DraftLogicers,

 

We are pleased to release build 3.0.0.545 to you.  We have been very busy since our March 2012 release, we have some excellent new speed and usability features to share with you!  What follows is a summary of the differences between this build and the prior.

Given the extra functionality and fixes, we strongly recommend you implement this build ASAP.  Detailed update instructions are available, please email me if you have not already received them.  Call Dean at 780-906-2888 if you need any assistance in doing the updates.

THE NEED FOR SPEED

Do you feel the need for speed?  So do we!  We’re always optimizing the speed with which our functions complete, usually getting a few percent here and there, so good but not headline news.

Well, this build includes about a 75% increase in speed in our ‘Load Calculator’.  “So what,” you say, “I never run the Load Calculator.”?  Well, in reality, you run the Load Calculator with all reports that have anything to do with power tree protection or conductors…so that includes the Single Line Diagram, Panel Schedules, Motor Schedule, Kitchen Schedule, and Bill of Materials.  OK, so we know the Load Calculator is an important part of many reports.  Depending on the size and complexity of your power tree, the Load Calculator used to take anywhere from tens of seconds (e.g. our tutorial 26.5K ft2 school) to over an hour (e.g. a 700K ft2 Automated Warehouse/Distribution Center).  That was the March and prior releases.

With this release, the Load Calculator is approximately FOUR TIMES FASTER.  So although you may not notice it too much on small projects, you will definitely notice it on the large projects, i.e. the Single Line Diagram for a 700K ft2 Automated Warehouse/Distribution Center we designed that took 75 minutes start to finish to generate with the prior releases now takes only 16 minutes!

 

ANNOTATION ORGANIZER DIALOG

You asked, we produced:  the DraftLogic Electrical Annotation Organizer now has a snazzy new dialog to run it with!  The dialog allows you to control all aspects of the Annotation Organizer tool & further allows you to create, save, edit, and delete templates of settings.  Our June 2012 release includes the dialog with a number of preloaded templates suitable for the most commonly needed metric and imperial plot scales.

Learn more about how to use the Annotation Organizer through its dialog at this forums entry:

http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=119

Get a quick overview of what the Annotation Organizer does at this web page:

http://www.draftlogic.com/cms_pages.php?id=139

Please give the new user interface for the Annotation Organizer a try and let us know what you think.

AUTOMATIC DRAWING VALIDATION 

We have added an automatic drawing validation that checks your drawing for the most common trouble spots.  It will completely automatically fix issues that we are 100% confident can be resolved without your interaction & identify the rest with error arrows.  This tool checks out the issues that are behind about 70% of our support calls, specifically issues with:  room boundaries, room IDs, floor boundaries, floor match blocks, duplicate blocks, and bad polylines.

See the Drawing validation blog entry for the feature announcement:

http://www.draftlogic.com/blog/2012/06/automatic-drawing-validation/

See the Drawing validation forums entry for detail on what it does and how to take advantage of it:

http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=116

 

SUPER LUMINAIRE TAGS PART 2

The new luminaire tags can be placed in several density levels and with a buffer, scale, and maximum service distance that you choose.

The ‘Luminaire Tag Mode’ is the density level that tags will be placed at.  You can select from: One-to-One, Dense, Thin, and One per Room.  You dictate the buffer distance that the luminaire tags will look to have with anything in their collision group (i.e. other lighting related plot items).  The ‘Luminaire Tag Maximum Distance’ is the furthest that a tag can be from a luminaire and still be considered as ‘servicing’ it for the Dense & Thin tag modes.  As per the other parameters, the buffer and maximum distance are input in inches.  The ‘Luminaire Tag Scale’ is a value from .1 to 10 where ’1′ means the tags are placed at the same scale as the luminaires.  Smaller values (i.e. below 1) will result in tags that are smaller relative to the luminaires, and larger values mean the reverse.  Lastly, ‘Luminaire Tags Avoid XREF Entities’ is a yes/no value to tell DraftLogic Electrical whether it should attempt to avoid collision with xref’d entities or not.  Typically, the architect source is your xref.

This release includes luminaire tag automated placement with three enhancements versus March’s version:  faster execution, specific handling for centering in tbar cells, and some further enhancements throughout.

Please try the luminaire tag automated placement out with various settings and let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions to enhance the use/results.

See the forums entry for more detail on how to use the new luminaire tag automated placement:

http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=115

See our blog for the announcement of this new functionality:

http://www.draftlogic.com/blog/2012/06/new-and-improved-luminaire-tagspart-2/

 

NEW CLIENT and SERVER UPDATE INSTALLS

For those who have already updated to DraftLogic Electrical V3, we have new update installers to take you from whatever version you were on (i.e. 3.0.0.###) up to this version (3.0.0.545).  The server and client update installers take care of all the updates except the database update for now.

 

IMPLEMENTING THE RELEASE

For those who have already upgraded to V3.0, this update will take 10-15 minutes.  See the attached instructions on downloading and installing, it has been written to apply to this and future updates so file references are generic (files specific to this update are mentioned below).

Give me a call or drop me an email if you want to arrange a time for me to execute the updates or a complete V3.0 installation for you via WebEx.

The two upgrade packages & database update needed for this specific update are:

‘DraftLogic_Electrical_V3.0_ServerUpdateOnly_545.exe’

‘DraftLogic_Electrical_V3.0_ClientUpdateOnly_545.exe’

‘DraftLogicDatabaseUpdate_3.0.0.545_20120625.zip’

 

The database update is for all three databases.  Good news it is the one that does not contain any database pointers, so if you are OK with replacing all your library data with our base library data, you can completely overwrite the ‘DraftLogic’ database as per the attached PDF and you are done.

 

*** If, however, you have added data that you desire to retain in any of your four libraries, you MUST contact me and let me know what data you have added & we need to execute a manual update by running SQL scripts to make the updates without harming your added data!

 

 

Regards,

Dean Whitford
Chief Executive Officer
DraftLogic
Phone 780-906-2888 (9AM to 6PM MTN time)
Email dwhitford@draftlogic.com
Blog http://www.draftlogic.com/blog
Visit us on the Internet: www.draftlogic.com

 

New and Improved Luminaire Tags…Part 2

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

The June 2012 release of DraftLogic Electrical includes further improved luminaire tag automated placement with three enhancements versus the earlier version: faster execution, specific handling for centering in tbar cells, and some further enhancements throughout.

See the forums entry for more detail on how to use the new luminaire tag automated placement:

http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=115&sid=19bdf5d530398a7ce7e7d6f43d4d5315

 

FUTURE ENHANCEMENTS

At some point in the future, we desire to release the luminaire tag automated placement with three enhancements versus today’s version: even faster execution, better logic for maximizing the number of best location placements versus secondary placements, and last but not least, some enhancements based on your feedback.

So, please try the new and improved luminaire tag tool out and let us know how you would like to see it enhanced!

Regards,
Dean Whitford, CEO
DraftLogic Inc.

 

New and Improved Luminaire Tags…Part 1

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Question: which building electrical design software automatically places luminaire tags for you? DraftLogic Electrical, of course! Well, you likely all very well knew the answer to that one. DraftLogic Electrical has been automatically placing luminaire tags for you since day one, and further to that it has been automatically categorizing and sequentially numbering the tags to allow for the completely automatic generation of a luminaire schedule.

Although we have always provided you with industry-leading automation like that in the automated luminare tags and luminaire schedule, We at DraftLogic have always wanted to give you more control over the luminaire tagging and also to make even ‘smarter’ placements. With today’s release of DraftLogic Electrical, that is all coming to life.

With the new luminaire tags, you now have lots of control over the results of the automated placement. You choose one of several different density levels and a buffer, scale, and maximum service distance (i.e. distance that multiple luminaires will ‘share’ the same tag).

In about 8 weeks, we plan to release the luminaire tag automated placement part 2 with enhancements versus today’s version: faster execution, specific handling for centering in tbar cells, and last but not least, some enhancements based on your feedback.

See the forums entry for more detail on how to use the new luminaire tag automated placement:

http://www.draftlogic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=115&sid=19bdf5d530398a7ce7e7d6f43d4d5315

As always, please email, call, or chat us if you have any questions!

Regards,
Dean Whitford, CEO & Gerry Stebnicki, President
DraftLogic Inc.

Keys to Success for Learning to Use Software Built for Complex Tasks

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Learning New Software Blues

You know what?  I hate reading software manuals, attending software training courses, and watching training videos as much…or even more…than you do!  I can usually get away without doing any of that…with typical ‘consumer grade’ applications.  It is an indisputable truism, however, that not all software can be made simple and intuitive enough so that a reasonably intelligent person can sit down and effectively use it without having to do any of these horrible horrible things  :)

In Our Experience

We at DraftLogic Inc. have been working with new clients and with potential clients that are setting up pilot projects and trials of DraftLogic Electrical.  Since what happens in the initial learning phase of the software determines whether implementation moves forward or not, we have learned some key factors that determine success or failure across all sites.

These key factors apply to all software that has a tough job to do. What do I mean by that?  Well, typically speaking, the more complex and knowledge intensive the end product, the more complex the software to help users create a quality end product. For example, consider AutoCAD, Revit, and enterprise resource planning products.  Each of these products requires a minimum base level of product knowledge before a user can be truly productive with them.  Sure, someone with reasonable computer experience can sit down and draw some simple entities in AutoCAD, but you and I both know there is no way that someone without experience or training will be able to create professional quality output without some training!

So let’s dig into these keys to success that you can apply to almost any software built for complex tasks, using DraftLogic Electrical as our ‘case study’.

DraftLogic Electrical is going to make your design time both more enjoyable and more productive. It does this by automating boring, low skill, and error prone tasks; thus freeing up much more of your time to be able to concentrate on the important design decisions. You will finish your projects faster and even be able to deliver more value to the client in the shorter design time.

The Three Keys to Success

There are three key things that are all necessary to be successful with DraftLogic Electrical. If you can make these commitments, it is highly likely that you will be very successful with DraftLogic Electrical, i.e. your design productivity will, at a minimum, double and you will enjoy your design time more. The more of these commitments that are not met or are only partially met, the more likely it is that you will not be successful with DraftLogic Electrical and you will miss out on a great opportunity.

Firstly, your company must allocate you paid time during regular workdays to do the video training. The hours required in total are 20-24 if our tutorial school is used as the sample, up to approximately 30 hours if you select one of your projects to try things on.  The video training must be completed in a span of no more than two weeks–any longer and you’ll forget the basics before you learn the other features! In our experience, it is also not going to work if the company asks a designer to learn DraftLogic Electrical ‘as they go’, ‘during lunch times’, or ‘at home in the evening/weekends’.

Secondly, you must go carefully through the entire training video series, pausing the videos often and trying each function on the tutorial school data.

Thirdly, you must not ‘spin your wheels’. We want you to have a positive learning and use experience, not get frustrated trying to figure something tricky out. Call for support when: there is a concept in the training videos that does not seem to make sense, a function does not work when you try them it the tutorial data, or there simply seems to be some instruction or information missing.  Spend a few minutes reviewing the video, quickly check for information in the forums, and perhaps read the particular section for the function in question in the user manual…but other than that, pick up the phone and call 780-906-2888 for help.  Spending a few minutes on the phone with us will save you many more minutes of frustration.  We have noticed that some folks tend to email rather than call, please be aware that email might not get looked at for some number of minutes so it is always best to call if you have a question that needs to be answered in order for you to be able to continue.

In Closing

I have two last suggestions.  The first is for those trying to help clients learn their software–you need both the executives and the users to buy-in to the above to make the learning process work.  The second is for those who have to learn any software built for a complex task–think of the end state of improved productivity with less effort that you will be in after training…that should help you to stay focused and gain maximum benefit from the training.

Happy Software Engineering,

Dean Whitford, CEO

DraftLogic Inc.

 

PS:  interested in seeing a sample video training program?  Check ours out.

SIZE MEANS EVERYTHING

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Okay, now that we have your attention read on to find out why.

DESIGN SOFTWARE SELECTION

When choosing the right electrical design software to use for your project the right choice can yield enormous benefits in efficiency, such benefits multiplying the larger the building.  Here is an example where the power of automation in design can be leveraged to create significant productivity gains.  Time spent is not necessarily directly proportional to the project size.  This can be argued with any software application but some will produce far better results than others.  Those that offer only enhancements to what amounts to still completely manual design will limit production to human speed and the time for the job, meaning time for a larger job varies basically proportional to the size of the job.  On the other hand, software that offers automation can multiply the productivity results many fold and reap huge rewards for the designer and contractors.

AUTOMATION VASTLY MULTIPLIES DESIGN PRODUCTIVITY

As an example we recently tested the capability of our software on a 725,000 sq. ft. plant building.   In that job, we placed approximately 7,000 light fixtures including zonal cavity lighting calculations for over 450 rooms and placed receptacles in all rooms.  We completely circuited the project, populated 195 electrical panels and created a single line & panel schedules completely automatically with all load calculations done including selection of feeders, selection of protection, calculation of fault levels for each panel, indication of minimum IC handling for all protection, and accommodation throughout for voltage drop.  This entire process once the drawings were set up took only hours.  Estimating that there were approximately 4000 circuits to connect doing this manually would have taken around 200 hours ( a conservative estimate) just for the circuiting let alone filling in schedules, creating single line diagrams and doing load and fault level calculations.  Taking these tasks into account would likely would have doubled that time for the manual circuiting and single line process.

Looking at the project as a whole, thus including device placement, circuiting, and generation of all schedules and floor plans, using normal ACAD tools this would have easily taken over 40 to 50 man weeks.  We achieved this result in less than two man weeks including all drawing set up, layouts and calculations & creation of all client deliverables.  An astounding accomplishment when one considers what was done in this compressed time frame.  The work completed in the aforementioned time included everything already mentioned plus the drawing of multi-circuit home runs and device to device interconnections for branch circuit wiring & creation of a complete bill of materials that included branch circuit wiring, feeders, all devices, and panel+protection summaries with required IC levels noted.

BE A LEADER NOT A FOLLOWER

Seek out and find the right tools for the job, do your research and use your time effectively because your competitors are doing the same thing.

This strategy can get your foot in the door with new clients when they understand what you can do for them, and it will make your life easier with contractors by reducing the number of design errors on your project regardless of size.  Automation effectively applied can change your life, release a great deal of repetitive drudgery and at the same time improve quality.

DraftLogic Electrical offers patented automation tools that are not offered anywhere else.  Possible productivity gains are astounding and have been proven, time and time again and we have carefully measured and documented the results in a white paper available on our website at www.draftlogic.com.

Check it out and change the way you do things.

Gerry Stebnicki, P. Eng, Bsc. Electrical
President
DraftLogic