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EPLAN - Data Portal

25 August 2017

The EPLAN Data Portal is a collaborative web-based platform with major suppliers of electrical, mechanical, fluidic and pneumatic components – the number of collaborators is increasing constantly, but currently stands at over 196.

As one of the world’s leading developers and suppliers of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software, EPLAN is well aware that one of the major challenges faced by engineering designers is to make sure that the data they use for the components in the systems they design is accurate and up to date. In the past, engineers usually sourced data from the component suppliers’ printed catalogues, but it was always a challenge to be sure that they were working from the latest version and, when the supplier made changes, these didn’t become generally available until a new edition of the catalogue was printed, which often meant a delay of many months.

More recently, design engineers have become increasingly reliant on data sourced from component suppliers’ websites. This reduces the probability of accidentally using out-of-date information but, in a typical automation project that uses components from 20, 30 or even more different suppliers, visiting each supplier’s website is time consuming, tedious and does not guarantee holistic schematic drawings for the engineering process. A further issue is that the various suppliers will each present data in their own – sometimes idiosyncratic – format.

With these issues in mind, EPLAN has set up its fully web-based and integrated solution called the Data Portal, which was initially available only to users of the company’s CAE software. However, EPLAN is now offering complimentary access to DXF schematic representations for users of various other CAD/CAE products, as well as bill of materials information in CSV format, which can be used in ERP (enterprise resource planning), PDM (product data management) and PLM (product life management) systems.

The EPLAN Data Portal is a collaborative web-based platform with major suppliers of electrical, mechanical, fluidic and pneumatic components – the number of collaborators is increasing constantly, but currently stands at over 196.

In essence, EPLAN collects comprehensive product data from each of the suppliers involved, verifies the intelligence of the data sets to be used in the EPLAN platform and then makes it available via the EPLAN Data Portal. The relationship between EPLAN and the collaborators is a dynamic partnership; they work closely together to ensure that the data provided by the Data Portal is always accurate and up to date and adds the most value to the entire engineering process.

At present, the EPLAN Data Portal provides data for more than 756,000 devices and more than 1.2 million configurable variants, spanning electro-technical equipment ranging from drives and PLCs to emergency stop switches and circuit breakers as well as mechanical, fluidic and pneumatic devices. The portal provides dimensional data for the devices, which can be directly used via drag-and-drop in EPLAN software or imported into other software in DXF format to produce layout drawings.

It also provides additional data in EPLAN format about technical characteristics, which can be used to validate designs and automatically generate project documentation. There is no other product database that compares in size and quality with the EPLAN Data Portal, and this makes it particularly appealing for end users.

Using the EPLAN Data Portal, with its ready access to dependable data, significantly reduces project engineering time, resulting in consistent cost savings. Another key benefit is that the often costly and sometimes potentially dangerous problems that can occur when working with out-of-date component data are eliminated.

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