What are Engineering Automation Tools?

Engineering automation uses specialized software tools to capture and then automate engineering rules and procedures.

These tools are unique because they incorporate configuration capabilities with an ability to automate engineering, geometric and spatial calculations, all in a single, integrated representation.

Traditional configurators handle only the selection of features and options with simple inclusion and exclusion rules (if I have A, then I need B, and similar simple rules). On the other hand, traditional programming languages handle engineering rules well, but not configuration and geometry. Finally, CAD systems handle geometry and spatial relationships well, but not the ability to handle true engineering rules or powerful configurations. Engineering automation handles all three in a single, comprehensive system.


Like a spreadsheet on steroids

Engineering automation tools have some things in common with spreadsheets.

Although creating a spreadsheet in essence creates a program, you don’t need programming skills to use a spreadsheet. Similarly, engineering automation tools enable people who are not trained programmers to automate engineering processes.

Because both spreadsheets and the engineering automation tools use a declarative style. Users declare that column C is the sum of column A & B and the spreadsheet keeps track of it for them. If A changes, C updates – and if anything else that affects A changes, C updates.

Engineering automation tools extend this concept into the engineering world. The software can include objects and assembly / sub-assembly relationships as well as geometry and spatial relationships. This keeps the creation of engineering automation solutions manageable by non-programmers, but at the same time has the power to handle very large and complex problems.

Traditional programs that require sequential (procedural) steps, become unwieldy as their complexity increases.

Engineering automation tools...

  • Capture engineering rules

  • Automatically apply rules when required

  • Orchestrate and drive most of the point solutions in the arsenal of engineering departments, including spreadsheets, computer-aided-engineering (CAE) environments, computer-aided-design (CAD), mathematical programs and more

  • Configure engineer-to-order (ETO) and custom products that require engineering input

  • Automatically derive the geometric and spatial requirements of products and components

  • Create data for manufacturing, drawings for proposals, documentation, and manufacturing, and much more.

Engineering automation tools and systems are...

  • Object-oriented development environments that are specifically armed to handle the complex interrelationships and dependencies of engineering design

  • Capable of data gathering, consolidation, and routing

  • Have PDM-like capabilities of distributing information among technical groups

  • Capable of developing proposals, quotations, spreadsheets and the like

  • Spatial and geometric generators that can translate into fully automated CAD output, CAM data, and CAE manipulation

  • Code- and text-generators that can literally feed keystrokes to other programs, send emails and alerts, and generally drive all commonly-used engineering computer resources

  • User interface builders that can present non-technical screens to sales and office personnel

  • System-wide orchestrators of all that engineering means to your sales and order engineering

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