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Software firm uses UK to test `computer-based engineering`

01 November, 1999

Software firm uses UK to test `computer-based engineering`

Aucotec, the German developer of the high-end Elcad electrical design software, has produced a new, low-cost electrical engineering package and has chosen to launch it in the UK.

Aucotec says that the EasyElectric package offers "computer-based engineering" (CBE) rather than computer-aided design or engineering (CAD or CAE). It is built around a database that supports all aspects of the engineering process, linking project information, technical specifications, and physical data, to form a "virtual plant model".

Any changes made to one part of a project are automatically updated in other parts. If a symbol is moved from one diagram to another, its cross-references are maintained. Any changes are fed through to wiring lists, bills of materials and other aspects of the package.

EasyElectric is based on industry standards such as Microsoft`s Visual Basic language and SQL database, and Visio`s drawing tools, copies of which are included.

Aucotec claims that Elcad has captured almost all of Germany`s power engineering market. But it says that the UK market is different: whereas German customers are prepared to pay more for bells-and-whistles software; UK buyers are more cost-conscious and will only pay for the functions they need.

EasyElectric will be test-marketed first in the UK and may not be sold in Germany. Until the end of the year, a restricted version is being offered here for £99, with an upgrade to the full version, due next Spring, for £399. The eventual list price will be around £1,000.

Add-on modules being developed for the package include mechanical design, process control, instrumentation, engineering data management and manufacturing resource planning.

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