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Eplan opens up its product data library for use by others

10 May, 2016

Eplan, the German engineering design software developer, has announced that it is opening up its vast library of product data to users of rival products such as AutoCad. It is also making the data available to users of ERP (enterprise resource planning), PDM (product data management) and PLM (product life management) systems.

Eplan’s Data Portal, previously accessible only to the 100,000-plus users of its own software, contains data on around 600,000 devices and more than 1.2 million variants, from more than 130 manufacturers, including ABB, GE, Siemens, Mitsubishi, Omron and Rockwell. The cloud-based Web database spans electrotechnical equipment ranging from drives and PLCs to emergency switches and circuit-breakers.

At the recent Hannover Fair, Eplan’s managing director, Haluk Menderes, announced that the data will now be made available to anyone who wants to use it. All they need to do is register.

Eplan says that the move will strengthen its position as a global supplier of digital device data and boost the number of users of its portal. It hopes that this will, in turn, attract even more equipment suppliers to contribute to the database.

“We’re tapping into completely new user groups: ERP, PDM/PLM users who require commercial data on the one hand, and an enormous number of AutoCad users on the other,” Menderes said.

To date, says Eplan, designers using AutoCad have often had to draw schematics by hand. Now they will gain free access to graphic data in AutoCad’s .dxf format for equipment from a wide variety of suppliers. Users of other CAD programs that can read .dxf files will also be able to access to the data.

In addition to the existing "closed" route for distributing its data (shown on the left), Eplan is is adding an "open" route (right) available to anyone who registers to use the Data Portal

By making its schematics data available to AutoCad users, Eplan is also hoping to broaden its global coverage. “We are especially reaching out to an enormous circle of users, particularly in the North American and Asian market, who we will now support with electrotechnical drawings in their daily engineering,” Menderes explained.

“Our portal is now also aiming at a global circle of users who are not directly using our software – for instance, the large number of users of resource-planning systems,” who will have access to “a central source of high-quality data,” he adds. They will be able to download data such as item and type numbers, and descriptive information, either for individual items or as complete packages.

Eplan believes that the number of users of the portal will increase “considerably” as a result of opening up the database. This, it hopes, will encourage more manufacturers around the world to add their device data to the portal, helping to promote their products on a global scale.

Eplan also wants to expand the portal further into areas such as mechatronics and field devices.

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