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AutoCAD Electrical Integration with Autodesk Inventor

AutoCAD Electrical Integration with Autodesk Inventor

autocad electrical and inventor

AutoCAD Electrical Integration with Autodesk Inventor

By Chami Ranaweera l Redstack Applications Engineer - Mechanical and Electrical


This document will take you through the steps used to interface between AutoCAD Electrical and Autodesk Inventor Professional. This enables both the electrical and mechanical designers to work together receiving updates as changes are made in either environment.


1.1 How to link AutoCAD Electrical and Inventor

The interface creates a link between the AutoCAD Electrical project file (.WDP) and the Inventor assembly file (.IAM). All that is needed is to create a synchronisation file (.EMX) in a folder shared by both designers as per Figure:01.

autocad and inventor live sync

Figure: 01

First, Electrical and Mechanical drawings must be created. A 2D schematics drawings including connectors/symbols, panel layout (Electrical) is created using AutoCAD Electrical. A physical drawing (Mechanical) can be created using Inventor. Inventor gives the physical connections of the wires attachment and routing.

A new. EMX file is created using electro mechanical tab in AutoCAD or Inventor as per Figure:02. The workflow can be reversed and create the EMX file in AutoCAD Electrical, and link to it from Inventor. Once Inventor is linked to an EMX file, Electrical Properties and other functionality is available.

electromechanical link setup

Figure: 02

The location view is available after creating the link. The location view on the Inventor tab can be accessed as per below and notice only physical mechanical components are listed.

enclosure assembly

Figure: 03

1.2 Inserting components using Electrical Catalog Browser in Inventor

Component can be inserted using the Electrical Catalog Browser as below. You also can edit the electrical properties in Inventor, including part numbers, descriptions, etc. In addition, you continue the process of linking the AutoCAD Electrical and Inventor components together.

electrical catalog browser

Figure: 04

Inventor also can access to the AutoCAD electrical Database using Electrical Catalog Browser and use those data. The below SYMBOL2D column is used by AutoCAD Electrical and SYMBOL3D column is used by Inventor. Then the part now knows what is the 2D and 3D symbols associate with it. The part call Motor Stater is placed to the inventor drawing as below.

autocad motor starter

Figure: 05

autocad electrical

Figure: 06

The electrical properties can be added to the that block as below.

autocad electrical properties

Figure: 07

Shared link file is possible to access from Autocad electrical as per below.

autocad shared link

Figure: 08

The electrical and mechanical components are listed in the location view as below.

autocad electrical components

Figure: 09

1.3 Inserting components using Catalog Browser in Electrical

This list of physical components provides the electrical and mechanical designers with a list of components to be inserted into their respective environments, eliminating the need for separate manually created and maintained checklists or spreadsheets.

Finally, since the component is inserted directly from the list, the software can automatically create the link between the logical and physical components. As you insert components, notice how the separate electrical and mechanical components are combined and displayed in a single entry displayed with the link symbol.

In the Project Manager pallet, notice that the mechanical and electrical component-M6 combined into a single display shown as linked.

autocad project manager pallet

autocad cabinet

Figure: 10

Mechanical and electrical components have not linked each other before synchronising in inventor.

autocad synchronising

Figure: 11

Components are linked each other after synchronising with inventor as below.

autocad synchronising inventor

Figure: 12

PJ6 and PJ7 can be linked to the inventor assembly by right clicking on it. In inventor the location view pallet will be displayed as below now.

location view pallet

Figure: 13

Components can be inserted in to both drawings and link together same way. The location view tab is visible as below once all the components are linked.

location view tab

Figure: 14

1.4 Create Connections and Route

This step adds the wires to the assembly. Since the missing wires were the final difference between the electrical and mechanical environments.

Now a wire harness must be created, or harness can be activated if it has already been created. The connection is created by right-clicking the Cabinet on the Location View palette. The drawing is visible as below once all the cables are routed.

create connections and route

Figure: 15

1.5 Show Connection Details and Wire Length

In this step, see how the data, especially wire lengths, are transferred from the 3D environment back to the 2D world of AutoCAD Electrical. The following attributes can be exported as .CSV file.

show connection details and wire length

Figure: 16


AutoCAD Electrical and Inventor can be purchased as part of the Product Design and Manufacturing Collection here: