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The use of software in EE

Back in the early days, engineers weren’t able to use software tools for the purpose of drawing, calculation, and design. So, how did they do it? Prior to the software era, drawings were made manually, using ink and paper, while calculations were made also by hand, using pocket calculators, or some early computers for more complex operations.

Top five software types that LV design engineers MUST know how to work with
Top five software types that LV design engineers MUST know how to work with (photo credit: Parth Parsana via Linkedin)

Ok, someone will say, but engineers and engineering existed long before any kind of computer have been made, what about that time? Well, yes, of course. At the end of the day, electronic calculation devices, as well as software engineering tools after them, were also created by engineers.

How? Honestly, I don’t know exactly. Those guys had only hands and brains as their tools. Let us congratulate them on their achievements.

Nowadays, the use of software packages is so widely spread, that it is hard to imagine almost any engineering task to be completed without it. Software tools enable easy modifications and fast production of various types of technical documents.

Thanks to them, technical documentation can be created in the way we know it today. Before software (r)evolution, it was simply not possible.

Contents:

  1. The use of software in LV electrical engineering
  2. Examples of software tools
    1. MS Office and similar open-source tools
    2. Computer-aided design (CAD) software
    3. Electrical diagrams & switchboard design
    4. Electrical calculations & dimensioning
    5. Software tools for thermal calculations
  3. Conclusion

2. Examples of software tools

Within this article, some most important and most common software packages, used in the field of LV electrical engineering, will be mentioned and described.

Some comments related to their nature and use will be given as well.


2.1 MS Office and similar open-source tools

These are basic software tools, which are used not only for engineering purposes but for many other applications besides. MS Word is used for the creation of textual documents, which is useful for the textual part of design documentation, technical reports, etc.

A tool called “Equation” may be especially interesting for engineers since it allows mathematical formulas to be written in the same way we would do it by hand.

MS Excel is maybe the most engineering tool inside an office package. Besides the visual representation of data in the form of a practically endless table, it contains other useful features, such as graph creation, various calculations inside one sheet or between several sheets, creating of macros, etc.

MS Project serves as a tool for project planning, so it can be particularly interesting for engineers which are dealing with managing tasks. This tool allows different project stages to be conditionally connected one to another, and critical project tasks, as well as critical deadlines, to be defined.

Microsoft Project example
Figure 1 – Microsoft Project example

MS PowerPoint is created for slide show presentations. For example, it can be used for project goals, effects of some technical solution, feasibility study, or case study presentation to investors or some wider audience.

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Miodrag Kokotovic

Graduated from Faculty of Electrical Engineering, within University of Belgrade, in the field of electrical power systems. Expert in electrical part of tender preparation, design, procurement, construction and commissioning of treatment plants and pumping stations, electrical power quality and energy management.

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