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Issue 2 of Mechanical Tips & Tricks

Welcome to this edition of Graitec Mechanical ‘Tips and Tricks’ newsletter. We have produced this with you our Clients, in mind. Our aim is to regularly pass on helpful Tips and Tricks on Autodesk Mechanical Software products. We will try and keep this document full of useful and relevant information for you but if you want to make some suggestions on the content, drop us a line and we will do our best to include your requests.

Please take the time to look at the contents of this Newsletter, you never know, the answer to something that is puzzling you today may be right here.

This Months Tips & Trick Focus Is On:

Fixes and Service Packs Available

If you are not on subscription you are missing out on the automatic notification when these Service Packs become available. Speak to your Sales Team at Graitec to find out more.

Is Service Pack 1 available for Inventor 2008 yet? 

Solution: Yes it is, please follow the links below: 

Inventor 2008 Service Pack 

Also for further fixes and updates click on the link below, all those listed below Service Pack 1 are included in the service pack:

Is there a way to bring Solidworks files into Inventor? 

Solution: Autodesk are always developing new tools for Inventor Users, their latest offering is the ability to import Solidworks and Pro-Engineer files straight into Inventor, see links below: Solidworks and Pro-Engineer file import: 

Autodesk Labs

AutoCAD Electrical 

The Family codes and the naming of symbols created in AutoCAD Electrical have a bearing on how the symbols are handled when inserting them into a circuit. The Family code is decided when creating the symbol using the Symbol Builder Utility.

Family Codes

This is an invisible attribute that carries the components Family type (ex: "CR", "TD", "M", "PB"; 8 characters maximum). Generally, the Family attribute definition's default value is the same as the default value for the component's TAG1 or TAG2 attribute. It is used as a check at the time child components are linked to a parent. On a Family mismatch, an alert dialog displays. A generic child device can be linked to any type of parent symbol if the child's Family attribute value is left blank. AutoCAD Electrical will fill it in on the fly with the parent's Family code when the link is made. The Family code aids AutoCAD Electrical in the naming of the block you are creating and also the manufacturer and part selection. Therefore the Family code assigned is important for you to define correctly. The following Family codes are already assigned within the AutoCAD Electrical software:

AM Ammeters 
AN Buzzers, horns, bells 
CB Circuit breakers 
C0 Connectors/pins 
CR Control relays 
DN Device networks 
DR Drives 
DS Disconnect switches 
EN Enclosures/hardware 
FM Frequency meters 
FU Fuses 
LR Latching relays 
LS Limit switches 
LT Lights, pilot lights 
MISC Miscellaneous 
MO Motors 
MS Motor starters/contactors 
NP Nameplates 
OL Overloads 
PB Push buttons 
PE Photo switches 
PLCIO Programmable logic controllers 
PM Power meters 
PS Pressure switches 
PW Power supplies 
PX Proximity switches 
RE Resistors 
SS Selector switches 
SU Surge suppressors 
SW Toggle switches 
TD Timer relays 
TRMS Terminal blocks 
TS Temperature switches 
VM Volt meters

Therefore you need to look at the types of components that they wish to have unique catalogue tables for. Existing tables entered in error have to be deleted by using Microsoft Access 2000 or more recent releases of Microsoft Access. Our recommendation would be to limit the Family code assigned (in the creation of the symbol > Symbol Builder) to 2 digits. As an example of the above, if a new relay was being created, a CR Family code would be assigned. However its component numbering system (TAG1, TAG2 attributes) could be completely different. When the symbol is saved to the library and inserted into a schematic, the manufacturer and parts database will automatically search on control relays (CR database table). 

Naming of intelligent symbol blocks 

The naming of the blocks that you create is paramount to the way that AutoCAD Electrical handles the intelligence of the symbol. AutoCAD Electrical depends on a specific naming convention to enable some of its automation features to work. Though not mandatory, you are urged to follow the naming convention outlined below if you create new AutoCAD Electrical-smart symbols for use with AutoCAD Electrical. This will allow your custom symbols to take full advantage of the AutoCAD Electrical features. This is the default naming convention for the majority of symbol types listed below. It is recommended that you search in the help fields for naming conventions, as there are unique methods of naming items such as connectors or terminals Schematic components such as relays, switches, pilot lights, and discrete motor control devices (but not PLC I/O symbols) follow this naming convention:

- 32-character block name maximum, first character is either "H" or "V" for horizontal or vertical wire insertion.
- The next two characters are reserved for Family type (for example, PB for push buttons, CR for control relays, LS for limit switches). A zero (0) as the second character of the Family type (for example, a 0 in the overall symbol name) means that the symbol does not trigger a wire number change through it (for example, T0 for terminals, W0 for cable markers, C0 for connectors).
- The fourth character is generally a 1 or a 2: 2 for child contacts and 1 for everything else (parent or standalone component).
- If the symbol is a contact, then the 5th character is a 1 for normally open, 2 for normally closed, 3 for changeover and 4 for other.

The remaining characters are not specified. They are used to keep names unique.


HCR1.dwg Control relay coil, horizontal rung insertion 
VCR1.dwg Control relay coil, vertical rung insertion 
HCR21.dwg Horizontal relay contact, N.O. 
HCR22.dwg Horizontal relay contact, N.C. 
HCR22T.dwg Horizontal relay contact, N.C., with in-line terminal numbers 
VPB11.dwg Vertical push button, parent contact, N.O. 
VPB21.dwg Vertical push button, child contact, N.O. 
HLS11.dwg Horizontal limit switch, parent, N.O. 
HLS11H.dwg Horizontal limit switch, parent, N.O. Held closed 
VLT1RP.dwg Vertical pilot light, red, press-to-test 
HW01.dwg Horizontal cable marker, no wire number change through it 

Therefore if we had created a relay which was a vertical item, then the naming convention would be VCR1_. As the 2nd and 3rd characters of the naming automatically follow the Family code assigned in the previous topic.

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