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Manufacturer-Approved Content: What It Is, and Why You Need It in Your Electrical Calculation Software

ProDesign screenshot showing the manufacturer approved content

If you've ever had to maintain your own electrical product information database or relied on a shelf full of files and catalogues for electrical product information, you already know just how quickly the latest models and systems can become obsolete.

Even when components and systems aren't discontinued or replaced by newer technology or products, changes to physical size, capacity, or other essential product information might occur before you get the latest manufacturer electrical data.

Then there's the regional aspect. Many electrical equipment manufacturers are multinational organisations, and not every product they supply is available in every region they operate in. This means that even when you’re using electrical calculation software to create electrical systems, there’s still a big amount of work to be done verifying that every component you select is still in use, still has the same specifications, and will still be available when your project is underway. It’s a huge job before you can even start working on the design.

Let's take a closer look at how manufacturer-approved content could change that.

What Is Manufacturer-Approved Content in Electrical Calculation Software?

The first thing we must understand about manufacturer-approved electrical calculation software content is what it is.

Different types of electrical design and calculation software, whether you’re talking about ProDesign, Stabicad, or something else, have different systems for handling product and component data.

Some have entirely hands-on systems that require you to enter products and components for each design manually. Others might use a database system that still requires your team to create and maintain a digital catalogue for use in your designs.

Manufacturer-approved content is a hands-off alternative to those kinds of systems. Instead of relying on your team to create and maintain a library of component and product data, the system pulls from a database, maintained by Trimble, using manufacturer-approved data.

So, it would be safe to say that manufacturer-approved content is the most up-to-date and accurate product information library you can have in your electrical calculation software.

Why Does Up-Date Manufacturer-Approved Content Matter?

Of course, having manufacturer-approved data maintained by Trimble is highly valuable because it saves your team from spending time and energy on this never-ending task. However, the benefit of up-to-date manufacturer-approved content goes beyond the man-hours your team will save managing your electrical components library.

Specifying an obsolete component on any project can have serious cost implications. If the replacement has different operating characteristics, it could have a far-reaching effect on many other parts of your design.

Not to mention that if your electrical model makes it onto site before the problem is identified, it could cause on-site delays. At the same time, your team works with contractors and other stakeholders to develop the solution rather than spending time focusing on other tasks.

Using manufacturer-approved electrical data directly from the source means your team is always working with the most up-to-date and accurate list of items, so you can avoid specifying pitfalls completely.

When the data in question is cross-platform compatible, it also means that multiple different teams using various different systems all have access to the same accurate, up-to-date, regional product information at the same time.

How Does Manufacturer-Approved Electrical Data Work in Electrical Calculation Software?

Creating electrical design and calculation software that incorporates a manufacturer's electrical data library, like ProDesign, is the first step in integrating this kind of manufacturer-approved information in any design software, but there is a little more to it than that.

The second key element is creating partnerships with the manufacturers, and then someone still needs to keep the information up to date.

Trimble handles all of that seamlessly. Our experts adeptly manage the relationship between manufacturers, ensuring the software's content remains accurate and approved. We diligently update information and make necessary changes. Plus, we're always on the lookout for new manufacturers to incorporate. If users need content from a manufacturer not yet available, they can simply request it, and we'll strive to source it for them.

How Can You Use Manufacturer-approved Electrical Data In Electrical Calculation Software?

By integrating manufacturer-approved data directly into electrical calculation tools like ProDesign, Trimble has solved several of the biggest problems with the electrical calculation and design process.

First, when using ProDesign, electrical design teams can run calculations directly in their software environment without needing separate spreadsheets or drawing boards, as well as find the latest manufacturer-approved data for protective devices, cables, and busbars – directly within the software. Not only does this speed up the design process, but it eliminates the accuracy problems related to manual cross-platform data transfer.

If you’re working in Revit, you can also reap the benefits of using the manufacturer-approved content in ProDesign via Stabicad for Revit (ProDesign is fully integrated within Stabicad's electrical offering).

Integrum Power Engineering spoke about the value of manufacturer-approved content when using ProDesign - “The verified manufacturer-specific content is a really useful advantage of ProDesign. Rather than having to manually seek out the specifications or datasheets from the manufacturer, all the information is readily available within the software and is regularly maintained and updated." Read more about their experience with ProDesign.

Software Innovation Solves Multiple Problems

Some people say you can do things fast or well. But the truth is when you build innovative solutions like always up-to-date digital manufacturers' databases into electrical calculation software, you can do both.

The electrical design process doesn’t have to be a patchwork of analogue and digital spreadsheets and brochures. Trimble works to bring it all onto one screen.