What is Routed Systems Design (RSD)?

A 3D x-ray CAD model of a car


Routed Systems Design (RSD) software is used to create and modify geometry, both 2D and 3D, in order to design, assess and document routed systems. This includes both fluids systems such as piping, pneumatics and hydraulics, air handing systems such as HVAC as well as electrical interconnect systems such as cable and wire harnesses.


In the development process, RSD software can be used to:

  • Explore different iterations of a routed system, either abstractly as a diagram or in full detail as a layout or 3D assembly. Users can build out different alternatives and options, comparing them to each other.
  • Generate production documentation, which is released to manufacturing as a means to fabricate the routed system in the final product.

Capabilities Provided

RSD software provides some combination of the following capabilities.

  • Diagramming capabilities provide the ability to select and connect mechanical or electrical hardware on a schematic, allowing designers and engineers to abstractly define and mockup the function of the routed system.
    • These capabilities allow designers and engineers to select components from a company-standardized or online library.
  • Routing capabilities provide a means to dimensionally place components and connect them in a 3D assembly. Pneumatic and hydraulic systems are connected with piping. Air handling systems are connected with duct. Electrical interconnect systems are connected with wires and cable harnesses.
    • Integration capabilities are key, as the interconnect information about connections, which include from-to data, is carried over from the schematic to the 3D assembly.
    • Automation capabilities, which automatically routes connections between hardware based on interconnect information, is available. This can be done initially and then customized.
  • Collaboration capabilities deliver tools to capture and coordinate feedback between individuals on a team developing the routed system.
    • Viewing capabilities provide the ability to visualize the design of the routed system. This is important for non-technical roles that do not have the skills or knowledge to use the RSD software directly.
    • Markup capabilities allow individuals to capture their feedback in the context of the design of the routed system.
  • Documentation and Drawing capabilities offer a way to create the deliverables needed to manufacture routed systems. This often includes from-to connection information.

In addition to these general capabilities, RSD software used to design and route electrical interconnect systems can include:

  • Panel Design provides capabilities to diagram and lay out the switches and other electrical hardware components for control systems.
  • Board Layout provides capabilities to flatten out interconnect systems and notate terminations with electrical hardware components. This deliverable is often used in the manufacturing environment as a means to provide instruction for fabrication.

Related Technology Enablers

RSD software can produce a number of different deliverables, which can be managed by Product Data Management (PDM) software.

Additionally, RSD software often uses 3D models created by Mechanical Computer Aided Design (MCAD) software for routing the systems through the design.

Lastly, the 3D assembly with the routed system can be utilized by either Mechanical Computer Aided Engineering (MCAE) software or Electrical Computer Aided Engineering (ECAE) software for simulation and analysis.

Technology Providers

Providers of RSD software include:

  • Autodesk offers Routed Systems Design in Inventor
  • Dassault Systèmes offers Systems Routing 1 (SRT) with CATIA and SolidWorks Electrical.
  • Mentor Graphics offers Capital and VeSys products
  • PTC offers Creo Schematics and Creo Elements Routed System Designer
  • Siemens PLM offers Mechanical Routed Systems Design in NX and XpresRoute in Solid Edge
  • Zuken offers their E3.series suite of software