Chad Jackson

Not long ago, Siemens PLM Software and Mentor Graphics announced integrations between NX, their Mechanical CAD application, Capital, their harness design ECAD application, and Xpedition, their board design ECAD application. There’s an infrequently cited capability there called interactive highlighting or cross-probing. In this video, Chad Jackson provides an overview of what it is and why it is important.

Cross-Probing with NX, Capital, and Xpedition

NX, Capital, and Xpedition. Today we’re talking about those three products from Siemens and Mentor and how they can work together.

Last year, Siemens announced a special integration between these three applications: NX to Xpedition and NX to Capital. NX is the mechanical CAD solution or suite from Siemens PLM. Xpedition is the board systems design suite for Mentor. Capital is the electrical system, which is a harness and cabling suite from Mentor as well.

With this new mode of connection, NX can connect to Capital and NX can connect to Xpedition and share information back and forth, which means synchronization of board layouts and information for electrical systems. This helps identify issues earlier in development. However, today we are talking about the cross probing functionality that works between those.

With the applications connected, when selecting a wire in Capital, the corresponding routed cable through your 3D assembly in NX highlights. Likewise, if you select a component within a board layout in Xpedition that component will highlight in the 3D assembly of the board in NX.

Electrical engineers and mechanical engineers sometimes have conflicting constraints. This might be around weight, it might be around space, it might be around cooling. It might be how you’re going to route wires through the 3D assembly because there are many emerging regulations that control where and how you can route things within products now, especially in aerospace.

What this new function lets you do is allow a mechanical engineer can jump into NX and an electrical engineer can jump into Capital if it’s a routed system or Xpedition if it’s a board system. Electrical engineers could ask “Well did you mean this one,” and click on a part in their model, which will highlight in NX. At the same time, the mechanical engineer can reply, “Actually no, I meant this one over here,” and select a different part that highlights in Capital or Xpedition.

You can iterate back and forth between the mechanical and electrical engineers and figure out what’s the best solution for those conflicting constraints. This is a fairly new development in the world of engineering, and there isn’t another solution out there like this.

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