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[ Spotlight: Designgenie ]


and categorised already embedded into the software. Further to this, the working group agreed


the need for busbar systems and UK cable manufacturers and cable types to be added. The UK is unique within Europe for making extensive use of BS5467 cable (single/steel wire armoured), including shaped conductors (SWA cable). The added complication of using an internal circuit protective conductor (CPC), armouring, external CPC or a combination, provided much discussion, and is now graphically displayed within the software to avoid any misunderstanding about the earth path CPC provided by the design. Each of these initiatives spawned its own series


of electrical tests and proving schedules, before the ECA could ensure that the combination of protective device, cable, installation method and environmental conditions all gave the correct calculated figure within the design. Many months of calculations ensued, during which regulation books were consulted, along with specialised calculation methods from cable manufacturers for SWA cable, before arriving at a figure which Designgenie had provided within seconds!


Market research In tandem with this, the ECA commercial team conducted a market survey. It also asked members what they wanted from an electrical design package, what they used at present, and what would be their reasons for considering a move to a new program, with all of the potential training issues this may involve. We were surprised by the results of the survey


in that, although the technical content of many of the commercial packages available was satisfactory, it was the contractual issues, high costs of purchase, maintenance fees and costs for technical support which most of our members had issues with. Updates were also noted as a continuous source of irritation, as these were numerous and costly. Backwards compatibility and changes of operating system, from XP to Vista and then to Windows 7, had also caused members concerns and added expense. Some contractors complained that archived certificates and designs had been lost when updates had been implemented. So it seemed to us that it was the total cost of ownership of design software that was the cause of the majority of problems. To ensure that members continued to get


best value from the ECA, it was decided that the Designgenie product would come with free updates, maintenance and technical assistance included for the first year – so that the ECA offering was transparent and clear.


Free training Moving to a new design software system is not an insignificant change for any company, so to further


alleviate the burden of training staff, the ECA took it upon itself to organise a free one-day training course with every package sold. This would allow users to make the move to Designgenie, without any hidden costs, secure in the knowledge that technical assistance and training would be available free of charge


Instantaneous carbon footprinting The Designgenie concept was to provide a package that really helped the UK electrical design engineer ultimately to become a better designer, so at each modification to the design, the programme instantly recalculates the impact of the modification and compares it to BS7671:2008, immediately alerting the designer to any issues. This can particularly assist the designer in terms of determining the carbon footprint for the installation, as it actually calculates the cable losses over the length of each cable within the installation. This allows the design engineer to fine-tune the project, to minimise cable losses by altering the cable configuration while still fully meeting the requirements of BS7671:2008 – potentially, also reducing the whole lifetime operating cost of the as-fitted installation.


Try before you buy Designgenie is exclusively available to ECA members and ELECSA registrants for an introductory period, and generous discounts are available for both groups. This discount can be up to £400 off the recommended price of £999 (plus VAT). The full program is supplied on a USB


memory stick and can be purchased in the ECA and ELECSA online shops or by phoning 0845


873 8799. Alternatively, a ‘try before you buy’ trial version of the Designgenie package can be purchased, also on a USB memory stick, for £20 (plus VAT). The cost of this will be deducted from the full purchase price should you wish to buy and register the program. The USB memory stick includes the following: n The Designgenie program; n Read me first guide (installation support telephone number); n Quick start guide; n Full user manual; and n Hot key list. The software is fully functional, with the


exception of being able to print from the program. The software will run for 45 days before you have to activate the full version. If you wish to purchase the program and enable the printing facility, simply contact us on the dedicated care line number: 0845 873 8798, quoting your membership or registration number to obtain the best discount. We will then send over an activation key code, which should get you up and running instantly without the need for any time-consuming downloads. More information is available in some documents contained within the USB stick. The Designgenie package offers the following


after the full program has been purchased: n A free one-day training programme on how to


get the best from the software and to demonstrate Designgenie’s unique features; and n Registration for all maintenance and


updates free of charge for the first 12 months of ownership. If you wish to see more about the features of the program, an online demonstration is available at www.learninglounge.com/designgenie


September 2011 ECA Today 23


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