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WSCAD offers its electrical CAD solution ELECTRIX in a subscription model. Image: WSCAD

Multi-discipline planning software for electrical engineering projects

Every stage of the electrical design process – from initial schematics, through to cabinet design and production data – must be fully co-ordinated. This is the only way to avoid costly interruptions in the engineering workflow. To achieve this, electrical designers need adaptable, powerful electrical CAD software.

However, anyone looking to bring their engineering team up to speed by purchasing professional electrical CAD software outright may face initial costs in the thousands of pounds. This high investment cost may not be suitable for all businesses, particularly those with limited cash flow. To ensure that its UK customers have access to all of the functions and capabilities they require, WSCAD offers its electrical CAD software through a low-cost subscription.

Reducing capital expenditure

Small companies specialising in mechanical engineering, plant design, building automation and installation technology operate in a highly fragmented market. The individual demands on an electrical CAD workstation will depend on the industry/sector, order and engineering requirements. That is why engineering companies need modern, adaptable electrical CAD solutions to ensure a smooth planning and design process. Many companies are trying to keep up with competitors on limited budgets, which is why financing alternatives, such as software subscriptions, which preserve liquidity are welcomed.

The main disadvantage of purchasing a software licence – for the configuration currently required and with a maintenance contract – is the higher initial investment, because the invoice amount is typically payable in full immediately. This is considered as an acquisition with tax depreciation periods spread out over years. On the other hand, subscriptions for the same software can be 70% less than the initial purchase cost, with the full amount immediately included in operating profit as an operating expense, reducing tax. The cash flow and pre-tax profit advantages offered by software subscriptions are welcomed by many companies.

“We believe that the benefits of our subscription model for our new electrical CAD software are obvious”, says Axel Zein, CEO of WSCAD GmbH. “WSCAD contracts are available for one year or three years and can be renewed automatically. Services and software updates are specifically linked to the maintenance contract. Follow-up products are not included with purchased licences, whereas they are included with rental licences. As part of the subscription, your software stays up to date with the latest features.”

Subscriptions with no restrictions

Traditionally, software subscriptions have been considered as disadvantaged by time limits. However, according to WSCAD, the subscription is more cost effective if the period of use is less than seven years.

At WSCAD, rental licences provide users with the full functionality of the chosen software environment. That includes access to the wscaduniverse.com database of parts from more than 370 manufacturers, interfaces with the leading ERP and PLM systems and access to the configuration and selection tools of other automation suppliers. As users are provided with the latest products throughout the term of their licence, subscribers will not have to pay if a version update is created. New updates, upgrades and follow-up products are available immediately and included in the subscription, keeping costs predictable and stable.

Additional services free of charge

Other advantages of WSCAD subscription software include temporary additional licences so that if an electrical planner or design engineer requires more software functions for a particular order, or if unexpected order peaks occur, there will be no extra charges during the subscription period. The additional licence is provided for four weeks free of charge on a one-time basis every year. Licences or add-ons can also be added to a WSCAD rental licence at any time by linking them to the term of the main licence. The subscription also includes online training.

Keeping documentation safe

There is a strong trend towards software subscription, thanks to the lower initial investment, capital commitment costs and greater freedom for business planning that annual rental brings. However, control cabinet manufacturers and engineering service-providers have further issues to consider. What happens to all the planning and documentation at the end of the rental period as cabinets, control systems and electrical installations can last for decades?

That’s not a problem with WSCAD subscriptions. All schematics and project data are retained at the end of the software rental period and can be stored as PDF files. Old schematics and documents can be processed later, either by entering into a new rental contract to extend the period of use of the electrical CAD software, or by using other applications to edit the stored PDF files.

Cost benefit for subscribers

While many would assume that subscription costs would quickly exceed the original purchase price, WSCAD calculates the break-even point for rental versus purchased software to be seven years. This is significantly longer than the three years specified by many manufacturers, and it is a timeframe in which a follow-up product can certainly be expected to come out.

Project teams in engineering departments often work with large volumes of data over long periods of time – requiring complete control over costs and data processing. Each individual project will have unique requirements in terms of productive software solutions, which is why flexible alternatives to the traditional purchasing of software are so beneficial.

Zein concludes: “As far as WSCAD software is concerned, the subscription offers additional services and the ability to adjust your licence annually. Anyone approaching the decision from a business perspective, benefits from our subscription model, as for the first six years, renting is the more favourable alternative with less initial outlay. Unlike purchasing, when you rent, you can immediately deduct the amount you pay as an operating expense, increasing your pre-tax profit.”

Professional electrical CAD software

WSCAD software is a modular and scalable engineering platform for the entire electrical engineering planning and design sector:

Wide and well-structured range of functions on a single platform with a central database for all electrical tasks in the fields of building automation, electrical installation, cabinet engineering, electrical engineering, piping & instrumentation diagrams, and fluid engineering

Includes a high-performance design engine (Editor) with built-in support for CAD standard formats DXF and DWG

Uses modern technologies such as augmented reality (AR) apps, multi-threading and automation

Provides access to the wscaduniverse.com database containing 1.4 million parts from more than 370 manufacturers

Has numerous interfaces to applications from other automation suppliers, PLM and ERP systems, and production, as well as providing access to the product configuration tools of leading manufacturer

Image 1: WSCAD offers its electrical CAD solution ELECTRIX in a subscription model

Image 2: Dr Axel Zein, Managing Director of WSCAD in Bergkirchen, explains what is important when buying versus renting

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