Tech Tip: Electromechanical Link Setup – Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical

4 April 2024Collaboration, Electrical, Mechanicalautocad electrical, Collaboration tools, communication, electromechanical, Inventor

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The Autodesk Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical Electromechanical Link option allows you to link the 3D mechanical layout with the schematic detail drawings, enabling easier collaboration between mechanical and electrical teams. When changes are made in either software, settings allow for updates when a save is performed or at defined intervals.

The Electromechanical Link can be initially created from either software and allows either to drive when syncing is initiated, so if you are 3D focused, Inventor would be the software to drive this action. The file extension created is .EMX and can be any name you want it to be that defines what is being linked.


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This article will explain the steps for creating an Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical Electromechanical Link. The linking file can be created from either Inventor or AutoCAD. Deciding which to start with will depend on who is creating it. If the user is more familiar with Inventor, then starting the Electromechanical Link Setup tool from the Electromechanical tab on the Inventor ribbon would be a good place to start. There is also an Electromechanical tab on the AutoCAD Electrical ribbon that has an Electromechanical Link Setup tool on it. The dialog boxes in each do look different, but they do the same thing.

When starting from Inventor, the dialog box allows you to create a new .emx file or link to an existing .emx file. The Electromechanical Link Setup tool is started from a saved Inventor assembly file. Once the link is established in both Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical, the AutoCAD Electrical project file will be displayed in the dialog box.

The assembly file the Electromechanical Link was created in will be displayed in the “Linked Inventor Assemblies” area of the dialog box. The Inventor project file the assembly file is being opened from will be added to the “Inventor Project” area of the dialog box. At the bottom of the dialog box is an option to identify the software that has preference, if there is a linking conflict between both products. If you are more of an AutoCAD Electrical user, then select AutoCAD Electrical to be the software to drive the update in Inventor. Otherwise, pick Inventor to be the “Link Conflict Resolution Preference” software.

When creating a new linking file and selecting the option to “Create an electromechanical file,” a dialog box will be displayed allowing you to add the new name and identify the folder where the AutoCAD Electrical project is located. If you are using Autodesk Vault this is an easy decision, since you will identify the vault workspace your company has set up for you. However, this folder can be in a different location if you are not using Autodesk Vault. Here is an example after selecting the “Create an electromechanical file” option:

electromechanical AutoCAD Electrical, Autodesk Inventor

After clicking the Create button, the Electromechanical Link dialog box updates to show all areas filled in except the “Linked AutoCAD Electrical Project.”

electromechanical, AutoCAD Electrical, Autodesk Inventor

In this example, the process was started in the Inventor software, so it doesn’t know what the AutoCAD Electrical project is yet. Also, the “Resolve Conflict Resolution Preference” option defaulted to AutoCAD Electrical. This should be changed to Autodesk Inventor before selecting the Close button if you plan on Inventor being the main syncing software. This option can be changed at any time in the future. Next, the link will be established in AutoCAD Electrical; when you come back to this dialog box the “Linked AutoCAD Electrical Project” will be filled in.

In AutoCAD Electrical, the Electromechanical Link Setup tool is started from the Electromechanical tab on the ribbon, just as it was in Inventor. This link will be created based on the active project, which is the first project listed in the project manager at the top and is in bold. After starting the Electromechanical Link Setup tool, you are presented with the “Electromechanical Link Setup” dialog box, and even though it looks different from Inventor’s version, it does the same thing. You have a Create and Link option just like Inventor. Here is what the dialog box looks like:

electromechanical AutoCAD Electrical, Autodesk Inventor

Since the Electromechanical Link file (.emx) was created in Inventor, you would click the Link tool. A Windows Explorer type dialog box opens, allowing you to navigate to where the .emx file was saved. Selecting the file that was created earlier, the dialog box would look like this after selecting the file:

electromechanical AutoCAD Electrical, Autodesk Inventor

 

Although very similar to the Inventor dialog box shown earlier when creating the .emx file, notice all the information has been filled in since it has been created and identified. At the bottom of this dialog box there is an option to unlink the project. This can be useful if you need to make changes. Clicking the “Unlink Project” tool will take you back to the original dialog, where you can create new or link to an existing .emx file.

Now, going back to Inventor and clicking on the Electromechanical Link Setup tool on the Electromechanical tab, all the information has been filled in. Notice the AutoCAD Electrical project information has been filled in since it was linked using the tool within AutoCAD Electrical.

electromechanical AutoCAD Electrical, Autodesk Inventor

To unlink the .emx file from within Inventor, you would select the tool at top to the right, which was originally named “Link to an electromechanical file.” When you hover over the tool now it will say “Unlink from the electromechanical file.”

electromechanical AutoCAD Electrical, Autodesk Inventor

If you do click this tool to unlink the .emx, you will get a confirmation dialog box asking if you want to do this:

electromechanical AutoCAD Electrical, Autodesk Inventor

Clicking Yes will clear the entries in the Electromechanical Link Setup dialog and allow you start over to create a new .emx file or browse to an existing file.

Even though the Electromechanical Link Setup dialog boxes look different in Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical, they have the same actions and workflows to set up and link both products together. Making changes is easy in either product. So if the .emx file name needs to change or be linked to different projects, it can be performed in either product.

One advantage of linking Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical: it allows you to see the Inventor components that represent the AutoCAD Electrical schematic symbols and the bill of materials associated with each. This allows the mechanical and electrical teams to stay connected by viewing the information through their products, not having to constantly ask verbally.


Check out other Tech Tips on AutoCAD Electrical by visiting the Applied Software, GRAITEC Group blog. Here are a couple to get you started: The ABCs of Choosing AutoCAD Electrical; AutoCAD Electrical Batch Plotting.


 

 

 

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