Cloudis Ltd, the cable-management software experts based in the UK, have released an API which enables CAD and other office-systems to interface to their Configuration Managed Project Integrated Cabling (CMPIC) application.

CMPIC is used for managing cables from the design stage of a project through to installation and commissioning. Cloudis’ software is used by some of the world’s largest companies and has been around for ten years.

The API has been developed to simplify the task of interfacing CAD and other systems to Oracle-based CMPIC. Although CMPIC as a database application can be used as a standalone product for managing cables, including creation of a nodal network, many companies use their CAD system to create the nodal network or raceways.

The API uses a web service to create the link between CMPIC and the third-party application. This means that the two applications remain separate but can use the web to create the link when required.

The nodal network itself can be created as lines, blocks or "real" electrical objects such as ladders, hangers or trays. Typically, the CAD system provides CMPIC with the length and dimensions of the nodal network, and CMPIC is used to manage the cables which run along the network. If attributes about the nodal network (such as the type of tray), are not held in the CAD system, they can be held in the CMPIC libraries.

When working in conjunction with CAD, CMPIC maintains its full range of functions: for example, it invokes controls which prevent the CAD engineer changing the nodal network unless certain rules have been followed. This can save time and expensive rework by ensuring in real time that cables which have already been approved or installed are not compromised.

Using the API, the designer is able to route cables from within the CAD model, see those routes, interrogate the nodal network to see which cables run where, derive reports, etc. The API can also be used to look for disconnects in the nodal network and report on these. The engineer can then decide whether these disconnects are errors or not.

The API can also be used to create two-way interfaces to other office applications such as Microsoft Visio. This then enables the automatic creation of cable-connection diagrams in Visio drawn directly from the CMPIC database.

Furthermore, information on cables, devices and terminations held in Microsoft Excel can be imported to CMPIC via the API, which checks the data for accuracy and consistency against data already in the database.

Ian Darbyshire, Technical Director at Cloudis, says of the new developments:

"We have customers who use CMPIC as a standalone application for cable management. However, for those companies who define their nodal networks in CAD the API simplifies the task of using this data in conjunction with CMPIC.

"At Cloudis, we specialise in cable-management software, and as such offer functions which are not typically available in a CAD application. We therefore believe that through our API companies can derive major benefits from using CMPIC together with CAD, and get the best of both systems.

"The API can also be valuable when used in conjunction with other office systems such as Microsoft Visio. Using the API means that connection diagrams, when produced, always reflect the current state of cables and devices in the database. This ensures consistency between printed material and the data behind."