SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic – PLC Card Template Uncloaked

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Tech Tip

Written by: Cheri Guntzviller, Electrical Application Specialist

Have you tried the using the SOLIDWORKS Schematic automatically-generated PLC drawings in your project? These symbols for the PLC are automatically generated with a template. Are you ok with these symbols, but would like a few things changed – like instead of having all the attributes vertically placed, would you like them rotated to a horizontal view?

Automatically Generated PLC drawings

These symbols are very generic, but they do work with whichever PLC you are using. The template uses the manufacturer’s circuits to determine which card orientation is used (card place on the left or right for outputs and inputs respectively). These are set up inside of the PLC Template. This information may or may not have been passed on to you during your Schematic class. There are a couple of items that may help you when using this type of template to automatically generate your PLC drawings.

Firstly, it is always safer to use a copy of the original template. It is a nice fall back when things go awry. I always make a copy of the template to then use in the project for testing first.

Simply highlight the template in the PLC DRAWING Configuration, under PROJECT > Configurations > PLC Drawing. Once the template is highlighted, select the DUPLICATE option at the top of the Dialog box. You can then rename and change the description for your new template.

PLC drawing configuration management in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

Your new template for modifying will now be in the drop down list. If you would like to make this template available for all users on your connected network that are using SOLIDWORKS Schematic, then keep the template in the Application configurations. If you only want it available for this specific project while you are editing it, then move it to the Project configurations side of the dialog box.

Go ahead and open the template to edit it, by selecting PROPERTIES with the configuration highlighted. This will take you directly into the editor mode. There is a lot that can be changed here but I am going to show you how to edit these hidden attributes for this template.

First of all, we need to find the symbols that are being used for this template for the attributes. You can find these names, under the CIRCUITS tab. When selecting a specific type of circuit, you will find a selected set of symbols for the attributes. The names are shown below. You will want to go to your Symbols library and duplicate these symbols. They should be renamed to your liking, but please make a duplicate. Do not change the original.

Editing a PLC template in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

You can now open these new symbols in your Symbols Manager and edit them by rotating the text. Make sure to also change the justification for these attributes so that they line up with the orientation of the card (left or right). Once you have made your adjustments, you will need to get back in to your PLC drawing configuration manager for the PLC drawing template you are modifying.
Go back to the CIRCUITS tab, select each of the different circuit types. Make sure that the direction (selection below the circuit type) is showing correctly in the graphics area (right side of dialog box) for circuit type based on inputs – right, outputs – left, or default for all others. Secondly, in each of the circuits that are using the Symbols in Electrical Schematicattribute symbol as shown, select the symbol Delete option below the symbol name (shown below) to remove the association to this circuit. Then select your newly made symbol and Press the Select option.

Do this through the entire set of circuit types for both the left and right symbols. Once complete you are almost done.

There is one other area that still needs to be changed. You still need to make the changes that are needed under the Connection Point tab as well.

Making Changes to the PLC Template

You will need to make a copy of these two symbols in your Symbols Manager as well, orientating to horizontal and changing the justification, like you did the other attributes. You will then need to go through the same process of deleting and associating your new symbols to these two selections.

Once you are complete, your new template will be able to generate PLC symbols that look like this…

You new PLC template in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

Make sure to select your new template as the default template or you might not see your changes!

Happy Engineering!