Based on your feedback we have been busy creating and enhancing new shapes and templates for the upcoming SI 2015 release.

New Location and System Shapes

I think the most useful group of shapes will be the new Location and System shapes. The new Location/System shapes use Visio container technology (only Visio 2010 and above) to allow the user to easily set location and system for any object within the boundaries of the shape. It will also let you clone the objects and the spatial relationship between the objects within the container shape.

Check out the hotel example below. For the most part, each room is the same as all the other rooms. Instead of having to create and arrange the floor plan icons for each room a designer could lay out a single room as needed and just Ctrl + drag just the Location/System container into another room. On drop you would get a prompt for a new location name and if SI 2015 is in Clone mode, then you would get all new products attached to the pre-assigned location and keep all the spatial relationships.

In the example below, I created a simple configuration with a beacon/sounder above the door, a data/phone jack on the wall, and a smoke detector in the middle of Unit 101. The next unit, 105 is the same layout as 101. To clone this, all I have to do is Ctrl + drag the location 101 container/shape over to the 105 room and assign it a new location. All the shapes within the Unit 101 container are cloned along with it. As you can see, I now have new Component ID’s in the new location with just a single step. The more rooms you have in a project that are the same, the more useful this shape gets. This is a single step operation. Previously you would have to re-arrange each component in the new room.

Enhanced Smart Callout Shape

The previous Smart Callout shape was not as smart as it could be. It would only report on what properties were loaded into the shape when it was first dropped on the page. Since it is not a good idea to load all the fields that we track in the product database into the shape all the time, we came up with a process that allows the user to choose what properties they want to see. Then we specifically load those properties so the Smart Callout shape can display them. Very useful for IP addresses, BTU’s and so on.

Enhanced Schematic Shape

We added the ability in I/O Studio that will allow the user to insert a blank port into the schematic shape so that it will be easier to break out groups of terminals. We also added the Show/Hide label function to go along with the existing Show/Hide terminal and signal function. Additionally, the user can now Show/Hide the center line as well as move the Component ID and Location text.

New DIN Panel and DIN Component Shapes

DIN panels and components are very popular in Europe and are gaining popularity in the US. They allow the user to solidly mount components in a space-saving, easy to install/service environment. DIN panels come in standalone enclosures, rack mounted enclosures, and bare DIN rails. DIN panels and enclosures can also accommodate multiple DIN rails within the enclosure. We created a single shape that can respond to each of these mounting scenarios.

Each DIN rail shape within the DIN enclosure has connection points along the middle that correspond to the connection point on the DIN Component shape so that the components easily snap into the rail.

Enhanced Line Image Shape

In the previous versions of our software, we used the same thumbnail image of products that we generated for reports as well as the image for the Line Image shape. The problem was that while the thumbnails looked OK in the reports, the resolution was not very good when we used this same image in the Line Image shape. To address this issue we added a new function in the product database called Large Image. If this function is enabled then SI 2015 will refactor any large image into a thumbnail for the reports and a larger image for the Line Diagram page.

In the example below you can clearly see the difference between the images. The top unit was generated with the thumbnail image and the bottom unit was generated by the new large image process. While the Visio file size will grow because of the larger image file, we built in processes that limit the pixel count to a maximum of 512 in any direction. We found that this size was the best compromise between file size and picture quality.




Enhanced Floor Plan Symbols

We unified all of the options for almost all of the floor plan symbols. For the most part all of the symbols share a common right click and shape data UI.



Enhanced Title Block Shape

The new title block shape comes pre-loaded on the Title Page Background page in all of the Visio template files we will ship with SI 2015. This shape gives the user much more control of the placement of the individual components that make up the shape. In addition, the user can turn on/off specific data fields, and logo placement is now automated as part of the setup process.