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Cable Design Software: 10 New Ways to Make Wiring and Harness Design Faster and Better

By Contributed Article | May 21, 2013

10 New Ways to Make Wiring and Harness Design Faster and Better

A new generation of electrical design tools is now being used by hundreds of OEM and harness manufacturing companies worldwide, from 10-employee companies to the biggest companies in the industry. With automation facilities that eliminate many of the most labor-intensive and error-prone tasks, these companies often experience payback within less than nine months, with reduced design cycle times, reduced rework costs and improved margins. Mentor Graphics has published a white paper on how they do it; click here to read the paper in its entirety.

The top 10 new ways to make wiring and harness design faster and better are:

Virtual Design: Test Before You Build

Does your initial prototype always work the first time with no electrical glitches? New generation tools provide parts and wires that are intelligent objects — they “know” how to interact with each other, providing a virtual simulation and test facility for checking wire and fuse ratings and to correct behavior. This can save valuable prototype testing time and eliminate costly errors.

Integrated Parts Library: No Mistakes on Part Selection

Have you ever changed a part number and discovered your connectors have the wrong number of pins when you get to prototype? New generation tools provide a structured library of intelligent parts that know how to interact with each other, eliminating the need for the designer to repetitively look up and transcribe the same definitions and parts for each new wiring design. Pin count, pin names, and electrical specifications are handled by the system, which means no more surprises.

Part Naming Validation: No More Checking for Accidental Duplicates

Have you ever created a wiring design with two connectors or two wires that have the same name? How much time do you spend avoiding these problems? They don’t occur with new generation tools that have auto-numbering/naming facilities and a variety of design checks that prevent problems right from the start.

Intelligent Cross-Referencing: Faster Design, No Errors

How much time do you spend checking cross-references on multi-sheet wiring designs? Have you ever had a nasty surprise at the prototype build stage? Or worse still, when testing? New generation tools can generate cross-referencing automatically, saving you time. And virtual electrical simulation adds further reassurance because it tests current flow along the wires between each sheet to perform complete system validation.

Automated Document Generation: Better Quality with Less Effort

How much time do you spend creating design documents such as BOMs, wire lists, and parts lists? Do you need different types of documents but don’t have the resources to create them? New generation tools can generate a wide variety of documentation at the touch of a button, providing accurate documentation specifically optimized for each reader and de-skilling their task of understanding the documentation, thus reducing the risk of downstream errors.

Wire Import from Spreadsheet: Faster Quotation Turnaround and Design Creation

What’s your quotation turnaround time? Ever make a mistake? Wire import from AutoCAD Electrical, customer-supplied spreadsheet data, or from an existing wiring diagram can reduce quotation time to less than an hour. Simply create the “stick” layout, import the wiring data, add protections, fixings, and connectors, and press the “go” button to generate the cost report.

Self-Configuring Connectors Select Their Terminals, Plugs, and Seals

Ever quoted and won an unbuildable harness? Customers may specify the connectors and wires, but they are not always compatible when you start selecting terminals and sealing components. This is a mind-numbing task, repeated hundreds of times: Make a mistake and it won’t be the customer who pays. New-generation harness tools automate this task — you won’t make avoidable errors, and you can cut your margins yet still be more profitable.

Instant Generation of BOMs, NC and Tester Files, and Manufacturing Reports

Spending too long creating documentation? Are bottlenecks stopping you from doing more business? New-generation harness designers can generate a BOM instantly from the diagram; a task that typically takes one or two days is achieved in a few seconds. This is even more valuable when a minor change is made; again the updated BOM is produced in seconds. Compare this with the traditional approach that demands another day’s work. For every harness engineer, this capability alone is sufficient to generate a rapid ROI.

Embedded Engineering Intelligence Calculates Wire Lengths, Bundle Size, Tape Lengths

Would you like to manufacture straight from design data without spending time on prototype builds? New-generation harness tools can calculate wire length based on many factors, including bundle lengths, connector/terminal dimensions, connector feed direction (e.g., straight, 90-left, 90-right, etc.), desired slack, and more. Bundle diameters are calculated directly from the wire size data, allowing exact tape lengths to be calculated for spiral wraps. Precise information gives you a better cost estimate before quotation or build and allows companies to take the guesstimation away from the prototype build phase.

Integrated Parts Library Speeds Design, Reduces Errors, Cuts Inventory

Companies need to manage inventory, and they do this by using the right component when there is a choice and by not selecting a completely new part when there is an equivalent part that has been previously used. New-generation harness tools provide a structured library of intelligent parts that know how to interact with each other: wire/terminal/connector/seal. These part definitions also eliminate the need for the designer to repetitively look up and transcribe the same definitions and parts for each new harness project.

A White Paper from Mentor Graphics

Visit Mentor Graphics online.

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