On the Edge: Solid Edge Wire Harness Design

11 Jan, 2006 By: Russell Brook Cadalyst

Integrated wire harness design allows electrical and mechanical design engineers to collaborate on a digital mock-up.

Solid Edge has a dedicated process-driven environment for creating, routing and organizing wires and cables, and then gathering them into bundles within a Solid Edge assembly. The Wire Harness Design feature allows electrical and mechanical design teams to collaborate on designs to create complete and accurate digital mock-ups containing both mechanical and electrical components including wiring and cables, and removing the need for expensive physical prototypes (figure 1).

Figure 1. Both electrical and mechanical design engineers can collaborate and create complete digital mock-ups of wire harnesses.

Design violations -- such as exceeding physical bundle size or a bend radius that is too tightly routed -- are constantly monitored as the harness is designed; live feedback displays any problems for rectification. Cable and wire cut length and attributes (allowing for a slack percentage and wire stripping) are captured during the harness design process. Designers can export files that include these mechanical attributes to generate harness designs that are ready for manufacturing.

If you do not use an eCAD (electrical CAD) system, the Harness Design application provides tools to manually create a 3D wiring model. This short exercise covers the manual creation of steps for wires. For a more in-depth look at creating cables and bundles, select What's New in V18 under the Help menu and choose the Wire Harness tutorial.

Open the assembly named WIRING CABINATE.ASM in the Solid Edge V18/Training/Wiring Harness folder. Be sure to activate all parts.

The Harness Design environment is located on the menu bar under Applications (figure 2).

Figure 2. Select Harness Design under the Applications menu.

The Wire command allows you to create a single path using keypoint curve behavior and then apply attributes to establish the path as a wire in one step (figure 3). The Wire command allows for critical termination information and produces accurate wire lengths.

Figure 3. The Wire command.

The first step in creating a wire is to define the path. You can either create a path for the wire or use an existing path (figure 4).

Figure 4. Choose to create a new path (A) or use an existing path (B).

When creating a path, you have several options available: Activate Part, Circular Cutout Locate, Keypoint Locate and Relative/Absolute Position (figure 5).

Figure 5. The buttons for (A) Activate Part, (B) Circular Cutout Locate, (C) Keypoint Locate and (D) Relative/Absolute Position commands.

Create a path between the blue fuse to the gray terminal through the gray connection cylinder (figure 6).

Figure 6. Create a path between the blue fuse (A) to the gray terminal (B) through the gray connection cylinder (C).

Begin defining the first connection by selecting the circular cutout (figure 7). When using the Circular Cutout Locate option, note that selecting either side of the cylinder can change the direction of the path.


Figure 7. Select the circular cutout.

You need to go through the cylinder (C) to get to the second terminal connection. Select the circular cutout (figure 8).

Figure 8. Select the circular cutout.

Once your path is created through the cylinder, you are ready to attach it to the gray connector and finish the path. At this point you need to switch back to the Keypoint Locate option on the ribbon bar. Select the center keypoint and then click the Accept button on the ribbon bar to terminate the path (figure 9).

Figure 9. Terminate the path of the wire.

Click Preview (figure 10).

Figure 10. Preview the wire path.

Note: During path creation you may want to redefine a point location. As soon as the second point on a path is created, an option on the ribbon bar called Redefine Point becomes active for you to redefine any points that make up the path (figure 11).

Figure 11. Redefine Point button.

After accepting the path you created, the system moves you to the second step automatically, which is the attribute step. The ribbon bar options change with a default wire attribute values pull-down list (figure 12). This list is populated through the SECONDUCTORS.TXT located in the Program folder.

Figure 12. Wire attribute values.

You can edit or make any changes to the attributes of the wire by selecting the Wire Properties tool on the ribbon bar (figure 13).

Figure 13. The Wire Properties button.

The defaults are set in the Tools / Options dialog box under the Harness tab (figure 14).

Figure 14. The Options dialog box.

Click Finish to complete the wire creation step. Notice in EdgeBar that the wire is listed under the Wires Collector (figure 15).

Figure 15. The EdgeBar lists the wire under the Wires Collector.

If you need to change the wire path or wire attributes, select the wire and then click the Edit definition button on the ribbon bar (figure 16).

Figure 16. The Edit definition button.

For a more in-depth look at Wire Harness design, look at the full tutorial in Solid Edge V18 accessible from the start-up screen or the Help menu.

See you On the Edge next month.

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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