wire-harness design process

If you can optimize the design process for your wire harness, you’ll gain significant cost reductions across the board, including testing and validation and your harness manufacturing. Simply put, optimizing at the design phase has a knock-on effect, speeding up the harness design cycle and improving your formboard while reducing design errors and quote-to-production cycle times. 

The earliest you can nail everything down, the easier and faster you’ll find each successive stage. 

1. Optimize: design diagrams 

Your cloud-based harness-design software is critical, but not all are created equal for the optimization process. The software you work with should be intuitive and easy to use for a first-time design. For optimal results, your software should also enable you to effortlessly modify an existing wire-harness design. The ability to create and modify your draft entity streamlines the design process, saving valuable time.  

Not all software modules are able to do that, so make a point of investigating that feature before making any purchase. Try it out. Don’t just take the word of salespeople. Sometimes they simply don’t know. 

Another key feature that will optimize your design process is automatic and manual splice balancing functions. A comprehensive splice diagram generation illustrates how to construct each splice, giving manufacturers exactly what they need. Add labels in your wire-harness design for connectors and splices.  

A feature that can prove helpful and speed up your design time is reverse engineering. 

Say you want to recreate a physical wire harness that you hold, but don’t have any eCADs for it. With just a photograph, advanced software can build it to scale. This isn’t a feature you’d use every day, of course. But it’s a great-to-have if it’s part of your harness software. 

2. Optimize: electrical-component selection 

Engineers must carefully balance factors such as cost, reliability, and performance to ensure the optimal design. Additionally, selecting standardized components can help streamline the design process and reduce the time and cost associated with sourcing and testing custom components.

Accessing a comprehensive library of available components, and carrying out a rapid search, represent more efficiency gains. The right components database can automatically select the parts you need to fit your wire bundles and wire harness in general, all without fuss. You want the convenience of cross-referencing multiple part numbers and importing legacy data. And if you can create views directly from 3D files, you can spend more time focussing on design than searching components.  

The ability to integrate seamlessly with your harness and schematic modules, create new component databases, or modify your component database, are meaningful advantages that will play a key role in optimizing your workflows.

The component selection is also a critical factor in wire-harness design. This involves selecting the appropriate terminals, seals, and plugs based on the connector and wires selected. All of these are automated within the Arcadia Harness module.

3. Optimize: schematic diagrams 

Some harness design software is good for a specific process, but lacking in others. Let’s say that you’re using schematic software on your electrical wiring design. 

You want the ability to import any drawings and data from legacy systems. The software should also offer a pre-configured schematic symbol library. If your assembly is particularly complex, you may want to optimize future processes by building your own library now.  

It’s also incredibly helpful to simulate your wire-harness design to see, for instance, behavior and voltage drops in real-time. A simulation analysis enables you to make adjustments right then and there, versus discovering problems later on. 

Some wire-harness-design software requires you to buy a separate license for this feature. And that might be fine if you don’t mind spending the money. Your other option is to use software built with this capability so that you’re ready to go immediately without additional investment. 

The result: optimized harness manufacturing  

You must consider the manufacturing documentation required for your wire-harness design. Here again, tapping into best-in-class harness-design software as we’ve so far described will optimize and automate everything for you. 

The ability to generate detailed reports of every aspect of your wire-harness design is critical. That includes reports for: 

  • DSI (Design System Interface)
  • Multicore/cables
  • Protective sleeve and tube cutting
  • Harness connector
  • Wire cutting list
  • Bill of materials
  • Harness splicing 
  • Harness summary  
  • Terminal list

Every last piece of information – including a detailed schematic – is absolutely critical to manufacturing your wire harness to your precise specifications and instructions. Not only that but leveraging the latest tools and techniques to carefully document the design process in detail enables manufacturing automation. Efficiency at the beginning feeds efficiency at the back end. This is how you ensure high-quality results and reduce costs.

The Arcadia advantage 

Some software packages are more focused on particular tasks, such as panel wiring. Few focus solely on wire-harness design. And then, some are built on older-generation technology and have inflexible licensing models. Arcadia’s suite of software is a different beast altogether, providing state-of-the-art software modules that address end-to-end processes. This includes testing and validation, harness quoting, and technical publication. 

Users consistently report the ease of use, which comes down to the fact that this is wire-harness software designed by engineers for engineers. Arcadia’s powerfully simple software modules provide integrated, real-time, fast collaboration, enabling team members – no matter where they are – to add their markups in one place. Flexible licensing with no hidden fees allows you to scale dynamically with your business needs. 

Free 7-day trial and always free demo 

Everything we’ve described so far is part of Arcadia’s innovative suite of cloud-based software. Try our seven-day free trial now. If you want to see how it works, just give us a call and we’ll set up a demonstration for you at no cost. If you have any questions, we’re always happy to help.