We make a lot of wire harnesses for our equipment. Our process currently involves making prototype harnesses in engineering, then working with production to finalize the harnesses and program our wire cutting machine. We use a lot of spade lug, faston crimp connectors, pinsfor AMP CPC and Molex connectors, Phoenix connectors etc.. Harnesses can have dozens of wires and route all over our machines. In the assembly drawings, I currently draw in overall representations of the harnesses to show the general routing of the wires.
In smaller assemblies, I can see the benefits of documenting the wires in Solid Edge, but I'm concerned I may be opening a can of worms if I jump into the middle of the process, but either way I still end up being the one to draw the harnesses.
I would really appreciate some input from users of the wire harness module to get feedback on how they use it, benefits and challenges they have experienced in learning curve and execution.
Currently we are not using an ECAD system. The electrical engineers are using a free schematic program that probably does not have those capabilites. I would probably be routing the wires manually per their schematics.
You should find out if the free Schematics stuff can create a "net list". If so, it can probably be munged into a format that would save you a bundle of time connecting stuff up, because Solid Edge can create the rats nest and you just have to find the best pathways.
PS> What about on the backend -- do you produce enough volume of product to do nailboards and the like? Or you just wire each module by hand as its shipped?
I work everyday in the Wire Harness tool and would be willing to talk to you about the way we use it and the benefits we see from using it. From what i can tell from your discription we do very similar types of harnesses and I have now been using the tool for about 4 years. If you would like to discuss more in depth through email I would be willing to help you in any way i can.
We do make some nailboards, but there are a lot of wire harnesses that are assembled in place. We have a wire machine that cuts and strips wires but becuase of our volumes, we are also considering having some harnesses made outside. I'm thinking of ways to improve the process from the engineering side to reduce the number of iterations. I did talk with one of our electrical engineers and the package they currently use does not produce net lists.
We make about 50-60 different harnesses for our products. Another area of investigation is dealing with ribbon cables. On a limited basis in the past, I have experimented with making them as a part and as sheet metal. It works, but takes a lot of time.
Sorry I've taken so long to get back. I've been documenting wire harnesses! Anyway, what E-CAD software is everyone using?
At Ditch Witch we use Vesys which is a Mentor Graphics product. From going to Solid Edge University the past few years have gotten to know the Zuken guys fairly well. Their product is supposed to seamlessly integrate with Solid Edge. I personally havent gotten to use either of these products but do know that Zuken would give you a trial version if you would like to try it out.
Since of course Siemens is in the process of purchasing Mentor Graphics (summer?), might I suggest that VeSys would indeed make a lot of sense to look at? They seem to have an "in the cloud" eval system where you can test drive it without installing it.