Wire Harness Design in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

One of the most common questions I get when people first see SOLIDWORKS Electrical is about creating wire harnesses.  Most of the examples show electrical cabinets and DIN rail mounted components so it may not be obvious how to get started with something like a harness in a vehicle or aircraft.  Luckily, SOLIDWORKS has you covered with several workflows and options for creating and documenting your harness designs. 

Everything starts with the connection information using SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic Professional.  A library of connector symbols is included so it is easy to get started planning out the connections and documenting the circuit.  Dynamic connectors allow the terminals to be split up into any combination of pins so you can document the connector as a single device or as a series of connection points located throughout the document book.   

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If the connector is an assembly of several pieces these can be quickly added to the connector component to get an accurate BOM which can be sorted by harness or by component designation.  To add a connector or wire to a harness simply right click and add it to the harness using the harness manager. 

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Adding your harness to an existing assembly is easy: just create a 3D Cabinet Layout to create an empty assembly and then drop in your existing assembly to route on top of it.  Insert or associate the components from the schematic that correspond to your harness connectors.  You will need to create route paths corresponding to any bulkhead openings or wire clips and draw in additional lines to explain where the route can go.  Feel free to draw extra route lines or even a route grid to allow the software to optimize the paths for each branch.  As soon as the parts are in position and the suggested route paths are done, route the harness!  Wire bundle sizes will be calculated automatically and individual wires will display accurately in the model for quick identification and cross-reference. 

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In addition to calculating wire lengths and planning for wire bundle sizes the harness route also makes it easy to quickly document your harness with a flattened harness drawing.  SolidWorks Premium has been able to quickly generate nail board drawings for years, and harness assemblies that originate from SolidWorks Electrical are fully supported.
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This drawing can even be added back into the Electrical project so it is part of the main electrical drawing package. 

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