Many consider harness manufacturing one of the more thankless electrical design tasks. It is a low-margin business that still considered highly resistant to automation. All the same, if you get it wrong – or take too long to deliver your proposal – the costs in terms of lost or delayed business can be serious.
Efficient harness manufacturing is becoming even more of an issue today as designs incorporate elements from various disciplines into what are now called systems of systems. Consider the current trends in the automotive market where electronic and mechanical engineering are becoming almost indistinguishable.
The Capital suite from Mentor Graphics is one of the leading harness automation products. To support it and encourage a shift away from predominantly manual harness design, the company has come up with an eight-point plan for improving the design-to-manufacture flow, split across three categories within it.
A. Design cost and cycle time:
- You must simplify assembly with the automated, algorithmic identification of sub-assemblies.
- Make sure that you automate your harness engineering and validation across the bill of materials (BoM).
B. Design and process quality:
- Both automate and control your change management processes.
- Ensure that you have digital continuity from the design flow to the production flow.
C. Harness manufacturing cost and turnaround time
- Apply full-scale form-board layout and fixtures to track changes and enforce design rules.
- Automatically model the factory process and structure the BoM for use within ERP environments.
- Apply proper cost and time calculations to achieve a faithful assembly process.
- Automatically generate ready-to-use work instructions for every stage of assembly.
That all sounds like common sense. But how do you achieve these goals, and where are the cost-effective tools that will allow you to benefit from greater automation of the workflow?
Mentor has expanded on the components within this battleplan and how Capital addresses them in a downloadable whitepaper, Eight Ways to Improve Harness Manufacturing. It aims to help you eke out more from the challenging harness manufacturing process, as the systems of systems becomes a ubiquitous challenge.