Electronic Design

Tool Suite Addresses EDA's Last Frontier, Wire Harnesses

While the EDA industry has addressed just about every other aspect of chip, board, and system design, wire harness design automation has lagged behind. Wire harnesses have seen little in the way of commercial EDA tools. Many systems houses have for years maintained their own homegrown tools for wire harness design. But their ability to continue to support such tools is waning.

Mentor Graphics, though, is launching a suite of tools to cover all aspects of wire-harness design. Capital Manufacture and Capital Factory are the first in Mentor's planned Capital Harness Systems family, which will eventually address functional design to systems integration to platform manufacturing and service. Along the way, users will build up a central repository of relational data called Capital Manager that includes an object-level electrical database, provision for configuration data management, and the ability to share all data for collaborative design.

Capital Manufacture is a comprehensive tool set that enables the design and engineering of wire harnesses for manufacture. It supports complex wire harness configurations, including options, variants, and modules (typical automotive designs now require over 1.2 miles of wiring; an aircraft might contain up to 300 harnesses). The suite includes comprehensive reporting, analysis, and costing features to let users generate bills of materials and accurate labor and materials cost estimates. With the suite's Design System Interface, users can import data from other electrical and mechanical CAD systems.

Capital Factory is a tool suite for fabricating and producing harnesses. Capital Formboard, the first product available in the suite, automates the creation of wire harness formboard drawings, onto which the harness is assembled. It generates outputs based on the harness representation in Capital Manufacture. As design changes are made, the tool compares the new version to preceding harness definitions and reuses as much of the existing definition as possible, allowing designers to update only the areas that have changed.

Prices vary based on customer requirements. Call for specific information.

Mentor Graphics Corp., www.mentor.com; (503) 685-7000.

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