I've fed this suggestion through to RS via other channels in the past but there's no harm in repeating here.
I'd really like to see a tool in DS Mechanical - or perhaps a completely new DS software product - to simplify wiring harness development. On the face of it I realise that "wires" more closely allies with DS Electrical, but not when you consider a wiring harness to be a 3D object which also has to fit in the context of its surrounding 3D physical environment. DS Electrical seems, by definition, to be geared towards fixed installations and electrical cabinet layout than routing harnesses through 3D space. Really, I suppose the new feature could be seen as a hybrid between the two.
Take a look at TE Connectivity's "Harnware" and especially "HarnVis" product to help visualise what I mean. The new tool would probably need a 2D stage for the connectivity design and specifications, and a 3D stage for modelling the "real" wire harness, pinboarding etc.
This new tool or module would not be restricted to single brand connector, wire or boot solutions etc. but would be able to draw on all components in RS' inventory, and those imported from other sources as 3D models, just as DS Mech allows now.
Of course, a think that looks like a harness can be made "manually" in DS Mech already. A cable-like entity can be made by extruding circles along a path, for instance. But that is an incredibly tedious way to construct multi-branch cables; and the resultant cable wouldn't map back to, or link with, any underlying wiring design, so changes made in the 2D connectivity stage would not be reflected in the 3D model and vice versa.
But a wiring harness tool would make this much more intuitive:
- Layout and specification of the wiring interconnections, wire gauge, colour and spec, boots, connectors, labelling etc., using industry-standard symbols and allowing user-defined ones
- "Point and click" wiring connections
- Cable spur lengths would be parametric and easily adjusted, and cable boots and Y-pieces etc. would automatically fit into position
- The 2D model would automatically convert to an initial 3D representation, with bidirectional links between the two
- In 3D mode, the relative positions and angles of cables would be easily adjusted and the cable would either "rubber band" automatically or could be "nudged" as a whole around curves etc.
DS Mechanical already has component import capability, 2D and 3D layout modes and Bill of Materials (BoM) handling. The fundamental 2D and 3D object manipulation tools already exist. The Drawing module allows clear, professional-looking drawings and annotation to provide high-quality design documentation. A harness could be shown in isolation or in its 2D or 3D context so easily.
With the excellent DS Mechanical as a basis, and with the introduction of a flexible (no pun intended) wiring harness add-on, I believe this would materially benefit users and be a valuable asset in RS' Designspark portfolio.
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