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A Complete Guide to Wire Harness Design Practices & Tips

A wire harness is a vital part of any electronic system. This implies that if not properly assembled, it can destroy electronic devices. It also affects the reliability, performance, durability, and efficiency of the whole system. Moreover, if the design of a wire harness is poor,  the installation process will be difficult, and troubleshooting or maintenance will be impossible. In this guide, we will take you through everything there is to know about wire harness designs including what they are composed of, the steps involved in designing them from scratch to finish, and best practices alongside some expert advice. But before we get into much detail let us start off with the basics.


A Wiring Harness What Is It?

The wiring harness, also known as a cable harness, is an assemblage of wires or a collection of cables that joins all Electrical and Electronic (E/E) components. Electrical services rely heavily on wire harnesses. Many industries, including consumer electronics, telecommunications, automotive, and aerospace, use wire harnesses.


Key Components of Wire Harness Design

In the manufacturing process, wire harnesses are made up of a variety of components and materials. These are the key components required for the best wire harness design.


1. Proper Wire/Cable Selection

To guarantee the best electrical performance and longevity, wire harness manufacturers must select the proper wire gauge, conductor type, and insulation material.


2. Terminals & Connectors
Reliability and lifespan depend on the use of superior-quality terminals and connectors that meet application requirements.


3. Robust Sheathing

Protective sheathing is utilized to protect the wires from heat, moisture, abrasion, and other environmental conditions via a conduit, heat-shrink tubing, fabric tape, or braided sleeves.


4. Configuration and Packing

Wires within the harness can be strategically bundled and routed to minimize interference and electromagnetic interference(EMI), as well as improve the assembly’s overall appearance and serviceability.


5. Labelling and Identification

Correct labeling of wires, cables, and connectors minimizes downtimes and errors by streamlining the installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance procedures.


Why does a well-designed Wire Harness matter?

The success of industries such as electronics manufacturing, automotive, industrial machinery, aerospace, etc. depends on the quality of wire harness design.  A few benefits of a well-designed wire harness include


  • It eliminates open wires, short circuits, and other wiring problems that can lead to system failure. Thus, it improves reliability.

  • As wires and connectors are protected and shielded so that they can withstand external forces such as abrasion and vibration. Thus, it enhances the durability of the product or system.
  • The selected wires and connectors are routed properly so that they can reduce electrical losses and improve signal integrity. Thus, the overall performance of the system will be improved.
  • A well-designed wire harness reduces downtime and improves productivity. It eliminates the need for repairs and maintenance thus it saves costs.
  • A good wire harness should comply with industry standards, such as IPC/WHMA-A-620, for the requirements and acceptance of cable and wire harness assemblies to ensure the system or product is safe, reliable, and meets regulatory requirements.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Wiring Harness Design & Development

  • Gathering specifications and requirements of the wire harness.
  • Creating a schematic diagram of the wire harness.
  • Selecting appropriate materials and components.
  • Laying out the connectors, wires, and other elements in the required configuration.
  • Test the wire harness before installation to ensure the system performs well.


What are the best practices for wire harness design?

In today’s dynamic environment, mastering optimal wire harness design is not only a technical endeavor but also a strategic requirement that will drive creativity and rivalry. You may improve the reliability, performance, and efficiency of your electrical systems and up your wire harness design game by following these best practices and expert tips.


1. A Comprehensive Strategy

Gain a thorough understanding of the requirements of the application, electrical specifications, regulatory standards, environmental conditions, etc. Make a thorough design plan to make sure every detail is carefully considered.


2. Thermal Management
Thermal aspects can affect the system’s performance. So, make sure to prevent thermal degradation and overheating by ensuring sufficient insulation and airflow to efficiently release heat, particularly in areas with high temperatures.


3. Optimised Routing and Placement
In order to decrease wire length, limit material consumption, and maximize space utilization inside the machinery, choose the most practicable and efficient paths for wire routing and placement. Additionally, the connectors should be positioned so that they are simple to access and maintain. To test and assess routing configurations for maximum performance, use upgraded software tools for wire harness design.


4. Testing and Quality Assurance
Apply strict quality assurance standards and testing procedures throughout the manufacturing process to confirm that the wire harness assembly is compliant, functioning, and defect-free. To verify performance and dependability, environmental, insulation resistance, and electrical continuity testing must be done.


5. Electro Magnetic Compatibility

In order to ensure that the system complies with EMC requirements, the wire harness design should minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI).


6. Documentation & Traceability
Proper documentation is vital for aftermarket support and regulatory compliance. So, maintain detailed and in-depth documentation such as schematics, assembly instructions, and BOMs (Bills of Materials), to help in traceability, replication, and future updates. 


7. Strain Relief & Support
Provide sufficient strain relief devices, like harness boards, clamps, and grommets, to lessen the mechanical pressure on cables and connectors. Over time, connector degradation, wire fatigue, and breakage are avoided with proper anchoring and support.


Tips to excel in wire harness design

Let’s glance at expert tips for optimal wire harness design:

  • Leverage diverse perspectives and expertise in wire harness design by collaborating with teams of manufacturing specialists, mechanical engineers, and electrical engineers.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration fosters creativity and ensures comprehensive problem-solving.
  • To keep you updated on the newest trends and technologies used in wire harness design and manufacturing design processes and materials, it is important to stay updated.
  • Stay updated and improve your skills by attending seminars, industry conferences, and training programs in wire harness design.
  • In order to build acceptance with others and reinforce the importance of the implementation process, be sure to establish methods that include lessons learned and feedback from previous projects.
  • Do experiment and develop a culture of innovation to excel in the field of wire harness design.


Wrapping Up

Wire assemblies act as a central nervous system amidst the intricacies of manufacturing and electrical design engineering. Ensure you apply them in the designing and developing of a strong wire harness that will be reliable, comply with regulations, enhance performance, eliminate cable or wire failures, reduce system downtime as well as cut down on production and maintenance expenses by being very keen on this.

For more information, reach out to Moldtek, a pioneer manufacturing design company that is adept at delivering exceptional design engineering services.