Is Your Wire Harness Design Fully Protected Against Environmental Threats?

May 29, 2024

Ensuring environmental protection isn't just an afterthought—it's crucial for the reliability and longevity of your system. How can you make sure your designs are error-free and robust against environmental conditions? Automation and validation software might be the answer.

The Impact of Early Detection

Cost and Time Efficiency: Detecting errors early in the design phase with automation software significantly reduces the cost and time needed for rework. This proactive approach ensures reliability and eliminates costly late-stage modifications.

Quality Assurance and Longevity: By adhering to industry standards through automated checks, manufacturers can guarantee the quality and compliance of their wire harnesses, thus avoiding the consequences of product recalls or field failures.

Environmental Protection: The Core of EWH Design

The Challenge: Wire harnesses are the nervous system of any electrical assembly, whether in cars, planes, or medical devices. They must endure various environmental factors, including temperature fluctuations, moisture, chemical exposure, UV, and mechanical stress. Failure to account for these can lead to catastrophic system failures.

The Solution: Automated software solutions are transforming how engineers approach environmental protection in EWH design. These tools can preemptively identify potential errors that could compromise the harness's integrity under environmental stressors.

Specific Error Types to Watch Out For

Inadequate Sealing and Insulation

Error: Underestimating the need for proper sealing and insulation can result in moisture ingress and chemical corrosion, leading to short circuits and wire degradation.

Fix: Software can simulate various environmental conditions, virtually testing the harness design for adequate sealing and insulation. It ensures materials meet industry standards like AS50881 for aerospace or ISO 26262 for automotive applications.

Incorrect Material Selection

Error: Choosing materials that can't withstand the operating environment can lead to insulation breakdown and wire exposure.

Fix: Validation tools can cross-reference material properties against environmental requirements, alerting designers if materials are unsuitable for the expected temperature range or chemical exposure, guiding better choices.

Inadequate Strain Relief

Error: Without proper strain relief, wires can experience stress that leads to insulation failure and wire breakage.

Fix: Software evaluates the mechanical design to ensure strain relief is incorporated at critical points, checking compliance with standards like IEEE 315-1975, which outlines best practices for electrical connectivity and layout.

Faulty Shielding Practices

Error: Inadequate shielding can leave wires vulnerable to electromagnetic interference (EMI), disrupting signal integrity.

Fix: Automated tools analyze the shielding design, verifying that it meets necessary EMI protection levels, including assessing coverage, continuity, and grounding practices.

Bonus: End-of-Life Management

Design for Disassembly and Recycling: Cables and wire harnesses should be designed to facilitate easy disassembly and recycling at the end of their life cycle, using connectors and materials that can be easily separated and processed.

Take-back Programs: Manufacturers should consider implementing take-back programs to ensure end-of-life products are disposed of responsibly and do not end up in landfills.

The Margin for Error is Slim

Automated software solutions act as a safety net, catching errors that could otherwise slip through manual inspections. As more sophisticated electronics integrate into every aspect of technology, automation ensures wire and cable harness designs withstand any environment with lasting durability.