What are Formboards, and what do they do?
To describe what a formboard is, and what it does, we need to start with what a wiring harness is, and what it does. The dictionary describes a wiring harness as a system of insulated conducting wires bound together with insulating materials, used in the electrical system of a machine, such as a motor vehicle or washing machine. Wiring harnesses can be found in just about every product that requires electrification. Trains, planes, farm equipment, machinery, RV’s, ships and boats, automobiles, motorcycles, computers, and home appliances… if it has electronics, chances are it has one or more wiring harnesses.
Wiring harnesses are usually produced manually on a flat surface, using a full scale drawing as a guide or a roadmap of sorts. These tables are typically referred to as formboards or harness boards. A formboard drawing is a flat representation of the 3D wiring harness. The main requirement on the formboard is that a manufactured wiring harness can physically fit in the product as intended. Not meeting this requirement can result in a wiring harness that doesn’t fit right, or cannot be installed in the product without using force to make it fit… thereby putting undue strain on the wires and connectors.
Creating formboard drawings in CAD can be a repetitive and time consuming task. Flattening out the wiring harness to make a 2D representation of the 3D harness can take hours or days depending on the complexity of the harness. This task can be made much simpler and less time consuming through the use of a Siemens product called, “NX Routing Harness.”
Here is a description from the Siemens playbook… “NX Routing Harness provides all the tools needed to route an electrical wiring harness consisting of bundles of wires in a product assembly. Capabilities also include the ability to specify typical mechanical parts and supporting equipment such as connectors and other devices. The software can also import the wiring characteristics for connections between electrical devices. This connection list may be created from a 2-D logical design application such as NX Schematics or other external ECAD systems. NX Routing Harness can automatically traverse paths which have been routed between the devices and assign the wire descriptions to the path segments as specified in the connection list. The wire descriptions are used to compute bundle diameters and to create solid bundle models. Actual wire lengths and diameters may be automatically added to the connection list for feedback to upstream ECAD applications or downstream to manufacturing applications. NX Routing Harness also identifies minimum bend radius violations and produces design and manufacturing documentation such as formboard drawings.”
NX Routing Harness does more than flatten a harness… it generates a full assembly, with all electrical connectivity information intact. The result is identical to the 3D assembly, but is laid out on a single plane while maintaining the relative position of each connector to the bundle as the harness is flattened. NX Routing Harness generates a 2D formboard drawing, while taking the unique approach of creating a Digital Twin of Manufacturing.
Some of the key benefits for using NX Routing Harness:
- User friendly application that gives quick results for 3D routing and 2D formboard creation.
- Reduce cost by making use of your digital twin to eliminate physical prototypes and rework… your harnesses will fit the first time.
- Reduce cost by re-using logical design which eliminates redundant data creation and improves quality by enforcing design standards
- Predicts accurate wire lengths and accurate bundle diameters for interference checking and space allocation for early analysis.
Are you responsible for designing wiring harnesses and creating formboard drawings? Can you and your company benefit from a powerful design tool that simplifies wire routing, harnessing and formboard drawing creation? Are you interested in streamlining your wire routing process to save time and money? Then you and your company could benefit from an NX Routing Harness demo today!
Tata Technologies is a Siemens Platinum Smart Expert Partner indicating our validated expertise in NX-CAD.