Tips & Tricks: Better Manufacturing Docs for Your Harness Designs

In a recent presentation, engineering specialist Frank Mohr described the process Caterpillar once used to share harness designs with the manufacturers. It wasn’t what you would call “streamlined.”

“We would give our suppliers a TIF image of the engineering drawing,” said Mohr. “Then they had to re-engineer our drawing in their own local tools…AutoCAD, markers, paper. They would also have to extract the wire From/To list manually.”

As you might imagine, the whole process took a lot of time and proved error prone.

Fortunately, much of that is unnecessary today if you use PTC Creo Piping and Cabling Extension (PCX) and currently have a maintenance contract. That’s because you can freely access a new extension called PTC Creo Harness Manufacturing Extension (HMX) to quickly document wire harnesses.

In this post, we’ll talk about how it works. Plus, you’ll see the custom system Caterpillar has evolved for those thinking of going well beyond out-of-the-box solutions.

PTC Creo Harness Manufacturing Extension (HMX) for Automating Documentation

With PTC Creo PCX and an active support contract, you can now add PTC Creo HMX with no additional cost. With this new extension, the system automatically turns your models into manufacturing documentation that includes From/To table, a fully annotated stick layout (including BOM balloons and dimensions), a BOM, pin out tables for each connector, and a 3D view of the harness.

From/To table created automatically in PTC Creo Harness Manufacturing Extension.

To create manufacturing documentation from a 3D harness, click Applications > Harness Mfg. The Harness Manufacturing Extension appears. Then, follow these steps.

  1. In the Flatten tab, select the Harness and any Subharnesses.
  2. In the Filename field, enter a drawing template file name.
  3. If you want the flattened harness and 3D view to fit in a single sheet, select Variable sheet size.
  4. In the Margins section, type the Horizontal and Vertical offset of the drawings.
  5. In the Scale Factor field, type a number (1 is a full-scale drawing).
  6. To allow the system to bend the harness to fit on a single sheet, select Bed to Fit.
  7. To display cosmetic features, select Cosmetics.

The Caterpillar Solution

Caterpillar is well-known for its heavy construction equipment, like loaders and bulldozers. Mohr says his team produces harnesses that can stretch 30-meters long and include up to 800 cables.

Last summer, Mohr and senior IT analyst, Jason Klotz, described how to improve collaboration with harness suppliers by leveraging the 3D & 2D flattened harness developed in PTC Creo, and how they used the PTC Programming Interface to further streamline design & improve quality. Here’s a quick introduction from Mohr.