First of all, there is no such thing as THE optimal workflow for developing on-board power supply systems. The OEMs, their products and processes are as different as is their approach to the design of vehicle electrical systems and cable sets. Whether a truck or bus manufacturer develops highly standardized platforms or individual small series, whether a small team covers almost all tasks or development processes are distributed worldwide and largely outsourced, how many suppliers are involved - all this influences workflows. What there is, however, is optimal workflow support:
Optimal support from concept to operation
Aucotec's data-centred development platform Engineering Base (EB) focuses on offering its users full freedom of action. They do not have to adapt their approaches to the system, EB adapts to them. They determine the rules, which, by the way, can also be implemented in the truest sense of the word via rule-based design. From the initial concept to cable set design and production or pneumatic planning to information provision for service workshops, EB's digital twin unites all disciplines in a central model and allows everyone to go their own way.
Every part of an at least theoretically ideal workflow that contains all the necessary work steps is supported by EB. All without the need to transfer data, as each object exists only once and every view of it – from the overall vehicle concept to the production drawing – links to this object.
Single Source of Truth
Therefore, all parties involved, the various design professionals as well as the suppliers, always work with up-to-date and consistent data in their specific view. Thus, as the Single Source of Truth, EB holds together all the knowledge about all the electrical systems and their connections. Data only needs to be entered or changed once there. Manual data synchronization, reconciliation work and, above all, transmission errors are now history.
All beginnings are easy
It starts with system development, where components and their functions or signals are often defined vehicle-neutral. Then, there is partitioning, the on-board power supply of a vehicle platform being divided into sensible cable sets. Even before detailed wiring or wiring diagrams are available, EB knows the required connectors for the cable sets. The mechanics specialists begin to assemble the connectors in 3D and create the topology of the wire bundles. This saves the otherwise usual wait for the finished circuit diagram, which is now created in parallel in electrical design thanks to EB's central model. The pneumatics experts can also get started straight away, because their representations, for example of electromagnetic valves, are also linked to the circuit diagram.
Anything but flat
The bundle layout created in the 3D tool can be conveniently synchronized with EB at the touch of a button, where the 2D harness drawing is then generated almost automatically from it. In an iterative exchange process with the 3D tool, EB deals with merging the data, with delta management ensuring full consistency.
EB is the leader in all specifications for E-components, and the 3D system for the paths through the installation space. EB routes the wires defined in the circuit diagram through the 3D bundles, thus determining lengths, bundle thickness and protective material and returns this data to the 3D tool. The result in EB is always a "smoothed out", clear 2D graphic, but one that has it all: all logics and connections to the individual objects are stored in the data model as "background knowledge". The production department can also obtain all the relevant information from this, such as wire lengths and protective material. The disciplines' different views of their world are consolidated via EB.
EB speaks KBL and VEC
A further workflow step is cooperation with suppliers. EB can also consistently pass on its digital data to external parties at every stage of the planning, for example to the harness manufacturers. If manufacturers need a form board drawing in addition to the schematic harness, EB helps them with tool-supported drawing generation directly from the digital twin. The fact that EB understands standards such as KBL and DSI gives harness suppliers and OEMs the greatest flexibility. EB also has the standard of the future, VEC, in its repertoire for exchanging data across on-board power supply systems.
Analyses made easy
EB is also the ideal basis for analyses of all kinds. Whether simulations, calculations, quality assurance or even project overviews, this collected and consistent knowledge about the entire project is always available to searchers for their individual queries, at any point in the workflow. This is also due to the fact that EB is exceptionally easy to integrate into a company's own IT landscape thanks to its special openness and standardized interfaces. This facilitates – beyond the communication with various 3D tools – further overarching exchange processes enormously. For example, with ERP and PLM.
"Consistent data reconciliation is always guaranteed, without time-consuming manual work and the associated error rate," emphasizes Georg Hiebl, the mobility industry expert on Aucotec's product manager team. His conclusion: "What is best is what suits the respective manufacturer. That's why EB is optimal, because it allows everyone to define their own workflow."