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white paper

Aerospace electrical system design and integration

Reading time: 24 minutes

Electrical system design and integration are contributing to a “harnessing” of great potential in the aerospace and defense industry. It is time to embrace all the change and performance that state-of-the-art wire harness systems engineering will bring.

Download the white paper, Electrical system design and integration: A formula for success as complexity increases in aerospace, to learn more about the future of harness design and aircraft E/E systems development.

Aerospace wire harness design

The wire harness and its associated systems are part of an exciting ride into the future. Although wiring may not be a topic that first comes to mind when imagining future innovations in aerospace, wire harness design continues to be an unseen or unappreciated item that will control and power those very systems being imagined.

The design process is challenging, placing significant pressure on the overall program schedule and budget, particularly on the harness team. Understanding the fundamentals and key factors of the development process and accounting for inevitable iterations during the design maturation in program planning can help establish a path to success.

Key elements of aircraft wire harness development

This paper discusses key elements of aircraft wire harness development in an environment of increased complexity, including planning, design of harness content and installation considerations. Advanced E/E system design tools and methodologies are included as critical components for success.

Any new program development begins with balancing competing goals, such as design objectives, build costs and flight-test schedules. Customer satisfaction, performance characteristics and operating costs that provide positive market differentiation are equally important. Attempting to satisfy these goals requires an intricate balancing act throughout the entire process and eventual Type Certification of the aircraft. Understanding, planning and preparing for the inevitable helps to level-set expectations and helps teams remain focused as they move through the challenges to come.

Managing complexity in aerospace wire harness design

Managing complexity in aerospace wire harness design is possible with the use of modern electrical design tools that support real-time, interactive design checks and preliminary analysis. It is not uncommon to have a tenfold growth in the electrical content for new platforms in aerospace and defense programs. This creates an unwieldy situation. When the design is completed, the quantity of unique component part numbers can rise to several hundred and be repeated thousands of times throughout the harness system. The ability to manage this is critical to the overall success and modern design tools provide increasing value.

Advanced aircraft E/E system development

In aerospace and defense, almost every change during the design process will impact the electrical harness design. These can include component location changes, systems integration or other additions that interfere with previously located harnesses. Further, today’s growth in E/E systems content is increasing wiring and harness content, raising the complexity of developing harnesses and the difficulty of managing change to the point where traditional, disconnected design tools and methods will not suffice.

The use of digitalized technologies, such as the digital twin, are becoming commonplace. The electrical designer’s tools require more governing authority in managing things like harness route paths, installation and support requirements, signal types allowed, voltage drop analysis, current and load analysis, safety analysis and material choices dependent upon the environment. Now more than ever, advanced aircraft E/E system development requires a connected design tool that can grow its capabilities along with the data it manages.

Download the white paper to learn more.