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Digital twin instead of trial & error. This is how Eplan briefly describes what a current extension of the software for cable harness creation offers customers: In the new version, Eplan Harness proD also includes the cables from the control cabinet to the field and to the machine, and offers itself as a bridge between mechanical design and electrotechnical project.

The new Eplan Harness proD will be shown for the first time at the Hannover Fair. Where previously electrical designers stopped at the control cabinet side and mechanical engineers at the mechanical side, leaving the final cutting to length and connection to the assemblers on the shop floor, the bridge now grows in 3D with the connecting cables. The digital twin of the cabling virtually simulates real life on the screen, in which the cables from the control cabinet have a clearly defined end point in the field and an unambiguous path to take to get there. The digital connection is implemented by transferring the complete wiring harness to the mechanical design as a 3D assembly on the one hand, while at the same time providing all connection information in the electrical project.

Machine cabling from the control cabinet to the field with Eplan Harness proD (Image Eplan GmbH & Co.KG)

Until now – according to Eplan – machine cabling was a laborious process that ultimately boiled down to manually cutting the cables to length, which inevitably led to considerable costs for the machine builder. Because of the unavoidable cable waste and because of the high time expenditure in assembly. Now, the digital twin is also moving into this area of mechanical engineering and allows all cables to be precisely cut to length as early as the development stage. At the same time, the 3D cable harness represents a unique data source that can be reliably used by assembly and maintenance.

The design engineers work in their own way, each with their own view of the machine: mechanical engineering continues to think in terms of assemblies – electrical engineering in terms of functions.

According to Eplan, the process for cable planning is now extremely simple. The electrical designer plans the required cables in the circuit diagram in Eplan Electric P8. As if in passing by, he also defines the required articles for the cabling planning in Eplan Harness proD. He then links the electrical engineering project with Harness proD and imports the 3D geometry of the mechanics into the cabling tool. With this information, the external equipment is positioned in the 3D environment, cable paths are defined system-supported and the cables are routed. Once all equipment and cables have been inserted, the designer receives a digital twin of the entire cabling. This twin is available as a 3D assembly for the mechanical design or with the supplemented cable information for the electrical engineering project.

The scope of the new Eplan Harness proD includes further functional enhancements that facilitate the planning of the cabling. For example, cable ducts, energy chains and cable routes can be used for cable routing. Even if the mechanic plans these, the electrical designer knows exactly whether the cables will fit through the intended paths and what exact length is required.

Eplan is at the Hannover Messe together with Rittal, Cideon and German Edge Cloud at the joint booth E06 in Hall 11.