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April 2007 edition

Advances in electrical and mechanical integration for aerospace design

By John Wilson, product marketing manager, Mentor Graphics

The design flow at each aerospace company embraces an array of business and design tools (MCAD, ECAD, PLM, PDM, Workflow, ERP systems, and others) supporting each of the steps in the electrical design flow, such as specification, functional and wiring design, component design, simulation, harness engineering, weight studies and harness manufacture. This article examines the issues related to tool integration and how these tools are being tightly integrated to support a more efficient electrical design process.

The integration of system electronics and design of interconnect wiring and harnesses is a complex task in aerospace design. Competitive pressures continue to drive prices down, demanding improved quality and faster design cycles. And, at the same time, design complexity continues to increase, placing a burden on existing design tools and driving a search for better tools, and better integration, in all areas of design.

Aerospace manufacturers are now seeking to implement ECAD-specific solutions that move beyond the functionality of 'point-solution' tools and provide a broader, system-wide capability that can work across the entire electrical design flow. Modern design processes involve scores of companies working concurrently, each with their own specialised data definitions. This means using interrelated data stored across several databases, each dedicated to partic....

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