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Electrical Systems Design and Harness Engineering

Designing aerospace electrical systems and integrating those systems in the context of a platform presents many challenges.

Designers are faced with decisions that involve multiple engineering domains which current paper-based environments have tremendous difficulty in effectivity supporting. In addition, CFR part 25 EWIS (Electrical Wiring Interconnect Systems) mandates are putting additional pressure on designers, especially in the commercial aerospace sector. Helping to address these challenges and more, Mentor Graphics' Capital tool suite provides a true electrical virtual prototyping environment in which these concerns are addressed head-on. Capital spans the entire wiring systems development process from early systems design and analysis, wiring integration, through to harness production planning and manufacture.

Mentor Graphics can help you realize a more efficient way to design the increasingly complex electrical systems in aerospace products. In addition to the increasing electronic content of aerospace platforms you face, regulatory mandates are increasingly putting pressure on the way the design process is managed. These events are forcing companies to take a fresh approach at how the platform’s electrical architecture is defined and managed throughout its lifecycle.


  • Improved quality of data made possible by data-centric tools combined with workflow and effectivity-based configuration management
  • Ability to model EWIS mandates to converge on optimal solution
  • Reduction of engineering change costs due to real-time design rule checking – ensuring “correct by construction” methodology
  • Virtual prototyping due to embedded electrical analysis capabilities, i.e. FMEA, inside the design tools

New product and business process demands require ECAD solutions that facilitate electrical design and analysis for the engineer, provide a quick means for evaluating engineering tradeoffs, and automate systems integration while assisting in harness engineering and manufacture. All these design domains need to be anchored by a comprehensive set of data management capabilities that provide process and data control along the entire product life cycle.


Capital is the leading engineering software for aerospace electrical systems design, systems integration and harness engineering. Used by leading aerospace companies and their suppliers throughout the world, and on a wide variety of products, Capital supports the complex demands of modern, globally dispersed but integrated design teams.

Systems and Sub-systems Design

Capital Logic is the core schematic-based design environment in Capital. It is the primary method for systems and subsystems engineers to describe the logical definition of the electrical systems architecture. Designers utilize rules and constraints to capture design intellectual property (IP) and EWIS mandates, providing accurate and repeatable results. Learn more about Capital Logic

  • Embedded logical and physical analysis capability to conduct steady-state or transient analysis
  • External connectivity can be imported into Capital
  • View generation capability provides ability to quickly repurpose design data.
  • Automatically control the aesthetics of the diagram to support ATA-like standards

System Integration

Capital Topology and Capital Logic work in tandem to provide an integrated environment to model the harness architecture provide early calculations of bundle diameters, and to create the resulting wiring design while utilizing an effectivity controlled environment.

  • Validation of wiring data in the context of harness topology
  • Direct navigation between wiring and topology views
  • Early indication of bundle diameters and harness complexity
  • Share data with MCAD to provide early information to structural designers

Simulation and Analysis

A core capability with all the Capital design tools is on-demand analysis capability. Dynamic steady-state or transient analysis works in conjunction with the design tools to provide immediate feedback to the designer.

  • Provides both qualitative and quantitative analysis capabilities
  • Optional modules offer FMEA and sneak circuit analysis in addition to transient analysis
  • Analysis results are visually shown on the design data – eliminating tedious task of interpreting textual results

Data Management and Supporting Technologies

Effectivity controlled design data management is crucial to address aerospace electrical design complexity and managing data lifecycle challenges. It is this comprehensive foundation that truly differentiates Capital from other design tools. This data management capability is needed to support regulatory and customer mandates. Modeling workflow and release events is very simple with Capital. It is recognized that ECAD data has many stakeholders so Capital utilizes a services-oriented architecture (SOA) backbone to enable integration with other enterprise applications. This SOA backbone provides digital continuity and eliminates the arduous and error-prone task of data reentry.

  • Control user and data access control – important for ITAR and other types of restricted programs
  • Define release events and behaviors to provide consistent and repeatable processes
  • Utilize effectivity control to manage part usage across all platform configurations
  • Provide web-based data reporting and view generation Harness Engineering

The final stages of the wiring systems development process involve embellishing the engineering description of the data to prepare the wiring harnesses for manufacture. Capital HarnessXC enables engineers to automatically select the correct parts to meet engineering design intent, validate that all product objects have been met, and format the data appropriately for manufacturing. Learn more about Capital HarnessXC

The final stages of the wiring systems development process involve the production engineering group. Their role is to embellish the engineering description of the data and prepare the wiring harness data for manufacture. Capital HarnessXC enables planning engineers to automatically select the correct parts to meet engineering design intent, validate that all product objectives have been met, and format the data appropriately for manufacturing. Capital FormboardXC is an integrated tool that automatically creates a full scale representation of the harness. In addition, formboard tooling, including peg locations and part numbers of the pegs is automatically created based on design rule guidelines. Learn more about Capital FormboardXC

  • Automated parts selection capability
  • Weight calculations
  • Extensive list of harness validation checks
  • Automatic creation of full sized harness representation and corresponding formboard
  • Immediately repurposing the view of the design data to reflect various program deliverables