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Designing Cable Harnesses for Aerospace Applications

Designing Cable Harnesses for Aerospace Applications

Exponential growth and complexity in electronic systems for aerospace platforms means that the Interconnection systems used must be able to perform without any intermittency or failure under extreme temperatures, pressures, physical abrasion and duress. Modern thinking now considers that Electrical Wiring and Interconnection systems (EWIS) should not be defined as a commodity component but recognised as a complex safety critical system.

This makes the design process complex with many factors to be considered. Even though these can be broken down into groups comprising of: -

Required Electrical performance & EMC Tolerance
Required Physical performance
Size and weight constraints
Operating Environment
Required working life
Safety constraints
At the beginning of the design process electrical systems and subsystems are laid out pictorially to represent electrical connectivity. Parameters that describe the operating characteristics of the equipment and signals are added to this. Connectivity, power and signal characteristics, EMC classifications, environmental and operating conditions are overlaid to form a higher level operation specification. The material selection and design can then proceed to the next level to producing drawings & bills of material and preproduction products for trials and qualification.

This increased complexity, new regulatory standards and possible design errors in EWIS can increase risk to programs with timescales slipping and costs escalating. Many prime mil-aero companies are re-evaluating the current internal design, development with sub-contract manufacture scenario in favour of outsourcing to EWIS design, qualification and manufacturing specialists. To aid this process Tekdata’s AS9100C accreditation scope includes: – “The design of interconnection solutions and the qualification, manufacture, test and supply of electrical wiring harnesses including associated electro-mechanical assembly and post-delivery support”.

Many Mil-Aero platforms operate with Tekdata Interconnection Systems designed and manufactured systems. For more information visit

Article first published : 8/8/2014

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