Numerical simulation of wire harnesses.

Numerical calculation tool, wire harnesses, efficient product development

Cables must reliably serve their purpose.

The increasing demands on new products and the growing challenges in global competition require cost- and time-efficient development processes. In the European ITEA3 project IDEaliSM, partners from business and science have dealt with the implementation of a development environment for multidisciplinary design optimization.

Challenges in the design of wire harnesses

The demands on wire harnesses increase with every new generation of vehicles as more and more functions are integrated or electrified. The available installation space is also reduced due to more compact design and the increasing number of components. Particularly in the case of thicker harnesses with many branches or tight bending radii, it is often impossible to design and produce the wire harnesses as desired.  

Finite element model of a wire harness, deformed and undeformed state under bending load.


Comparison between measured and simulated wire harness stiffnesses.


Multidisciplinary design optimization

Simulation-based development in the design phase can help to reduce iterations as well as development costs and times. Work carried out in the IDEaliSM project contributes to the holistic and integrative use of information technologies such as computer-aided design, product data management, simulation and multidisciplinary design optimization in the product development of wire harnesses. Fraunhofer LBF develops and validates numerical models to mechanically describe the flexible components of the wire harnesses which efficiently and reliably map the real behavior in the composite.

Interface to existing data models

To ensure connection to calculation tools already commercially available, such as laying simulation software, generation of the model is based on the structured and standardized wire harness descriptions of the VEC format (vehicle electric container). Based on this data structure, finite element models are generated by means of a recursive modeling process. The program code is generated in APDL (ANSYS parametric design language) and ANSYS Workbench and the numerical calculations are performed automatically. 

Sponsors and partners

The work was carried out within the ITEA3 project IDEaliSM (#13040). Fraunhofer LBF was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
IDEaliSM project partners: Airbus Defence & Space, TU Delft, DLR, Dräxlmaier, Fokker Aerostructures, Fokker Elmo, IDEC, IILS, Jotne, KE-works, KU Leuven, Noesis, University of Stuttgart