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(continued...) The Geometry Tab on the Wire Properties Dialog Box displays associated properties such as SignalName, wire diameter and conductor diameter.
The next stage is to add channels or routing paths using the Insert Channel Mode by point and click creation of 3D control points.
These can be subsequently constrained to other geometry including routing through clamps or holes.
Large numbers of wires can be routed quickly using the Auto-Router that looks for the shortest channel path between the endpoints of each wire.
Wires can be routed automatically as few applications require an understanding of the exact wire position within a bundle since in manufacture there is usually little control over the wire position so a centreline approximation is sufficient.
Wire length can then be calculated as the sum of centreline lengths of all channels the wire passes through plus an allowance for exposed stubs at each end of the wire.
Bundle diameters are calculated using a custom algorithm that packs the wires into a round pattern taking into account the air-space between wires.
Channel curves are swept into SolidWorks geometry in order to show their true diameter.
Whenever the channel geometry is updated wire lengths also update.
Although the true pictorial view can be useful, wires can also be shown as simple curves rather than 3D SolidWorks sweeps as in complex harnesses the performance overhead can be considerable.