Thursday, April 3, 2008

Education Tools

One of the core values at Local Motors is education. Education of our staff of how to constantly produce better products, do so more efficiently and then to pass what we've learned on to our customers so they can be educated about the car they're purchasing more than any other manufacturer can.

One thing that will help us to educate our customers is a clear description of the parts used to manufacture the car, and how it all goes together. One area of a car where this can get very complicated in a hurry is in the electrical system. Therefore, in my experience, when you are trying to educate a customer on the components of the electrical system and how they all interrelate, having a clear, simple to follow diagram helps a great deal.

One way that we can simplify the electrical system of our cars is to use a new feature in SolidWorks that allows you to use a library of electrical connectors already loaded into the software (you can also add your own to the library) to create wire looms. For example, I created a simple display of this capability by loading an LED light and two ring connectors that were in the library, and sketching the wires that connect them.


From the picture it's a little hard to tell, but the routing can be done in a 3D space. This works great for routing the harness in the chassis so you can be sure that it's away from heat sources etc. You can also use the pre-loaded library of harness clips to represent how the harness will be fastened to the chassis, under the dash etc.

From the 3D model you can automatically create a diagram that's complete with lengths of each wire, connector descriptions and connector end views so if you were to hold the connector in your hand and look at it head on, you could identify the plug. When wiring a car, these connector end view are invaluable as many plugs look similar, but may have a slight difference in pins, color, and wire colors. All of these can be addressed in the connector end view.

Tools like this will allow for more accurate design and more effective education of our customers - probably two of the most important factors in offering a customer experience like no other auto manufacturer can accomplish.

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