We use SolidWorks Routing. Here are our experiences so far.
3D Cables & Harnesses:
The software has definitely helped us determine wire lengths much
faster than previous methods. Along with this, showing the harness in
the assembly has really helped our technicians during the building
process. With the use of Connection Points, creating 3D routes are
relatively easy and fast.
The reference designators for electrical components are base on the
part name inside the cable/harness assembly. To accommodate this, you
have to turn off "Update component names when documents are replaced"
under Tools->Options->External References. You then rename your
component as J1, J2, etc. This really needs to be changed. I have
submitted an Enhancement Request to have the ability to assign
component instances in the assemblies' reference properties which
could be used for electrical reference designators. If you use the
Excel import option to create your harness, it does all of the renaming
and individual conductor selection for you. The only draw back with
this method is that modifying it seems to be cumbersome. (I haven't
exactly figured out how to modify a cable that was brought in through
the excel import. Haven't had much time to play with it.)
2D Cable documentation (Harnessboard):
This portion of the software has not functioned as well for us as the
3D functions. We have had some performance issues when trying to
document complex cables. It has been reported to SolidWorks as should
be fixed in the next service pack. (I hope...)
If you connect a cable or harness to a terminal block that doesn't
reside in the cable/harness assembly, the Harness Bill of Materials
still wants to include the terminal block. If you remove it, it comes
back the next time you open the file. If you turn off table updating,
then you have just killed the main reason for having a cable drawing
linked to your 3D cable.
The Harnessboard drawing doesn't seem to like it when you move a
harness assembly down into a subassembly.
Creation of the harnessboard drawings in general is very strange. You
have to create the drawing from the top level assembly that the harness
assembly resides in. I have also experienced some unexplained errors
that I simply haven't had time to track down.
The Connector pin views have to be created as a SolidWorks Drawing
Block and reside in a SolidWorks Drawing file as part of your library.
If you are generating your connector pin views from 3D models, you have
to create a SolidWorks drawing. Then save it as a DWG/DXF. Then
reopen the DWG/DXF and create the block entity. After that you have to
save the SolidWorks Drawing containing the block to a specific
directory. This can be time consuming for several connectors...
In my opinion, the 3D portion is great. We have seen time savings and
many benefits from using it. The 2D portion has not been implemented
into our Cable Drawing Production and won't be until the performance
issues and BOM and Circuit Summary issues are ironed out. I like the
method of showing electrical connections from pin to pin via the
circuit summary and we have pretty much made this our standard.
I hope this helps...