Change History

Id Subject Date
Latest Commit Did major rework of the complete implementation guideline for wires. 2021-04-14
KBLFRM-953  Complete restructuring of the guideline according to comments in the review of KBLFRM-953. Clarification of the guideline for layering of wire elements in multicore. Integration of additional samples. 2021-04-14
KBLFRM-1032  Added an XML example for the structure of a complex wire 2021-03-17
KBLFRM-953  Adapted to structural changes of wires in VEC version 1.2.0 2020-10-29

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This page or section resolves KBLFRM-953

This Implementation Guideline covers the various aspects of a correct wire representation in the VEC for different scenarios and variants of wires. It covers both multi cores and single cores.

The VEC contains model elements for the representation of wires which would not be strictly necessary for the exclusive representation of single core wires. However, single core wire elements with the same specification can occur in both, single and multi-core wires. In order to achieve a consistent representation of all cases in the model and in order to allow the reuse of data elements, a uniform modelling approach was chosen for single and multicore wires. At the first glance, this may seem unnecessarily complicated in the case of single core wires, but it simplifies the mapping of wires in the VEC on the long run, when all kinds of wires and not only single-cores have to be supported.

Specifying the Elements of a Wire

In the world of the VEC, a wire is a hierarchical structure of wire elements. A wire element can be any node in the hierarchy that has to be addressed individually for the definition of specific properties. A wire element can be manifested either by physical material (e.g. a core, an insulation, a shield) or by the logical necessity for the definition of certain product properties during the production process (e.g. a grouping for twisted pairs).

The properties of wire elements are defined with a WireElementSpecification (see the figure below).

Wire Element Specification

The WireElementSpecification is a generic node in the hierarchical structure of a wire. The hierarchy represents the real structure of wire from the outside to inside. For example, if an insulation is placed around two cores, the cores are sub elements of the insulation. Subordinated elements in the structure are defined by referencing subWireElementSpecifications. The actual technical properties of a wire element are defined by referencing a corresponding auxiliary specifications. For example (see the Diagram Wire in the recommendation for a complete list):

The auxiliary specifications can be shared between different WireElementSpecification. For example, in the real world all FLRY wires with a specific cross section area have the same properties for the core. This can (not a must) be expressed in the VEC by sharing the same CoreSpecification.

In reality, a specified wire element can be used in different contexts. For example, a white single core can be used as individual single core wire or as part of several different multi core wires. It can even be used multiple times as part of the same multi core (compare CAT7 twisted pair cables that might contain up to 4 similar white cores). To represent this fact, the WireElementSpecification itself is also designed to be reusable.

From the individual Elements to a whole Wire

From a part master data perspective, the WireElementSpecification is sufficient to describe a wire with all its aspects, when navigating from the root wire element to its leaves. However, the ability to reuse WireElementSpecifications comes with draw back:

Referencing a WireElementSpecification does not unambiguously define the context of its usage.

The following figure shall illustrate this. The red lines are hypothetical associations for the demonstration of the problem. In the VEC those associations do not exist, because of the described problem the actual model is different.

When navigating from a part master data perspective (e.g. PartVersion AComposite-Wire BWhite-Core) the context is unambiguously defined by the navigation path. However, when referencing such wire element from somewhere else in the model, indicated with the RoutedWire rectangle, the context is not defined unambiguously. It is not clear to which white core the association from the RoutedWire refers to, indicated by the red lines.

Ambigious Context Problem

To solve this dilemma, the VEC introduced the WireSpecification and the WireElement. The WireSpecification is the PartOrUsageRelatedSpecification of a wire and the mandatory root of any wire (element) that can be used as an individual component. It references the root WireElement and the root WireElementSpecification.

The WireElement is the context specific handle of a WireElementSpecification in a specific WireSpecification (primarily needed for multi cores, but due to a consistent modelling approach also mandatory for single cores). The WireElements are used as a target for references.

Every WireElementSpecification referenced transitively by the root WireElementSpecification of a WireSpecification requires a corresponding WireElement in the same WireSpecification. Care must be taken to ensure that the hierarchies defined by the WireElement and the WireElementSpecification are consistent with each other.

The redundant replication of the wire hierarchy within the WireElements is necessary, because without this hierarchy wires with multiple occurrences of the same WireElementSpecification within the wire could not be represented consistently (see KBLFRM-949 ).

Definition of a Single Core

Single Core Specification

The figure above illustrates the representation of a single core wire in the VEC. The WireSpecification is the PartOrUsageRelatedSpecification describing a PartVersion. Each WireSpecification has a single root WireElementSpecification that defines the actual properties and the structure of the wire, and a single root WireElement that serves as the context specific handle of the WireElementSpecification (see above).

In theory, there are two possible representations for single cores in the VEC (see the figure below). A minimal representation, where the single core is represented by one wire element with conducting and insulating properties at the same time, and a more extensive one, where the single core is represented by two hierarchical wire elements, one for the insulation and one for the actual core.

It is recommended for single cores to use always the minimal representation of the WireElementSpecification. Otherwise the number of objects and structures in the model are inflated without additional information or benefits.
Minimal Representation vs. non-compliant Representation

Definition of a Multicore Wire

Multicore Example Illustration

The figure on the right illustrates a “simple” multicore wire, that will serve as an example for the following sections. It consists of two single cores of different colouring that form a twisted pair: “A”, a green one and “B” a blue one. Around the twisted pair is a shielding (braiding or foil) and an outer insulation (sheath).

The figure below displays the structural representation of the example in the terms of the VEC. On the left side is the WireSpecification with its contained WireElement.s To emphasis the hierarchical containment of the WireElements, which can also be found in the XML structure, they are represented with nested boxes. On the right side are the WireElementSpecification. Corresponding WireElements and WireElementSpecifications are highlighted in the same colours. The technical properties of the WireElementSpecification are defined in the referenced auxiliary specifications.

Multicore Specification

Notable things in this example:

  1. The specification of the smallest elements of the multicore, the single cores (one outlined in red), is similar to the specification of an individual single core. It could even be the same WireElementSpecification.
  2. Since the only difference between Core “A” & “B” is the different insulation colouring, they share the same CoreSpecification.
  3. The different layers around the two cores (twisting, shielding, insulation) are represented by individual WireElement / WireElementSpecification. This is in contrast to the single core where insulation and conductor are represented by a single WireElement / WireElementSpecification.
Cutaway diagram of a shielded multicore cable with four cores each with three individual conductors
Open Electrical, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The last point requires a somewhat more detailed explanation. Why does the multicore representation differ in this aspect from the single core representation?

As discussed earlier: for single cores a minimized representation shall be used, because otherwise the model gets unnecessarily bloated. However, multicores can be inherently complex (see “Cutaway Diagram…” on the left). Using a minimized representation in multicores for others than the smallest elements ( the single cores) would create wide open space for ambiguous interpretations.

For example, having a WireElementSpecification with a ShieldSpecification and an InsulationSpecification: What is the order of layering? Which one comes first? Another example, a foil shield in combination with a braiding and an insulation. A WireElementSpecification could only carry one ConductorSpecification, so one of the two shieldings get individual wire element, whereas the other one is combined with the insulation. Isn’t that inconsistent? And these are just two problematic cases and many more are conceivable. To avoid this confusion, the following applies for multicores:

In contrast to single cores, WireElementSpecifications of higher levels (not single cores used in a multicore) shall only represent one Character / Element / Property in the multicore. WireElementSpecification that have a grouping, conducting, insulating or similar character at the same time are not permitted.

Another reason for not using a minimized representations for higher level multicore wire elements is, that most manufacturing processes require the individual identification of the different elements (e.g. shield an insulation) and those are often processed in different manufacturing steps.

XML Listing

The following is a XML listing of the VEC representation of the multicore example illustration. The listing is a schema valid VEC. However, for the sake of the simplicity of the example it just contains the most fundamental properties. The Identification values for the Specifications are chosen in a way to make the example more readable. In a productive VEC the Identification-values would be defined in an appropriate way for the creating process.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<vec:VecContent xmlns:vec="http://www.prostep.org/ecad-if/2011/vec"
    xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" id="id_0001">
    <DocumentVersion id="id_1">
        <CompanyName>ACME Inc.</CompanyName>
        <!-- Auxiliary specifications for the multicore -->
        <Specification id="id_1_1" xsi:type="vec:InsulationSpecification">
            <BaseColor id="id_1_1_0001">
        <Specification id="id_1_2" xsi:type="vec:ShieldSpecification">
            <CrossSectionArea id="id_1_2_0001">
        <Specification id="id_1_3" xsi:type="vec:WireGroupSpecification">
            <LengthOfTwist id="id_1_3_0001">
        <!-- Auxiliary specifications for the two single cores -->
        <Specification id="id_2_1" xsi:type="vec:CoreSpecification">
            <CrossSectionArea id="id_2_1_0001">
        <Specification id="id_2_2" xsi:type="vec:InsulationSpecification">
            <BaseColor id="id_2_2_0001">
        <Specification id="id_3_2" xsi:type="vec:InsulationSpecification">
            <BaseColor id="id_3_2_0001">
        <!-- Buttom Up definition of the WireElementSpecification (from single cores to Multicore) -->
        <Specification id="id_4_1" xsi:type="vec:WireElementSpecification">
        <Specification id="id_4_2" xsi:type="vec:WireElementSpecification">
        <Specification id="id_4_3" xsi:type="vec:WireElementSpecification">
            <SubWireElementSpecification>id_4_1 id_4_2</SubWireElementSpecification>
        <Specification id="id_4_4" xsi:type="vec:WireElementSpecification">
        <Specification id="id_4_5" xsi:type="vec:WireElementSpecification">
        <!-- WireSpecification with WireElemnts -->
        <Specification id="id_5_0" xsi:type="vec:WireSpecification">
            <Identification>Multi-Core WireSpecification</Identification>
            <WireElement id="id_5_1">
                <SubWireElement id="id_5_2">
                    <SubWireElement id="id_5_3">
                        <SubWireElement id="id_5_4">
                            <SubWireElement id="id_5_5">
                            <SubWireElement id="id_5_6">
    <PartVersion id="id_2">
        <CompanyName>ACME Inc.</CompanyName>
    <Unit id="id_unit_mm2" xsi:type="vec:SIUnit">
    <Unit id="id_unit_mm" xsi:type="vec:SIUnit">

Special Cases of Wires

Ribbon Cables

Ribbon cables (grey stripped, and rainbow with IDC connector)
Heron 21:16, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

The figure on the left shows two variants of ribbon cables. As can be easily seen, in such a cable the same cores are present several times on the same level of the hierarchy. This is one of the cases referred to in “From the individual Elements to a whole Wire” that require the definition of individual WireElements where the WireElementSpecification alone would not be sufficient.

The figure below displays the structural representation of the example in terms of the VEC.

Specification of a Ribbon Cable in the VEC

The illustration represents a five-core ribbon cable. On the left is the WireSpecification with its contained WireElement, on the right side the WireElementSpecifications. The ribbon cable consists of one red core and 4 identical grey cores. Therefore there are only two WireElementSpecifications for the cores, one for the red core and one for all grey cores. To define explicitly that the ribbon cable consists of 5 cores, the Root-WireElementSpecification references the single Grey-Core four times as subWireElementSpecification.

In the WireSpecification there are individual WireElements for each core (Core: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Since the VEC does not define the geometric arrangement of subWireElements within a WireElement the four grey cores have to be identified with their respective identification (e.g. 2 - 5).


Shielded STP cable
Original: Uwe Schwöbel (de:Datei:SSTP-Kabel.png)English translation: Deelkar (en:File:S-STP-cable.png)Vector conversion: Svgalbertian, GFDL http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html, via Wikimedia Commons
Ru wiki, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The figures on the right side illustrate cases of more complex mulitcore wires. For example Category 7 Ethernet cables according to ISO/IEC 11801 2nd Ed. (2002). These consist of a multilayer structure of conductors with insulation, twisting and different shielding.

Remarkable is that each pair of cores consists of a primary coloured core and a primary/white coloured core (e.g. blue and blue/white). However, in reality the primary colour on the primary/white core is often omitted, as it is unambiguously identifiable due to its twisting & shielding together with the primary coloured core in the cable. So the blue/white core is often actually just a plain white core. Therefore, such a multicore cable can consist of four primary coloured cores and 4 identical white coloured cores.

The figure below displays the structural representation of the example in terms of the VEC. In order to achieve a rudimentary clear representation, the auxiliary specifications for the WireElementSpecification have been omitted. For the same reason, the twisted-pairs 3 & 4 have omitted as well.

Specification of a CAT7 S/FTP Cable in the VEC

Again, on the left side is the WireSpecification with its contained WireElement, on the right side the WireElementSpecifications. It is worth noting that the white cores are represented by a single WireElementSpecification, whereas each is represented by an individual WireElements.