Emergency One

Emergency One controls wire harness design complexity and slashes delivery lead times by using a digital design process.

Specialist fire rescue and emergency vehicle manufacturer, Emergency One UK Ltd, uses E3.series software for its electrical harness design. This has enabled the company to produce wire harnesses to standardize the design and manufacturing process reaping, cost savings and reliability benefits, while also delivering flexibility through modular based customization.

Compared to other emergency services vehicles, a fire engine is one of the most advanced vehicles in its class. A vehicle of this nature requires control systems to monitor and control everything from engine speed, electronically controlled pumps, down to whether or not the doors are open, seatbelts are fastened and ladders stowed in place. Emergency One’s standard wiring installation uses two controllers, each with a 154 way connector. Managing this much wiring without an advanced CAD system is nearly impossible, laden with errors and requires extensive rework, considering the number of wires for each project (an Emergency One wiring installation typically has more than 1,000 wires).


“When I first joined Emergency One, we used a generic CAD system and documenting a design was a nightmare. The previous system made us rely heavily on the design work done on the workshop floor. With a standardized wiring set-up this means you don’t require such a highly skilled workforce, as this is all now done within E3.series. For each new design/build, we had to create a brand new design project from scratch. We needed a standardized system that would allow us to create the designs and to deliver data for harness manufacture. E3.series does all this and more.”

The adoption of E3.series has helped the company alleviate the bottleneck typically taking place at the time of electrical wiring installation, which was then causing a delay in the completion of vehicles. There were three main reasons for the bottleneck: the extent of customization involved in each vehicle; not being able to test and verify the electrical system on screen at the design phase; and a limited number of qualified electricians to perform the installations. This called for a solution that would give them the power to identify errors early in the product development process, and deliver high-quality detailed documentation that would reduce the requirement for specialized vehicle installation technicians.

Having common schematics across builds is important for quality and time savings at both the design and manufacture stages, and for the lifelong maintenance of the vehicle. By delivering more detailed information to the wire harness manufacturer, they have also been able to slash lead times for delivery, and achieve other time savings that helps Emergency One get their products to market faster.

Recently the body harness was split into three sections, one for the pump-based section of the harness and another for the two header panels; aiding modular assembly and repair. The object orientated database which sits at the core of E3.series enabled Emergency One to easily split the harness drawings and easily amend the schematics to make this a simple and straightforward update to the designs.

Emergency One has introduced a parameterized program that allows them to create harness templates that only need to be tweaked for each fire engine. Now they simply turn features on and off without having to change the wiring. What was a time-consuming, complete customization process before, is now a platform design approach with custom-made sections. Although each vehicle is customized, about 90% of the wiring is the same.

We have a very sophisticated and all-encompassing system with an advanced control system. With E3.series I am in control of this complexity and it has allowed me to create designs logically.

Graeme ShieldsDesign Manager at Emergency One

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