How the wiring harness of the future could look like
Krailling, September 10, 2019 – What sort of an impact will electrification, autonomous driving and trends such as shared mobility have on wiring harnesses in cars? DiIT examines three possible scenarios.
The huge changes seen in the automotive industry have not passed manufacturers of wiring harnesses by without a trace. Quite the opposite in fact – in the electrified, driverless, networked cars of the future, their products will play a key role. All energy and communication flows for the new functions will run via these harnesses. However, this will also lead to some fundamental changes to the wiring harnesses themselves. They will look different and also have a different structure compared to today’s versions. DiIT – a specialist for integrated software systems used in wiring harness production – examines three possible scenarios.
1. The wiring harnesses become larger. Logically, the electrification of cars will first and foremost lead to an increase in the amount of cables. The more electric parts and functions, the more sensors, switches and cables are needed. Additionally, autonomous driving also requires redundant systems for safety reasons. In a similar way to aircraft systems, critical functions must be safeguarded several times over. Should a switch or contact fail, this is the only way to ensure that another takes its place and correct functionality is maintained. However, the wiring harnesses then become in-creasingly heavy and more chaotic. This would have a detrimental effect on the energy efficiency of the car and make troubleshooting and rectifying the cause of errors more difficult.
2. The wiring harnesses are redesigned. For these reasons, it could occur that the wiring harnesses are given a completely different architecture. While they currently connect all components directly to one another, a backbone topology is one possible option for the future. The complete energy and communication flow would then run via a central layer of cables that is installed in the floor of the vehicle, for example. This layer can then be connected to the individual components via smaller individual wiring harnesses. As the components share a joint backbone in this system, numerous connections can be dispensed with, meaning the wiring harness is then lighter and much clearer.
3. Customized wiring harnesses are no longer needed. As end customers – at least those in Europe – usually configure their cars individually, customized wiring harnesses are usually seen here. Virtually every wiring harness is produced in a batch size of one nowadays. If the shared mobility trend eventually gains broad acceptance, this situation may fundamentally change. Major mobility service providers may then make thousands of identical vehicles available with all conceivable functions installed as standard. The individual drivers then have the option of activating certain func-tions as desired using the “pay per use” model – such as four-wheel drive for a ski weekend, a specific infotainment system for their passengers or extended rechargeable battery life in case of traffic jams.
“Regardless of where the journey will end, one thing is clear. Wiring harnesses are turning from a purely price-driven commodity product into a safety-critical, quality-driven strategic purchased part. The manufacturers will then be faced with very different requirements from OEMs in terms of quality, documentation and traceability,” explains Bernd Jost, managing director of DiIT GmbH. “It will only be possible to meet these requirements through further digitization. The wiring harness manufacturers need software solutions that offer flexible support in the seamless transition to other manu-facturing processes and designs, and also allow for a quick reaction to changing requirements, regardless of how far down the line the manufacturer is in their transformation process.”
DiIT GmbH, based in Krailling near Munich, is the world’s leading provider of integrated software solutions for manufacturing execution (MES), customized wire harness production and logistics. DiIT‘s competencies are bundled in the “4Wire Solutions” software suite, which is primarily used for the production of wire harnesses and wiring systems in the automotive industry and other industrial sectors. By digitalizing the value chains, the company‘s innovative software optimizes and controls complex manufacturing and logistics processes and supports quality assurance and traceability. DiIT was founded in 1990 and has a subsidiary in Berlin. DiIT is also represented in the key markets Mexico and China. The company offers a comprehensive services package to both large and small customers which covers consulting, project management and customized implementation and training. The DiIT support line is available during 24 hours and 365 days. DiIT is a wholly-owned, independently managed company of the Schleuniger Group. Schleuniger is a globally active technology company and a leading solution supplier in the wire processing industry.
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