If a wire develops a fault, the car stops
Krailling, March 9, 2023 – Electric, networked, self-driving: The upheavals in the automotive sector have considerable impacts on manufacturers of wiring harnesses. DiIT explains the challenges they have to overcome.
The electrified, networked and self-driving car is changing the automotive sector for the long-term. As a result, many suppliers are now in difficulties. Indeed, the long-term existence of manufacturers of mechanical parts such as components for petrol motors or assemblies is even under threat. It is totally the opposite for manufacturers of wiring harnesses because their products are becoming more and more important. This opens up huge new business opportunities to them, but also confronts them with new challenges. DiIT – a specialist for integrated software systems used in wiring harness production – examines the four biggest challenges.
- Automation: Wiring harnesses are used for running an increasing number of energy, signal and communication flows that support safety-critical functions such as steering, lane changes or braking. Accordingly, OEM requirements for the traceability and quality of wiring harnesses are also increasing. Manufacturers can only meet these through digitalization. They must be able to supply the OEM with the necessary data and monitor and optimize the quality of their products by evaluating the production data. The essential precondition for this is the further automation of their production. Reliable data collection and processing is not possible due to the many semi-manual and manual processes still in place.
- High-voltage wiring harnesses: The breakthrough of e-mobility has led to a rapidly increasing requirement for high-voltage wiring harnesses. These are usually produced in parallel to the wiring harness. In their production there are many commonalities, yet also many differences. For instance, high-voltage wiring harnesses require the processing of complex multicore wires equipped with additional shielding. They are also mainly manufactured in small batches and are subject to particularly high quality and traceability requirements. A production fault in a high-voltage wiring harness can lead to vehicle downtime.
- Data wires: Automotive manufacturers are equipping their vehicles with more and more convenience and driver assistance systems. This has increased their demand for unshielded twisted pair (UTP) wires for data transmission. These wires consist of two isolated copper cables which are twisted together as protection against electric and magnetic interference fields. In order to ensure the required data transfer quality, wiring harness manufacturers must produce wires reliably. For very stable impedance and low runtime differences between the twisted wires, a constant and continuous shock length, a compact and tight helix as well as the precise sizing of individual wire lengths are required.
- Zonal architectures: It is logical that electrification, networking and autonomous driving are requiring more and more wires in vehicles. Wiring harnesses are therefore becoming heavier and more chaotic. This has an adverse impact on the energy efficiency of the car and makes troubleshooting more difficult. This is why OEMs are increasingly using zonal approaches in the design of wiring harnesses. This involves bringing different vehicle areas together via a zonal computer and connecting them via a high-performance backbone to the main computer. Zonal computers act as integration modules here and consolidate part of the previous control devices. As a result, total wire lengths are reduced, the weight of the wiring harness decreases and it becomes much more transparent.
“When wiring harness manufacturers overcome these challenges, their future prospects are very bright,” explains Bernd Jost, Managing Director of DiIT. “The chances of this are good because machinery manufacturers are working on solutions to enable a continuous automation of production processes including automated wire assembly of high-voltage and data wires. A VDMA working group is also developing an interface standard on the basis of the OPC/UA industry standard. This will enable wiring harness manufacturers in future to connect quickly and efficiently to superordinate software systems for the documentation and control of production and thereby meet the increasing requirements for traceability and quality.
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. Part of the Komax Group, DiIT operates as an autonomous company. Komax is a global technology group and a leading supplier in the wire processing industry.
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