The automation of wiring harness production is no longer wishful thinking
Krailling, November 23, 2023 – Sophisticated automation technology, automatable designs, digital standards: DiIT describes why consistent automation of wiring harness production is now within reach.
The production of wiring harnesses still involves many manual work steps. However, electrification, Connected Car and Autonomous Driving are making wiring harnesses more and more complex and also increasingly safety-critical. This is why manufacturers must consistently automate their production – otherwise in future they will no longer be able to ensure cost-effective, robust and flexible production nor be able to reliably collect and process the data required for quality assurance and traceability.
Until now there have been three main factors impeding consistent automation, namely a lack of sophisticated automation technology, wiring harness product designs that could not be automated and an absence of digital standards. However, these obstacles are now being increasingly removed. DiIT – a specialist for integrated software systems used in wiring harness production explains that the necessary changes are now taking place in all three areas:
1. Sophisticated automation technology. In order to reduce the weight and complexity of wiring harnesses, all components are no longer directly wired to each other, but some stand-alone harnesses are now being produced and installed in cars as one entity. Machine manufacturers have already developed new automation solutions which enable wiring harness producers to produce such stand-alone wiring harnesses in a highly-automated manner.
2. Automatable architecture. Companies in the wiring harness sector are jointly defining standards which dramatically reduce component variance and exclude those components that cannot be automated. At the same time OEMs are increasingly pursuing zonal approaches which, to further reduce the complexity and weight of wiring harnesses, divide the vehicle into zones which use individual stand-alone sub-zone wiring harnesses.
3. Digital Standards. A VDMA working group is developing an interface standard on the basis of the OPC/UA industry standard for the wiring harness sector aimed at connecting machines quickly and efficiently to software systems such as ERP and MES. A funded cooperation project is also working on a standardized information model which consistently maps the engineering and the complete product life cycle of wiring harnesses.
“In the medium term, wiring harness producers will be able to automate their processes consistently. However, they can start their journey in this direction today and increase their level of automation step by step,” explains Bernd Jost, Managing Director of DiIT. “They now have the opportunity to produce common stand-alone wiring harnesses in a highly automated manner. The more frequently zonal architectures are installed in cars, the more of these wiring harnesses they can produce which will then support production with continuously improving control software.”
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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