Wiring harness production: how the future could look
Krailling, November 24 2022 – Wiring harness manufacturers must thoroughly automate their production, otherwise face a loss of competitiveness. DiIT describes how this could be achieved.
In contrast to many other wire processing sectors, many manual processes are still used in wiring harness production. Although wire cutting is highly-automated, wiring harnesses are then generally pre-assembled manually and their final assembly is even performed completely by hand – mostly in best-cost countries.
These manual processes are preventing the digitalization of the sector that is urgently required. They are also impeding the continuous collection and processing of data without which wiring harness manufacturers cannot meet the increasing requirements of automotive groups for product quality and traceability.
This means that manufacturers have no alternative but to increase automation. DiIT, a specialist for integrated software systems used in wiring harness production, explains what the future could look like for wiring harness production:
- Standards. One of the main reasons for the low level of automation is the lack of standardization in the wiring harness sector. Therefore, it absolutely has to find a way to define which components can be automated. These standards must drastically reduce the variance in components such as wires, contact parts and connectors and completely exclude use of those components such as shrink tubing or seals which cannot be automated.
- Robots. Using these standards as a basis, wiring harness manufacturers can then convert their process chains piece by piece to full automation of production. One particularly big challenge in this regard is the final assembly of wiring harnesses on the assembly board. One obvious way of automating this process step is to use robots.
- Relocation. To date it has not been commercially viable to use robots for the final assembly of wiring harnesses. However, rising wages in best-cost countries could change the calculation. Added to this are geopolitical distortions and the increasing risk of failure of suppliers there. Robotized final assembly in the immediate vicinity of automotive manufacturers could in future be more cost-effective and more secure than current practice.
“The cornerstone for wiring harness production is standardization. Wiring harnesses must be designed to enable their automated production,” explains Bernd Jost, Managing Director of DiIT. “However, the industry can only accomplish this challenge together because it goes against the previous competitive principles of wiring harness manufacturers. Companies must come together and jointly develop fit-for-purpose automation standards.”
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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