Standardisation of development and production processes in the automotive industry
Dr. Carsten Kübler
TWT GmbH Science & Innovation
Mr. Kuebler is Manager for Smart Drive innovation
Standardisation in the area of wire harness automation
The holistic approaches from all sub-projects (SP) will be incorporated into a DIN standard. On the prompting of the IIWH, the German Institute for Standardisation (DIN) has recognised the need for a standard for wire harnesses automation and has founded a corresponding working group. Other experts from the industry have expressed their interest in the topic and are cooperating with the DIN working group, so that a broad acceptance of a standard is achieved across the IIWH.
Starting point and motivation
Nowadays, there are a set of guidelines, agreed upon by OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and suppliers, for automating the production of wire harnesses in order to achieve a basis for automation. These can vary slightly depending on the OEM and supplier, and are in line with best practices in this field today. The specifications have evolved over time but are not subject to any coordinated process to adapt to the evolving state of the art. With standardisation at DIN, an open, guided and transparent development of automation is achieved through a standard that is also subject to a process of continuous further development. Any market participant can follow this development and shape it constructively.
Due to the increasing growth of E/E components in vehicles, wire harnesses will have to meet ever higher requirements in terms of quality and safety, among other things. Error-free and precise traceability of the components and their creation process will only be achieved through an increase in wire harness automation. In addition, automation reduces human influence factors, enabling wire harness production close to the point where they are fitted into the vehicle. In addition, the definition of data profiles for wire harnesses enables model-based, continuous development and serves to ensure all safety and quality objectives and a continuous use of the data in the IT toolchain deployed.
Current working focuses
The aim is to transfer the fundamentals, methods, processes and rules that have been developed in the sub-projects together into a standard that is internally consistent and to harmonise the work in itself. One important aspect of this is to gradually standardise the complex field of automation. The current focus of the standard being developed is on the concept and development phase as well as the unbundling of complex wire harnesses, which together will be used as the basis for automation. This unbundling will be realised, among other things, by using modular plug connector systems.
In addition, the standard will develop the specifications for digital interoperability in relation to wire harnesses. These will use the KBL (cable harness list) and VEC (vehicle electric container) data formats as a basis and make binding specifications for the implementation of rules.
The current focus of the standard is on low-voltage (LV) wire harnesses in order to be able to control the complexity and diversity of variants and to enable consistent standardisation. This is the first step necessary to standardise the automation of the wire harness. SP0 also deals with the future design of the standard and plans how further topics can be standardised in this standard (family). In the future, high-voltage (HV) and high-frequency (HF) wire harnesses, among others, are to be included in standardisation in addition to LV wire harnesses.