Innovation Initiative

Wire Harness

For the automated production and assembly of the wire harness


Georg Schnauffer


Mr. Schnauffer is a Research Coordinator

Innovation Initiative Wire Harness

What is the IIWH?

The Innovation Initiative Wire Harness (in short: IIWH) has been in existence since 19/07/2019. From OEMs developing wire harnesses to the assemblers who manufacture them, on to machine and component manufacturers as well as research institutions and software suppliers: companies from almost all stages of the value chain have joined forces in the Initiative.

Despite its importance, in some respects, wire harness production is decades behind the state of the art. The wire harness is one of the most complex products in today’s automobiles and is supported by many manual manufacturing steps in production. Cost pressure and the large number of possible individual components and the associated variations have made it impossible thus far to consider automating the wire harness. This is precisely what the IIWH and its partners are addressing right now. Key points such as:

  • Economical and efficient production,
  • Automation,
  • Reduction of component diversity,
  • Process optimisation,
  • Interdisciplinary communication,
  • Greenfield approaches, and the
  • Pursuit and verification of abstract solutions

are playing a leading role in the ‘reinvention’ of the wire harness set for the year 2036.

What do we do?

The basic question posed by the IIWH initiative is:

‘How can, or how should, wire harness production be automated in 2036?’

The on-board electrical system is currently the heaviest single component in a car and, depending on the model, can consist of several thousand individual components. To work out the basics of automation, the partners bring in their extensive competences from the different stages of the value chain, as the challenges being faced require an interdisciplinary approach.

How do we work together?

The start of the sub-projects (SP) also marked the beginning of ‘Phase 1’ of the IIWH. The purpose of this was to concretise the industry’s most urgent challenges within the framework of wire harness automation and to lay the foundations for phase 2. In this subsequent phase, more in-depth work is done on the content, with the overriding goal of creating standards that result in a norm.

The results cover a broad spectrum with respect to the automation of the wire harness. This shows that the automation of the wire harness can only be achieved by adopting a holistic approach.