Production process

and means

Production equipment for the automation of wire harness production.



A rolling TPL-system of TP-participants will be applied for this subproject.

Production process and means

The objective is a traceable, efficient production process that can be reproduced at any time and that can dispense with human intervention wherever possible.

Sub-project 6 focuses on the core processes of wire harness production and how they are typically physically interlinked. The majority of these current processes are carried out with the help of the so-called building board (cable forming board), so that the possibilities for future design certainly represent an important object of investigation. But also the processes upstream of the building board, such as materials provision, the pre-assembly of individual lines or sub-modules, as well as downstream processes, such as foaming, wrapping and testing, and the production equipment used in the process, such as jigs and machines, are to be included in the considerations of this sub-project.

Starting point and motivation

The production of the wire harness is the core process of the assemblers. The wire harness and most of the individual processes are specified by Tier1/2 or the OEMs. Nowadays, cable harness production is based primarily on a foundation of manual value creation, with all the corresponding consequences. Due to the diversity of parts and complexity and cheaply available labour in the best-cost countries of the regions, this manual production is still economical.

The core area of production is the so-called building board, which is optimised to meet the requirements of manual production. It provides the employees on the production lines with important information about the routing of the cables as well as the components such as plug connectors, clips and brackets using colours, cross-sections and other aids in order to ensure the most error-free production possible despite the high complexity and almost unmanageable number of variants. Due to influencing factors such as traceability for safety-relevant parts and ever increasing complexity, this production principle is getting to its limits. Moreover, employees who can manage this level of complexity are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Automation of production is the most promising approach to address these challenges. To achieve this, the production equipment and components as well as the processes must be examined and adapted to support the traceability and automation of the production process.

Current working focuses

Sub-project 6 focuses on analysing the production process and the (currently) used means of production. Since the competitive demarcation of wire harness production nowadays mainly takes place via the concatenation and execution of the production sequence and means of production, the so-called bill of process (BOP), and these cannot be discussed internally within the company and therefore precompetitively, a generally valid process flow of wire harness production from the demonstrator of SP 08 was used and now serves as the basis of this analysis.

The following fields of action (work packages) have been identified for SP 06 and are currently being worked on:

  • Analysis of commonalities with the other sub-projects
  • Evaluation of the current wire harness production process and its opportunities for automation

Recommendations for the different stages of the value chain in the form of categorisation of automation obstacles


The vision of defining a completely automated manufacturing process for the production of wire harnesses, starting from the receipt of raw materials to the delivery of the end product, is supported by this sub-project: the findings of SP6 result in further work packages, which are defined in sub-projects 1, 2 and 3 in the form of additional design guidelines for the avoidance or circumvention of automation obstacles and are introduced into the emerging standard DIN 72036. Furthermore, a kind of “innovation stock” is created for tasks still to be solved on the side of the means of production, which cannot be defined within the framework of the sub-project for precompetitive reasons, but which flows back to the participants as valuable input.