In our industry, some challenges are universal. 

Whether you work in wire harness manufacturing or wire harness design. Whether your industry is automotive, aerospace or retail. Whether you help create coffee machines or mobile phones. Your success depends on saving time and money. And this is directly related to the way you manage precision, efficiency and compliance.

For example, a typical 5% wastage results in a loss of $150,000 on a $3 million program.

There are six key wire harness industry challenges that have the potential to stand in the way of you saving time and money. Let’s consider what they are and why they’re important. We’ll then look at how our smartBuild system can help you meet these challenges today, and into the future.

Challenge 1: increase accuracy

Today’s wire harnesses are complex, with intricate designs that require the precise specification of parts, cutting, splicing and crimping. 80-85% of a wire harness is still handmade and even minor human errors can result in a malfunction or the final product failing. 

The higher the level of accuracy, the lower the risk of costly reworks or product recalls, and the more stable the electrical systems in safety-critical products like cars and aircraft.

Challenge 2: detect defects early

Detecting defects early in the manufacturing process is crucial in preventing errors spreading through the production line and ensuring that faulty wire harnesses don’t reach the final assembly.

The earlier you can detect defects by implementing quality control and advanced testing procedures, the more time, money and resources you’ll save. 

Challenge 3: ensure greater efficiency

Our industry is known for its high demand, low margins and tight deadlines, exacerbated by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine disrupting supply chains and driving up component prices. Remaining competitive in all areas now relies on greater wire harness efficiency in the production process.

The more you streamline processes and automate certain tasks, the lower your waste and costs, and the faster you can deliver products without compromising on quality.

Challenge 4: improve traceability

Part of harness production optimization is being able to track every component and every process in the manufacturing stage. This allows you to pinpoint the source of any defect and put it right.

The more you improve traceability, the more effectively you can manage any recalls and the better your compliance with industry standards and regulations.

Challenge 5: remain consistently compliant

When you work in the wire harness industry, complying with industry standards and regulations is non-negotiable. It’s your responsibility to stay informed about the latest regulations and standards. For example, knowing that ISO 26262 requires a certain level of redundancy in wire harnesses for autonomous vehicles.

The ability to comply with industry standards not only ensures the safety, reliability and quality of your harness assembly solution, but also reinforces your reputation in the market.

Challenge 6: ensure close integration

Advanced wire harness systems rely on every part and person in the process working holistically, from the design software to the clients and suppliers.

The closer the integration, the better the communication, the quicker your response to changes or issues and the more efficient and accurate your production process is. Particularly pertinent in industries like automotive and aerospace where a wire harness needs to meet the most exacting safety-related requirements.

The added challenge of future proofing 

It’s not just the here and now you need to consider. Our industry is growing rapidly. Transparency Market Research forecasts that the wire harness market will be $136.7 billion by 2031.

It’s an exciting future, but also equals higher demand, increased complexity, smaller margins and tighter deadlines:

  • Automotive electrical and electronic features mean wire harnesses are more complex
  • Autonomous car camera technologies add the need for new data cables
  • Electrification presents a demand for weight and space saving

In short, finding new ways to drive time and cost reductions in wire harnesses has never been so important. Which is where smartBuild comes in.

smartBuild is up to the challenge
smartBuild is a revolutionary cloud-based testing system. Its unique strength lies in its ability to bridge the gap between the digital and physical realms, enabling your business to evolve and adapt to the challenges ahead. The advanced technology in its software and hardware works seamlessly together to reduce waste by testing at every build stage, making you more profitable by streamlining and modernizing your entire wire harness manufacturing process.

Let’s look at the difference it makes to our wastage stat:

  • Without smartBuild, a typical 5% wastage results in a loss of $150,000 on a $3 million program
  • With smartBuild, all harnesses are tested before they leave the formboards and reduce wastage to 0%

Now let’s look at how it works to meet each of our six wire harness industry challenges:

  1. smartBuild increases accuracy 

It uses predefined templates, guided assembly instructions and test scripts so that each step is performed consistently and precisely. By standardizing processes and utilizing automation, smartBuild minimizes the chance of human error to ensure the accuracy of your manufacturing and testing procedures.

  1. smartBuild detects defects early

It records real-time data during assembly and testing so you can quickly identify any anomalies or defects. By testing every single harness on the formboard, any defects can be corrected there and then, without the additional production costs of setting it up again.

  1. smartBuild ensures greater efficiency

It streamlines the entire wire harness manufacturing process from design to production, with automated script generation and centralized control. smartBuild’s compact test hardware uses small cables, connecting headers and test connectors improve your efficiency. You benefit from faster production cycles, reduced lead times, optimized resource utilization and enhanced operational productivity.

  1. smartBuild improves traceability

Concurrent testing of your wire harness enables you to capture comprehensive data at every stage of the manufacturing process to provide a detailed history of each harness. By automatically generating and storing data, it allows you to use AI tools to identify patterns and suggest future improvements.

  1. smartBuild remains consistently compliant

It allows for standardized processes, script templates and centralized control to ensure that all factories work to the same standards and compliance measures. By performing certain tests and keeping results for auditing where necessary, the system ensures you maintain the standard. 

  1. smartBuild ensures close integration

It integrates seamlessly with Arcadia for wire harness design and provides a unified platform for managing wire harness manufacturing, quality control and inventory. By sharing information across different stages of production, smartBuild enhances collaboration and reduces costly delays.

In a nutshell

At the heart of smartBuild beats an organizational management feature. This allows you to define roles and responsibilities, from managers and technicians to assemblers and QA teams. Saving you time and money so your team can concentrate on doing what you do best, even better.

Get early access to smartBuild
Register your interest now to get early access to smartBuild. Find out more here.