Due to the fact that they’re so unique and complex, cable harnesses are still assembled manually in many companies. Production is often relocated to low-wage countries as well to keep costs low. This is a risky strategy for manufacturing companies given the accelerating rate of climate change worldwide and uncertain political events. What’s the solution? Innovative automation technologies in the Smart Factory, of course!
Reducing the number of manual tasks, increasing automation - digital transformation allows companies to benefit in a variety of ways: More efficient and cost-effective production, improved product quality and safety, ensuring that customer satisfaction is as high as it possibly can be as well. At the same time, smart technologies offer enormous potential for bringing manufacturing back in-house and keeping resource usage to a minimum. What’s needed to achieve this?1. Declaring war on non-rigid components
Non-rigid components such as cable harnesses can stop automation solutions becoming a reality for your cable assembly due to unwanted deformations. This is where customized workpiece carriers are massively needed! These helpful tools enable:• The cables to be guided into the best position
• The cables to remain in the desired position during the entire assembly process
• The cable harnesses to be connected at specially defined fixed points
How can you design workplace carriers in the best way possible?
Our company brand VESCON Systemtechnik relies on 3D printing to produce ideal workpiece carriers. Using 3D printed molded parts, our experts first create models for the workpiece carriers. Using these models, they can then the cable’s position and alignment, as well as their connections. If the cable routing is not yet as effective as it can be, the 3D models are improved upon. This is done in a kind of feedback loop:
First, a digital 3D model is constructed, the position of the cable in it is simulated and then 3D printed. By repeating this process, an ideal model is produced at the end. The finished workpiece carrier is manufactured based on this.
What are the benefits of 3D printing?
Saving an enormous amount of time and money:
Cheaper and quick to produce 3D models, instead of costly/time-consuming conventional manufacturing in the optimization phaseConserving resources:
By eliminating the need for numerous prototypesMaking the best use of the available space:
This is made possible by ensuring the cables remain in the ideal position
Optimizing accessibility for automatic processes:
Critical points for automatic testing and assembly are clearly visible and easily accessible due to the cables being in the ideal position
2. Always keeping product quality in mind.
Guaranteeing that the wiring harnesses remain in the ideal position and are properly fixed is essential for ensuring that a wiring harness can be installed and connected without any issues in the confined installation space of the car. Incorrect processing can create in sharp edges and, in the worst case, result in dangerous short circuits.
But how can you guarantee that cable harness assemblies are precisely fitted?
Automated camera inspection, that’s how!
Most camera systems are designed to detect deviations down to the smallest millimeter. However, they can tolerate minimal deviations due to the fact that the components are flexible. The focus in this case is on inspecting the position, the rotations as well as the crossings of the cable harnesses. This is easy to recognize for the human eye, but for but it’s a huge challenge for automated systems, our automation specialists at VESCON Systemtechnik apply an innovative method, giving our cameras the tools to make intelligent decisions in the same way as humans do:
By teaching different product images into the system, knowledge is generated on how to assess the cable routing. Based on negative and positive examples, the camera system searches for a comparison to the object being tested, making a decision on its quality. These form a kind of progression in terms of their tolerance to the best position, to enable a step-by-step approach to be taken. In other words, there are images that show a very poor cable position, images that are already slightly better, and then sample images that show the best possible position.
3. Getting support from experienced experts
VESCON Systemtechnik is on hand to help as an experienced partner with comprehensive expertise in developing process- and cost-optimized special machines. As a manufacturer and automation service provider, they rely on a winning combination of integration, innovation and mechanical engineering expertise, and offer a vast suite of services from developing your solution concept, to production.
Learn more about our customized solutions for industrial automation here.