Smart digital production

Product customization in mass production – Printing of wiring harness segments on interior and exterior components

Fig. 1: Manufacture of printed wiring harness segment on the inside of a vehicle door via 6-axis robotic-controlled inkjet printing technology.
© Fraunhofer ENAS
Fig. 1: Manufacture of printed wiring harness segment on the inside of a vehicle door via 6-axis robotic-controlled inkjet printing technology.

Today, wiring harnesses are individually assembled in a manual process and later on manually integrated into each vehicle. Thus, it is handcrafted instead of digitally controlled mass production. In order to increase the efficiency of production, new technologies are required. One solution approach is the combination of robotic-supported and digitally controlled printing technologies, which allow an individualized production of wiring harness segments directly on a vehicle component. Fraunhofer ENAS developed the technology within the framework of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »Go Beyond 4.0«. We are now able to print functional layers (dielectric layers as wiring insulators and electrically conductive layers as signal conductors) by using this robotic-controlled inkjet printing technology to apply and manufacture wiring harness segments directly onto vehicle components (i.e. sheet metal and plastic parts). This technology can be introduced and applied into the vehicle production directly in the factory. Furthermore, product customization can be performed in a matter of seconds without the need to depend on suppliers. In the electrification of vehicles and thus, subsequent increase of electronic components and accompanied demand for wiring, the technology to manufacture printed wiring harness segments offers the potential to increase the production efficiency of vehicle manufacturing.