In the past, wire harness design was done on the fly during assembly. As a result, harness design and assembly were rarely automated, the assembly time was long, the quality was inconsistent, and often much of the design work was done as the harness was manually assembled on the production line.
Over time, manufacturers began to use small localized wire harness manufactures to help with samples and production needs. The sampling process was often long as suppliers would order the components, assemble the harness, and then send samples of what they thought the customer wanted. Valuable time was lost in the process of ordering materials then sending samples back and forth in order to determine what would work best in the application. Consistency of production would often depend on tribal knowledge and processes were not routinely documented.
With advancing technology, there has been a much needed shift in the development process by incorporating the wire harness design in earlier stages. Through the use of computer software, integrating the harness into the design helps with better definition of the requirements and specification phases of a project, as well as overall harness design and assembly. This process results in a more automated and higher quality harness design that reduces product assembly labor content.
Today, preferred suppliers like Thermtrol have embraced the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) process to utilize a proven procedure that bridges the gap between a successful quote and successful production design freeze. APQP significantly streamlines the entire manufacturing process with crisp communications to properly prepare for an on-time product launch and is an integral component of TS 16949 certification.
Even with utilization of any of the excellent design tools available today, you will still need to properly prepare for your harness design and quotation. Considerations include: