How Are Wire Harnesses Manufactured?
In the modern world, technology plays a vital role in both a personal and professional sense. Smartphones, computers, and electronic equipment are utilised to improve efficiency and allow people and teams to function in bigger and better ways.
In this blog, we highlight an integral part of electronics – wire harnesses and the manufacturing process. Wire harnesses organise and encase wiring within devices whilst enabling the efficient connectivity of components. They are used across a number of sectors including automotive, aviation and medical.
If you’ve ever wondered how the intricate networks of wires come into existence then keep reading because we will unravel the complex process of manufacturing wire harnesses.
Key points covered in this blog include;-
- Understanding wire harnesses
- Design and planning
- Wire selection and cutting
- Connector assembly
- Crimping and termination
- Bundling and taping
- Testing & quality control
- Final assembly and inspection
Understanding Wire Harnesses
Firstly, we wanted to provide some basic information on what wire harnesses are and why they’re important before delving into the manufacturing process. In the most simple way, wire harnesses are a carefully engineered set of wires, connectors, terminals and protective materials that transmit power and signals between parts and components of a device or piece of equipment.
Within any type of electronics, no matter how complex or simple, there will be a series of wires that need organising and streamlining and that’s exactly what a wire harness helps with.
Let’s now explain the manufacturing process involved in wire harnesses…
Design & Planning
As you can imagine, depending on the system or device that the specific wire harness is supporting with, meticulous planning and design must be done first off. Our engineers at Pinnacle Harnesses carefully analyse the specifications and requirements of the final product to create a comprehensive design for the wire harness. This design includes details such as wire types, lengths, connectors, and the overall layout of the harness. Most designers will use a system software called Computer-Aided Design or CAD for short to draw up designs. This visual representation is useful to tweak and also refine the design moving forward.
Wire Selection & Cutting
Following the completion of a design, the next step is selecting the appropriate wires for the harness. This choice will depend on the application, environment, electrical requirements and other factors. Once you know your wiring, you can cut to the lengths specified in the design. We use specialist cutting machines in-house, to ensure accuracy and efficiency. This allows for consistent wire lengths and the minimising of waste.
Connectors are a crucial component of wire harnesses as they facilitate the proper connection between different devices or components. Connector assembly is a meticulous process that involves attaching connectors to the ends of the wires. This is often done manually or using automated machines, depending on the complexity and scale of production. The connectors must be securely attached to ensure reliable electrical connections and prevent any issues during the lifespan of the wire harness.
Crimping and Termination
Crimping is when the connectors are mechanically secured to the wires. This part is crucial because you need a strong connection to ensure durability and reliability of the overall product. Crimping is done using specialist tools that apply just the right amount of pressure to the connectors, creating a secure and electrically conductive joint. In addition to crimping, the termination process involves the application of protective coverings, such as heat shrink tubing, to shield the connection from environmental factors like corrosion, abrasion or overheating.
Bundling and Taping
Once all your wires and connectors are prepared, it’s time to bundle them together as per your design. This stage is really important because you need to arrange wiring and components in the neatest and most functional way all at the same time. Bundling is often followed by taping, where a protective covering is applied to secure the wires and maintain their position. This makes the final product more sturdy and adds protection against certain factors.
Testing and Quality Control
Due to all the procedures and intricate processes involved in creating a wire harness, rigorous testing and quality control is required. This not only makes sure the product is good enough to be used, it also puts the product through its paces to check for continuity, resistance, functionality and more. We must meet various standards with every single wire harness we produce which is why the testing and quality control phase is so important. Additionally, visual inspections are conducted to identify any defects in the assembly, such as loose connectors or damaged wires.
Final Assembly and Inspection
When quality control is approved, the process will move onto final assembly and final inspections. This is where the wire harness is integrated into the final assembly of the product. This is meticulously done as you can imagine some pieces of equipment are extremely intricate. Whether it’s for automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics or another sector, final assembly and inspection is super important.
Contact Pinnacle Harnesses Today
We hope this blog has helped you gain a better understanding of the wire harness manufacturing process. It’s a complex and highly regulated process that requires great attention to detail but it’s one that we thrive on here at Pinnacle Harnesses.
We’ve been in business for years specialising in wire harness manufacturing so if you need a bespoke design or would like to speak to a professional on the subject of wire harnesses, please come to speak to our team.