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Newsletter "SEI NEWS" 2012

Home > Company Information > SEI WORLD > Back number > Vol.418

[Newsletter "SEI NEWS" Vol.418]

Automotive Wiring Harness

An automotive wiring harness is an assembly of electrical wires, connectors and other parts, or an electrical wiring system, used to convey information and energy in automobiles.

Automotive wiring harnesses

■Product Data
Start of production 1961
(Automotive wiring harnesses)
Production bases Located in 30 countries or more worldwide
Sales ¥740.1 billion (FY 2011)

What Functions Do Wiring Harnesses Have?

The role of wiring harnesses is to electrically connect electronic devices and electrical components mounted in automobiles and machines, such as copiers, for the conveyance of information and power. A wiring harness is made up of individual wires that play respective roles of supplying power, sending sensor signals, transmitting information on operations and the like. Their counterparts in the human body are nerves and vessels. They are important as parts that support the key functions of automobiles and machinery.

How are harnesses constructed?

Electrical wires, connectors and other parts, produced through advanced technologies and differing in type to meet specific usage, functional and geometrical requirements, are manually assembled into a wiring harness in the final stage of production. To optimize Group production worldwide, more than 130,000 employees are engaged in wiring harness production in more than 30 countries. The slogan “globally common best quality” is intended to eliminate variations in quality that may occur among individual workers and countries. Accordingly, a simulation system that enables engineers to conduct virtual analyses and verification of plant layouts and production lines has been introduced to create high-quality, high-efficiency production systems.

■Interview with engineer in charge

住友電装(株)西部事業本部  園田 哲也

What difficulties do you experience in working on development?

I need to develop a product that is high in quality, low in cost and light in weight. These characteristics are different in their natures. For example, efforts to achieve high quality aren’t necessarily compatible with low cost. However, it is essential to meet these challenges concurrently when developing a product. In this endeavor, I devote myself to providing features such as the world’s first, the world’s best, and uniqueness.

What have you developed lately?

An aluminum wiring harness for automotive low-voltage systems, using stranded thin aluminum wires. It is the world’s first such product. Recent growing interest in the environment calls for further improved fuel efficiency and CO2 emission reductions on the part of the automotive industry. Consequently, vehicle weight reduction has become a major challenge. Heavier wiring harnesses can weigh some 20 kg per vehicle; we sought to develop a lighter wiring harness, and have succeeded in achieving substantial weight reduction via the aluminum wiring harnesses, which are incorporated in door panels on new Ractis and new Vitz models of Toyota Motor Corporation. It is my wish to advance this technology, to enable product use in wider applications and vehicle families, and to help achieve further automobile weight reductions.

What features of Sumitomo Electric’s products are well received by customers?

High levels of quality and engineering are the strong features of Sumitomo Electric products. A wiring harness has many components. Each individual part and their multiple assembly require quality and technical expertise. Many Sumitomo Electric departments pour their knowledge into the Company’s products. I believe that Company-wide quality development activities that result in the production of wiring harnesses of globally acknowledged top quality earn great customer confidence in our products.

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