Wired for Greatness

7th March 2012
ES Admin
Delphi has developed a new tool to help customers cut lead time and costs in the design and production of vehicle wiring harnesses, and the industry is taking notice. Delphi's groundbreaking Wiring Harness Bend Fatigue Simulation Tool is a benchmark for automotive supplier innovation.
The simulation tool, developed by a global team of Delphi Packard E/EA engineers in Shanghai, China and Champion, Ohio, enables vehicle designers and engineers to shorten the wiring harness design cycle without compromising the quality of the wiring harness.

This tool allows us to identify, and then design-in, the optimal wiring harness for a vehicle in a virtual environment, said Seidler. Since engineers can predict wiring harness fatigue over the life of a vehicle, any potential design flaws can be corrected before the vehicle is built. It also affords the customer the freedom to make late design changes without having to worry it will delay their start of production. All this translates into Delphi's customers being able to feel even more confident in their ability to cost-effectively design a durable, efficient wiring harness that will last over the life of the vehicle.

Wiring Harness Durability

##IMAGE_3_R##A vehicle's wiring harness is a complicated assemblage of cables and grommets surrounded by insulation. It typically is installed between static and moving vehicle body parts, such as doors, lift gates, and trunk lids. With repeated opening and closing of these parts, the wiring systems experience a significant amount of bending deformation. Wiring harness durability depends on the ability of the cables to withstand this bending fatigue over time and can be simulated in three steps:

1. Predicting the behavior of the wiring harness during flex applications
2. Calculating the stress that will be applied to the harness bundle and cables
3. Estimating the fatigue life of the harness

Traditionally, harness durability could only be evaluated once the vehicle and wiring harness prototype had been designed and built. Cables in that newly designed prototype were physically tested for strength and durability, redesigned and rebuilt, and then tested again — a costly, time-consuming process. Using the new Delphi simulation tool during harness design shortens the process without compromising quality and cost.

By applying unique algorithms to data on the physical properties of the cable, grommet, and insulation, engineers can model real-world wiring harness performance before the actual vehicle and harness are built.

This approach is technically more robust, scientifically more accurate, and considerably faster than the validation process used in the past, said Jun Ma, engineering manager, simulation, Delphi Packard Electrical/Electronic Architecture. Given a wide range of materials and conditions, our theoretical analysis can predict durability and help engineers determine the best design in a matter of days, significantly reducing validation time.

Recognizing Innovation

##IMAGE_2_R##The Automotive News PACE™ Awards are presented each spring to honor innovation, technological advancement, and business performance among automotive suppliers. This year's nomination acknowledges the game-changing simulation technology Delphi brings to its customers. Vehicle manufacturers will be able to use a supplier-developed simulation tool to design and optimize a complete wiring harness assembly for a specific application, said Seidler.

The Tools Customers Need

With a long history of engineering electrical and electronic systems, Delphi E/EA delivers power and signal distribution networks for today's increasingly complex vehicles. Providing innovations for the real world, Delphi can help balance the complex functional requirements of vehicle system design with OEM customer metrics such as design/production time and costs. Backed by Delphi technical centers and manufacturing facilities in 30 countries around the globe, Delphi has the electrical integration experience, systems capabilities, and tools to deliver unique electrical/electronic architectures for unique needs.

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