Technological Benefits

Reduced Manufacturing Cost

The manufacture of wiring harnesses is labour intensive, the layout is usually done by hand on a pin board.

The use of robotic tools swaps labour cost for the amortised costs of capital and can reduce manufacturing costs by up to 50%

Improved Safety

The common wiring failures are caused by embrittlement of the insulation due to humidy and UV or because of the ingress of fluids or perhaps because of the ingress of on terminations that leads to corrosion and overheating. These kinds of failures can causes arcing and can eventually lead to fires.

Failure of the wiring is a serious safety issue in the aerospace industry and has caused numerous fires and some notable disasters. It is also the main cause of failure and recalls in white goods and vehicles. It was a wiring failure in a refrigerator that started the Grenfell fire leading to the deaths of 72 people.

Q5D technology embeds the wiring inside a component, protecting the wiring against mechanical and chemical damage, and the use of CAD design on the wiring as well as the structural component means that it can be designed so that the flex on termination stays within the specified tolerance. Systems can be design for safety.

Reduced Weight

Because harnesses are manufactured by hand and more importantly installed by hand, the gauge of wire is more normally chosen for its mechanical rather than its electrical properties.

Because Q5D’s embeds wires and printed electronics within a component it is possible to use a gauge appropriate to the electrical load.

Typical weight savings are between 10% and 40% depending on complexity

Increased Function

The convergence of IT and manufacturing as well as electrification in sectors like aerospace and automotive is increasing the complexity of wiring harnesses. At the same time there is are strong pressure to decrease weight and cost.

By combining fine gauge wiring, printed electronics with embedded electronics and sensors in a 3-dimensional structure all designed by CAD and robotically manufactured using CAD/CAM, will make it possible to create much more complex systems, with little additional cost or weight.

Improved Quality

The ability to automate manufacture means that each harness is identical. Once a design has been tested then it can be reliably made and used any number of times. If it is manufactured to aerospace standards, then as long as the correct materials are used then every item manufactured using that design will also conform to existing standards. The marking of the wires and document handling part of the quality systems will need to be automated in-line with the new production method. Because the position of the terminations are defined by the design, testing of the wiring can also be automated. This should further improve quality control.

Reduced Development Time

With an automated production tool, it is possible to go from design to manufactured item in a matter of hours. Multiple prototypes can be made and tested, both for their electrical performance and their mechanical properties. This could alter the culture dramatically, making it possible for a designer to optimise a design through multiple iterations and be confident that the final product works. Not only would this save costly design time it would make it possible to create more sophisticated or even bespoke design that perform better.

Simplified Supply Chains

Trade tension and the global pandemic have exposed the fragility of the long and complex supply chains that are used in modern just-in-time manufacturing. The labour intensive nature of wiring layups often means they are outsourced to low-wage economies, which leads to inexpensive, but unresponsive and complex supply chains. Since the start of the pandemic there has been a realisation that it is necessary to increase investment in automation.