The Bill of Material is a critical component of the planning process in manufacturing for any industry. In this episode of Wired Success, Mark Cessar talks with Liberty's Programs Director, Troy West about what moving up the Bill of Materials is and how this approach to procurement can benefit OEMs in terms of ease of installation, capacity, costs, and inventory reduction.
OEMs and suppliers both bring experience, expertise and specialized knowledge to the table during the manufacturing process. Suppliers often don’t enter the picture until a design is created, and sometimes not until prototypes have been manufactured. However, there’s an argument to be made that a partnership between an OEM and a trusted supplier should be formed during the design phase. Collaborative design can benefit both OEMs and suppliers for a number of reasons.
In cable assemblies and wire harnesses, there are hundreds and often thousands of opportunities for defects per assembly. Therefore, it is imperative that a manufacturer takes rigorous steps to mitigate the risk of incurring those defects. Multiple process controls must be deployed to ensure that a wire assembly is produced that meets or exceeds the customer’s requirements. Many of these measures are taken before the components are even built. Revision-controlled quality requirements---specified on prints and in workmanship standards---must be understood. Operators must be trained and must demonstrate this understanding. As an assembly is produced, a predetermined regimen of tests and other validations are employed, both by operators and technicians. These validations, depending on the project, can include mechanical, electrical, and environmental tests. Each of these stages in the quality assurance process ultimately ensures that the product meets or exceeds the customer specifications.
Marking and identifying the components of wire assemblies properly is an important step in the manufacturing process. Proper identification ensures that the product reaches the required certifications, while providing practical information to the manufacturer and customer about each component of the assembly. Different types of identifying techniques, including laser marking, heat-shrinkable labels, wrap markers, and printing, all offer various options for the manufacturer to meet the client’s needs.
Making sure wire bundles are adequately secured or contained is an important step in creating a quality product, even after the necessary electrical or environmental protection has been applied. It is imperative that a wire assembly be secured adequately, and it is also crucial that the bundle fits well within the physical space allotted. This is where various wire bundle management techniques come into play. Wires can be held together using heat shrinkable tubing, lacing, stitching, tie wraps, metal bands, or braided coverings. The style and material used to secure the assembly helps it achieve the best performance possible.
Insulation materials provide wiring harnesses with a layer of necessary protection in a variety of ways, depending on the specific requirements the product must meet. Insulation helps protect the product mechanically, electrically, or environmentally, meeting particular needs according to the product’s application. Additionally, a variety of materials used in wiring harness insulation ensure the various functions of cable harnesses are carried out in the best way possible using the best materials for the job.