Diversity of connector systems and the effects on the vehicle on-board power system

“Ethernet is the megatrend in the on-board power system and various suppliers are extremely keen to develop their own connector system, which leads us to expect a higher number of variants.”

As part of the #yourmdexpertise series, we talk to MD ELEKTRONIK Group experts about current topics as well as future topics in the automotive industry.

In this edition of our Tech Talk we met Tobias, Application Engineer in the International Sales Team and talked to him about his job at MD, the developments in the wiring system sector, the departure from old standards, increasing variant diversity and the resulting demands on assemblers like MD ELEKTRONIK.

Tobias Hartl, Application Engineer in the International Sales Team at MD ELEKTRONIK

Tobias, please tell me something about yourself. What excites you most about your job?

I’m Tobias, 37 years old and married. I have been at MD now since 2019. I work as an Application Engineer in the sales international team. My customer base includes the Volvo Group, French OEMs, commercial vehicle manufacturers like DAF, and startups like Fisker. Responsibilities are naturally expanding as the company continues to grow. We work as a team to provide the best possible support to the customer and to acquire new vehicle models, especially in cooperation with the relevant key account managers. The key is to ascertain and understand the customer’s needs. In addition, we are in close contact with our customers on a daily basis in order to learn about upcoming trends as quickly as possible.

Supporting international customers and working on future technologies is what makes this job so appealing to me. In my free time, I enjoy playing soccer and table tennis. 

How do you think the number of cable assemblies in the vehicle will develop in the future?

In general, the demand for cables assemblies in the vehicle’s on-board power system will increase. If you compare the requirements from the past, the numbers are increasing rapidly. This is due to new applications such as LiDAR or RADAR and the increasing number of cameras, to name just a few examples. At the same time, the data transmission rates of the applications are also increasing, since more information and higher camera resolutions are required.

The potential number of different systems is increasing because the use of older transmission options such as HSD is still persisting, but new technologies such as H-MTD are also already in use. Due to the use of several connector generations, there is also a need for so-called mixed connectors. This means that a different technology is required on each side of the corresponding cable.

What are the challenges for the on-board power system of the future?

Ethernet in particular is the megatrend, and various suppliers are pushing the development of their own connector systems, which means that a greater number of variants can be expected. The standard that used to exist with FAKRA no longer exists today.

The number of mixed assemblies will therefore increase in the future. The adaptation of the control units with the corresponding connections is a lengthy story and also very cost-intensive. The adaptation of the machine park, which has to be carried out by an assembler such as MD, is much cheaper and also more attractive and time efficient for the customer.

MD has a strong market position as an independent assembler capable of processing various systems from different suppliers. The development and manufacture of our own production facilities is also very well received by customers and reinforces our flexibility and independence. This means that customer requirements, such as very short cable lengths and the corresponding range of variants, can also be fulfilled. 

What is MD doing to meet future challenges?

The flexibility MD has as an independent assembler is a great advantage on the market. It means we are not limited to processing a certain connector system or to purchasing raw materials from a certain supplier. We ensure that the processing of different connector systems is as automated as necessary and as flexible as possible. To this end, MD develops our own production facilities in part to secure our independence in this area.

In addition, continuous efforts are being made to increase efficiency in order to meet constantly changing customer requirements. Above all, the expansion of production capacities is also important and sets the course for the future. MD is looking at the challenges from several angles and is broadly positioned for the future.

Tobias, thank you very much for the super interesting interview!

Flexibility paired with a high degree of automation guarantees future security

New applications, higher data transmission rates and an increasing variety of connector systems will shape the wiring systems of the future. Independent assemblers such as MD can react flexibly to the ever-increasing number of mixed assemblies and other challenges. The required production capacities are guaranteed by creating the level of automation necessary for the task.


Tobias Hartl

Tobias Hartl is part of the Application Engineering team within Sales International at MD. His goals are to further develop existing customers and to strengthen the engineering contact to OEMs and Tier 1 customers and also to attract new OEMs and Start Ups through good customer support to grow together with them.

Tobias has been working for MD for more than four years now and due to his expertise in dealing with customers and external partners he will strengthen the Technical Product Management in the area of Multi Core Cables in the future. Before joining MD, he was able to gain valuable experience in the field of mobile media headunits for 6 years, which he can successfully apply in his daily work.

Tobias is especially motivated by the contact to global customers and the implementation of new technologies in collaboration with an international team.