Technical support from suppliers: From on-board network development to series production

Driven by the increasing need for data cables with each new vehicle generation and ever-higher requirements with regard to the quality and traceability of all on-board network components, suppliers must incorporate more skills even in early development phases and become technology partners to the automobile industry.

Data transfer is taking off! In addition to the transmission of electrical current, it is taking up an increasingly large share of the overall vehicle electrical system. It has, so to speak, developed into a central nerve system for vehicles. Due to technical progress, the density of electronic components for data transfer in vehicles has nearly doubled in the last ten years. This means that cable harnesses take up increasingly more space and weight. To reduce this in the future and to do justice to the requirements of the necessary technology, intelligent transport systems and appropriate data networks must be mapped with the latest technologies.

Therefore, it is essential that suppliers of on-board components support the OEMs even in the development phase, helping them deploy the latest and best possible technology depending on the purpose and requirement. Whether for the quick provision of sample cables, the development of special solutions or the flexible delivery of plug-compatible alternatives: Optimal support from the supplier is of critical importance, from development to serial production.

Increasing demands on cable assemblers

The need for data cables in vehicles is increasing constantly. Ever higher equipment rates and more applications in vehicles are the main reasons for the increasing volumes. New plug systems result in new technological solutions. Thus, volumes and the number of variants are increasing at the same time. If a cable assembler would like to grow globally, new questions arise with regard to new projects, global distribution of production capacity, and new requirements, e.g., USCAR, Korean or Japanese specifications. In addition, production must be in a position to be able to fulfill increasing requirements for components for autonomous driving

The ever-present topic of costs should also not be neglected. Products such as FAKRA II, SF, and LC are cost-effective and thus attractive for automobile manufacturers worldwide, however due to manual or semi-automatic production, they can only be manufactured with great effort according to the latest quality standards. This phase of the transition from manual to automated production is a key task for the future.

MD ELEKTRONIK: Customer-oriented technology partner

Why is MD ELEKTRONIK a strategically excellent partner? As an independent assembler, MD has mastered numerous successful manufacturers’ plug systems. This ability is secured by participation as an automation expert during development work. MD ELEKTRONIK puts the focus on customers in all activities, especially in the technical sector:

  • Application engineering ➜ excellent technical advice, regardless of the plug manufacturer
  • Key account quality management ➜ expert contact partners for our customers in case of quality questions
  • Expert development departments ➜ development of innovative solutions
  • Accredited test laboratory ➜ flexible tests according to the highest standards

Meanwhile, MD is more than just an assembler; because of its many years’ experience in the automobile industry it has focused on tool and equipment production and developed its own machines for assembling lines. These machines fulfill the highest standards and are precisely oriented toward specific customer requirements. The goal is to secure the company’s position on the market for the long term and to be a reliable and expert partner for any customer request.

Customer support at MD

As an expert in the assembly of data cables, MD has been helping with vehicle projects around the world for many years. Among these projects are customers in the North American, European, and APAC economic areas. Thanks to these insights into the development of the global automobile industry, the company is always up-to-date when it comes to topics such as on-board network development. Every inquiry is examined and compared. The early checking of technical feasibility prevents problems with regard to costs and capacities on both the supplier and customer side. In case of technical questions, an expert team is always available; it provides support with its extensive experience in the EMC, mechanical, applications, and data transfer sectors. The MD experts not only point out potential problems, they also regard themselves as the inspiration for solutions. Central contacts take on and communicate global topics. Among other things, they assist with series start-ups, new technologies, the planning of vehicle projects, and complaints.

Due to its supply of a multitude of international projects, MD ELEKTRONIK has a broad product range. Even complex solutions can be realized here. Thanks to great flexibility in manufacturing, cost-effective small series can be implemented quickly. Extensive documentation allows conclusions to be drawn about each individual step, which ensures a high quality standard. System-supported global change management professionalizes traceability. Thanks to a selection of different production locations, the shortest logistics paths can be taken.

Regular validations and re-qualifications enable the company to fulfill the automobile industry’s high requirements.  Regular certifications of the accreditation means that the MD test laboratories are able to issue official reports. These laboratories also assist with the development of new technologies.

MD is equipped for the future

Automation will play a central role for the future of automobile suppliers’ production processes. The concern is to ensure constant quality and flexibility, especially in an environment that is characterized by short development cycles and just-in-time manufacturing. In particular, with standardized processes, automation enables a great deal of precision, speed, and cost efficiency. 

MD ELEKTRONIK pursues a strategy of combining partially and fully-automated production on machines developed and built in-house in order to be equipped for future developments. This holistic approach enables the company to attune the whole process to the requirements of the project in question; to examine individual requirements from the very beginning; and thus to be able to provide optimal support to customers even during the development process. 

Summary and conclusions

The increasing demand for data cables in vehicles requires suppliers to have greater technology expertise even in the early development phase. Cable assemblers must not only fulfill increasing requirements for on-board network components and increased quality requirements, they must also act as technology partners early on and offer innovative solutions. This is why MD ELEKTRONIK is positioning itself as a leading player with a broad spectrum of services from development to production backed up by expertise acquired over decades. Continuous innovation ensures high quality standards in order to do justice to the requirements of the global automobile industry at all times.

Karl-Heinz Lode

Karl-Heinz Lode has been working as an Application Engineer for MD for more than 6 years. He is in constant contact with the supply chain. His task is to solve the technical problems of tomorrow. During his master studies, which were supported by MD, he was deeply involved in the development of on-board networks as well as autonomous driving. He is particularly excited to help shape the mobility of the future with his expertise.

Maximilian Muck

Maximilian Muck is part of the Key Account Quality Management Department at MD. This department’s task is to assist customers worldwide with regard to the quality of products and production processes. After starting out as a trainee at MD ELEKTRONIK and getting to know various divisions, from international sales to project management, he is now responsible for several customers and serves them as an expert advisor. He is especially excited about international customers and the associated inter-cultural exchange, which makes his everyday work exciting and varied. Many business trips round out his position optimally.