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Special Report

Next Generation Wiring Harnesses, Panels and Electromechanical Assembly Solutions

Kembrey’s Focussed Evolution High Volatility in a Globalised Market The Critical Importance of High Quality Harnessing High Quality Harnessing is Vital Harnessing a Secure Future?

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Wiring Harnesses, Panels and Electromechanical Assembly Solutions

Contents Foreword

Kembrey’s Focussed Evolution High Volatility in a Globalised Market The Critical Importance of High Quality Harnessing High Quality Harnessing is Vital Harnessing a Secure Future?

2

Mary Dub, Editor

Kembrey’s Focussed Evolution

3

Robert Wellman

Changes for the Better New Backing Brings Acquisition Opportunities Sponsored by

Impressive Client List Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks

Vision for the Future

High Volatility in a Globalised Market Why the Need for Ever Greater Specification and Quality? Why Were Aircraft Wiring Harnesses so Closely Scrutinised? Retrieved Parts of the Plane Told a Story

The Critical Importance of High Quality Harnessing What did Raytheon’s Report on the Wiring Reveal? A Key Warning to Wire Harness Manufacturers

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

Raytheon’s Conclusions

Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

© 2013. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

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Mary Dub, Editor

Editor Mary Dub

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes

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Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Types of Testing for the Wires on TWA 800 Not Just TWA800

High Quality Harnessing is Vital

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Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

What Does This Mean? DIT-MCO More Causes for Concern and Emphasis on the Need for Excellent Wiring Harnesses: UA 811(1989) The Lessons from Swissair 111 (1998)

Harnessing a Secure Future?

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Mary Dub, Editor

A Flexi Future? High Density Interconnect PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) The Increased Manufacturing Costs of New HDI Technology Other Uses of New Laser Technologies

References 14

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

Foreword W

iring harnesses and electromechanical

The second item in this report looks at the results of

assembly is a vital and important part of civil

the Air Accident Investigation reports into three key

and defence aerospace, as well as the automotive

air accidents where there is probable evidence that

and marine markets. And, as the evidence provided

different types of wiring problems caused serious

in this Special Report demonstrates, the failure to

loss of life. The third piece describes the detail of

provide high standards in this area has had fatal

the evidence offered by the investigator’s report and

consequences. As a result, there has been a strong

highlights how poor practice and degradation of

and steady demand for wiring harness solutions

insulation can prove so highly problematic.

that can offer the highest quality sourcing and

In the fourth article, the critical role of high

assembly techniques combined with rigorous high

technology testing of harnesses is the focus.

technology testing to offer products that meet the

Only the best suppliers can provide the latest

highest international standards demanded by the

techniques in high technology testing that are critical

American Federal Aviation Association.

to ensuring the tightest standards for harnessing.

The Report opens with an article that looks at

Looking to the future is inevitably a high-risk

Kembrey Wiring Systems and the decisions that

venture, but the role of new flexi films and lighter,

have been taken by that company in the last twelve

smaller devices is going to be centre stage. For

months to restructure its business. This has involved

suppliers, they offer a high cost, high-risk path

the introduction of new personnel and revised

forward that may lead the way to meet the demands

supply chain arrangements, as well as attracting

of tomorrow’s consumer.

new investment into the business. As supply chains are reduced by prime contractors, Kembrey is looking to act more strategically and work closely with engineering and design teams. The aim of these changes is to create a solid foundation for the company’s future.

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

Kembrey’s Focussed Evolution Robert Wellman

Kembrey is capable of delivering small scale through to full aircraft solutions.

Swindon based Kembrey Wiring Systems Ltd (Kembrey) has been supplying cable harnessing solutions for over 60 years to a wide range of markets and clients. This experience has allowed Kembrey to establish a trusted pedigree in the aerospace and defence market. However, it has been the important and tough decisions that have been taken over the last 12 months that will define the future of the business.

Changes for the Better John Gimson, one of Kembrey’s shareholders and Managing Director, commented “2012 was certainly an interesting and challenging year”. It quickly become apparent when meeting John that he has the passion and commitment to turn Kembrey into a company that is adaptable, agile and ready for future client requirements. In July 2012, Kembrey commenced a major restructuring and transformation process and John is open in recognising “it was a difficult process for all those affected and involved, from our employees, suppliers and clients, but it was necessary to confront reality and restructure the business in order to bring stability”. Kembrey is not the only business in the aerospace and defence market that has undergone such a change process and

with the current economic climate it will not be the last company to do so. With the business secure, John is clear that Kembrey now needs to focus on the future: “bringing about change and the associated level of disruption we caused to our clients and supply chain means we need to re-build confidence and re-gain trust, which can only be done as we return to high levels of delivery performance”. It is important for all those involved to “put the past behind us and look forward to an exciting future, especially as Kembrey is open and capable of doing business at all levels” said John. There is no doubt that Kembrey is a stronger company and a better proposition to do business with post-restructure. The introduction of new personnel in key posts, revised supply chain arrangements, investment in R&D, new business processes and continuous improvement initiatives mean that Kembrey is well equipped to move to meet future requirements. In support of this, Kembrey has invested in a new and appropriately sized facility in Swindon in order to bring its production environment and processes up to date and secured the AS 9100 Rev C accreditation in September 2012. Kembrey recently attended an event hosted by a major www.defenceindustryreports.com | 3


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

The introduction of new personnel in key posts, revised supply chain arrangements, investment in R&D, new business processes and continuous improvement initiatives mean that Kembrey is well equipped to move to meet future requirements.

aerospace prime contractor and it is quite clear that there are significant long term opportunities in the sector. But at the same time, companies like Kembrey need to stand up and demonstrate that they can support their global requirements in a changing environment.

New Backing Brings Acquisition Opportunities Whilst looking to the future is always easy, John is also very focussed on delivering today’s contractual requirements. “We have clients who utilise Kembrey’s knowledge and skill right now and our products are being delivered onto platforms across the globe today”. In order to support existing contracts and develop future clients and business, Kembrey has attracted new investment from Champlain Cable Corporation, an AIAC company from the USA, which allows vertical integration of products and potential integration of group companies’ products into the Kembrey portfolio. Importantly, Kembrey now has the backing of a $1 billion organisation behind it so therefore is well placed to meet existing and future requirements. With this backing, Kembrey will also be looking to consolidate its position but while also seeking further synergistic acquisition opportunities.

Impressive Client List Kembrey has an impressive client list and is delivering, or has delivered in the past, to a wide range of platforms including Boeing 787, G150, Dash-8, Nimrod, Tornado, Harrier, Challenger, Terrier, Bowman, C130 and C27. Today, Kembrey has a number of unique capabilities that allow the company to meet a wide range of harnessing and panel requirements. The business has a full suite of automatic test machines, a laser marker and nine braiding machines for different materials including steel, PEEK and PTFE. Speaking with Adrian Woodridge, Kembrey’s Quality Manager, it is clear that “Kembrey have traditionally succeeded with harnessing and panel builds that are complex and require a significant amount of technical build knowhow, such as sealed and ruggedised systems, complex processes, along with building large full aircraft looms”. Adrian was quick to point out that Kembrey have “the capabilities to build a range of looms from small length one-offs to full aircraft sets”. Kembrey have also recently secured a new contract with a major US aerospace company to provide a number of components on a worldwide, exclusive basis. The component supply business interests Kembrey as it allows its clients to benefit from improved material pricing across all of its programmes. Additionally, it allows Kembrey to be more strategic and supply a wider number of platforms, locations and applications.

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Vision for the Future Asking John about what the future holds, it is clear to see that Kembrey is a totally different business. There has been an emphasis on cost reduction, investment in systems, facilities and processes. Kembrey’s vision is to be a leading international provider of electrical interconnect solutions to the global aerospace, defence and security sectors. John states that “Kembrey is in a global market with global competitors. The push towards low cost sources of manufacture is always present but given that nearly 60% to 70% of a harness cost is a result of brought in materials, it is key that we improve supply chain interaction and relationship management. Supply chain performance management is also important and is at the heart of Kembrey’s new supply chain strategy”. John is quick to praise his employees at Kembrey, “Our employees are terrific and in 2013 we will continue to focus on improving our engagement with our employees and improving skill levels through on-the-job training and further qualifications. Equally, our significant investment in our new facility will provide a greatly enhanced working environment. Not only are our employees impressed by the new facility, but clients also who have visited our facility have commented on the improvements. We cannot meet our vision without the support of our employees”. John feels that “We need to differentiate our business from our competitors through high quality service, agility, on time delivery, entrepreneurial spirit, high quality and robust partnership behaviours”. Indeed, as supply chains are reduced by prime contractors, Kembrey is looking to act more strategically and work closely with the engineering and design teams. Some of the work Kembrey has done with supporting prototypes and engineering development “has brought real tangible benefits to our clients and Kembrey, especially forging closer relationships at a working level”. With the continued pressure on budgets, John believes that “upgrades and enhancements to capabilities will continue and this is an extremely exciting area, especially where a client is willing to modify drawings and insert the latest material choices – that’s our value add”. Kembrey are quite clearly independent from material suppliers and John stressed that “Kembrey can offer an impartial view” when selecting and specifying specific materials on drawings. “It is important that primes and design teams do not specify specific manufacturers on their drawings as this reduces competition, innovation and may lead to higher costs”. Kembrey can add more value than just purely


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

All employees undertake a rigorous training programme throughout the year. Building upon those skills is essential for Kembrey to meet their vision.

traditional build to print but is clear that “we want to work in tandem with our clients, meeting and exceeding their needs and requirements”. In the future, there are several new and different technologies Kembrey is pursuing, but given the competitive nature of the market, John prefers to discuss these developments directly with Kembrey’s clients. Along with Kembrey’s fibre optic experience, one technology John did discuss was flexiPCBs, “this is an area which the company has been investigating for some time and we have formally kicked off an internal programme to accelerate our position. We are looking to develop formal relationships with suppliers and potential clients for this application”. Fibre Optics and flexiPCBs have a number of advantages but speaking with John, it’s clear that the traditional harnessing requirements will remain into the foreseeable future.

Contact

Kembrey’s vision is to be a leading international provider of electrical interconnect solutions to the global aerospace, defence and security sectors.

Should you have any requirements or areas where you feel that you could work with Kembrey, please contact: Kembrey Wiring Systems Ltd Unit 7 & 8, Westerngate, Langley Road, Hillmead Enterprise Park, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN5 5WN Tel: 01793 881 115 Email: enquiries@kembrey.co.uk Web: www.kembrey.co.uk www.defenceindustryreports.com | 5


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

High Volatility in a Globalised Market Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Wire harnessing for the civil and military aerospace industry has been subject to a very high level of regulation, enquiry and control after a series of serious air accidents with high loss of life.

T

he market for wiring harnesses is highly segmented and subject to vigorous global competition from China and India. Demand for wire harnesses follows the cycles of demand in the individual sectors: civil or defence aerospace, automotive, marine, energy or rail transportation. For example, according to one market analyst Research in China1, the automotive wiring harness market touched bottom in 2009. The automotive industry suffered a downturn from August 2008 to July 2009, and started to recover at the end of 2009. The global automotive wiring harness market size reached USD21.9 billion in 2009, and increased by 32.2% to USD29 billion in 2010. The top four producers2 in China were Yazaki, Sumitomo Electric, Delphi and Leoni. In subsequent years, the market has picked up: TechNavio’s analysts forecast the Global Automotive Wiring Harness market to grow at a CAGR3 of 6.8 percent in terms of revenue over the period 2011-2015. One of the key factors for this growth is the increasing demand for electric vehicles. The Global Automotive Wiring Harness market has also been witnessing the increasing demand for hybrid vehicles during the forecast period. However, the increasing financial constraints are acting as a barrier to market growth4. Other markets have also been negatively affected and subject to rapid technological change as the demand builds for smaller, lighter and cheaper products to ever-higher levels of technical excellence. Moore’s Law is applying its ruthless effect making products ever smaller and lighter within the much-quoted 18-month lifespan.

Why the Need for Ever Greater Specification and Quality? Wire harnessing for the civil and military aerospace industry has been subject to a very high level of regulation, enquiry and control after a series of serious air accidents with high loss of life. What happened and why

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was wire harnessing implicated and therefore under such high levels of scrutiny? There were three important and rigorously investigated American air crashes: the TWA 800 crash of 1996, where a Boeing 747-131, exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on July 17, minutes after take off from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people on board. The second incident was UA 811, which experienced a cargo door failure in flight on Friday, February 24, 1989, after its stopover at Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii on the way to Australia. This resulted in the death of 9 passengers. The aircraft was a Boeing 747 12. The third accident was Swissair Flight 111 in 1998. This was a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 on a scheduled airline flight from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to Geneva, Switzerland. All 229 people on board died, the highest death toll of any aviation accident involving a McDonnell Douglas MD-11. The Swissair crash was generally believed to have been caused by faulty wiring in the cockpit, after the recently installed entertainment system in the plane started to overheat. In each one of these fatal crashes the American FAA or Canadian air accident investigators came to the conclusion that there was a very high probability that faulty wiring systems were contributory to the loss of life.

Why Were Aircraft Wiring Harnesses so Closely Scrutinised? There was a four-year National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation set up with the approval of the Aircraft Accident Report on August 23, 2000, ending the most extensive, complex, and costly air disaster investigation in United States history into TWA 800. The report’s conclusion was that the probable cause of the accident was an explosion of flammable fuel/air vapours in a fuel tank, and the most likely cause of the explosion was a short circuit. The evidence that was revealed in the process


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

did not have a written policy concerning the use of protective covers over or around wire bundles when performing metal work near the wire bundles; instead, maintenance personnel were expected to determine whether a protective covering was necessary and whether the wire bundle needed to be moved to accomplish a maintenance task. The maintenance record was salutary: The Safety Board’s examination of the accident airplane’s maintenance records revealed that the airplane had experienced several intermittent problems during fuelling operations in the 2 years before the accident, including one that occurred just before the airplane departed JFK.

Retrieved Parts of the Plane Told a Story

Larger looms require team work and commitment to completing the harness.

of producing the report was revelatory. A great deal of focus was placed on the wiring bundles in the Boeing plane, how they were handled during maintenance and the effect that handling had on them. According to a Boeing Service Letter (SL) 747-SL-20-048, dated January 25, 1995, as a general rule, wiring that is left undisturbed will have less degradation than wiring that is reworked. As wiring and components become more brittle with age, this effect becomes more pronounced5. Boeing had also issued Service Bulletin (SB) 747-532272, which advised operators to fabricate a suitable work platform as required to protect wire bundles. According to Boeing engineers, most operators cover nearby wire bundles with bubble wrap or tape a clean cloth over the bundle while making repairs in the area. TWA engineers had not received the Service Bulletin. TWA personnel indicated that the company

The contamination observed by investigators on the wiring recovered from the accident airplane prompted the Safety Board to contact the Lectromechanical Company (Lectromec) to conduct laboratory research into the shortcircuit behaviours of commonly used aircraft wiring: BMS13-42 and -42A Poly-X wires and Kapton wires. The Lectromec report indicated that during these tests, three categories of electrical activity were observed: scintillations, flashing, and strong arcing, which it described. Scintillations are high frequency, microdischarges that appeared as pinpoints of light that flickered at the edge of cracks in the wiring insulation. Flashing is an arcing discharge, seen as a single flash of light with an accompanying popping sound that usually occurs after a test sample has been scintillating for some time. Strong arcing is an arcing discharge that could continue for hundreds of cycles; typically involving 5 kilojoules (kJ) of electrical energy and that could cause significant collateral damage to the insulation of adjacent wires. This damage to the insulation of the wiring over time and due to wear may well have been the cause of the accident.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

The Critical Importance of High Quality Harnessing Mary Dub, Editor

To better understand the condition of wiring in aging transportcategory airplanes, the Safety Board contracted with Raytheon Systems Company (Raytheon) to test aged wire samples to the specifications for newly manufactured wire of that type.

F

or civilian aircraft, military aerospace, naval applications and a multitude of other uses of high quality harnessing, the way that the connections are made and the harnessing is put together and tested during manufacture is an issue of life or death importance. This is especially critical in an aircraft that has an extended life. The aircraft in flight TWA 800 had already had 93,303 total hours of operation at the time of the accident. So, as the Air Accident Investigators found out over their four-year enquiry, the quality of the insulation and wiring was very important indeed. To better understand the condition of wiring in aging transport-category airplanes, the Safety Board contracted with Raytheon Systems Company (Raytheon) to test aged wire samples to the specifications for newly manufactured wire of that type. The aged wire samples were similar in age and type to the wiring on TWA flight 800 and were obtained from three recently (not more than 6 months before the wire samples were obtained) retired airplanes – two 747s, one manufactured in 1970 and the other in 1973, and a Douglas DC-10 manufactured in 1973.6

What did Raytheon’s Report on the Wiring Reveal? According to the Raytheon report, in general, the wire samples obtained from the three airplanes appeared to be in similar, generally decent condition. However, the condition and performance of the specific wire samples varied within and across the airplanes. Raytheon’s report indicated that visual examination of the wire samples revealed a variety of conditions: the presence of debris, such as lint and small chips, paint residue, and possibly foam or adhesive residue; contamination by what appeared to be oil or grease and a dark brown film; mechanical damage, such as insulation cracking, indentations caused by tight clamps or nylon tie wraps, abrasion of the insulation, and various nicks and cuts; and deep hot-stamp marking, which resulted in cracking of the insulation. The wire insulation

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was also observed to be brittle in all cases, and, in some cases, the outer layers cracked as a result of routine handling in the laboratory. About 20 per cent of the wires received with damage failed in dielectric testing, indicating that the wires’ insulation did not meet the integrity requirements for new wire and that fluid could reach core conductors.7

A Key Warning to Wire Harness Manufacturers This list of observations from Raytheon’s report is a nightmare scenario for any harness manufacturer seeking to produce high quality wire. Each factor: presence of debris, for example, lint and small chips, foam or adhesive residue, contamination by oil or grease, mechanical damage, indentations from tight clamps abrasion and the rest are events that should never be present to visual inspection and need to be avoided by high quality processes and even better training of assembly staff and operatives. It should be noted that these weaknesses were found on visual inspection; high technology testing is also used after manufacture to ensure harnessing meets the tightest international regulations and standards.

Types of Testing for the Wires on TWA 800 Raytheon performed a number of tests: mechanical and electrical tests, thermal tests, including blocking tests (to ensure that the insulation did not adhere to itself after heating), low-temperature (cold-bend) and thermal aging tests. The results were salutary: About 20 per cent of the wires received with damage failed in dielectric testing, indicating that the wires’ insulation did not meet the integrity requirements for new wire and that fluid could reach core conductors. Raytheon’s report on wire of similar age to that on the TWA800 was damning. In several cases the elongation of the outer insulation was extremely low, indicating that the wire became more brittle with age.... None of


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

Notably, the weak point in this wire type appears to be the lack of ability to maintain physical and electrical integrity during extended elevated thermal exposure with mechanical stress. As the wire ages, there is an increased risk of dielectric problems, mechanical damage and loss of electrical integrity. And these were wires that were protected from the highest levels of environmental exposure, as no wire was tested that had been exposed to high levels of environmental exposure such as wires from wheel wells, wing leading edges and the rest.

Not Just TWA800

Harnessing behind the panel.

the wire samples tested passed the lifecycle test, indicating that the long-term life of all samples may be limited. Additional thermal life testing showed that the samples had some limited life remaining before beginning to fail physically and electrically.

Raytheon’s Conclusions For civil and military aircraft wire harness manufacturers the conclusions probably make familiar reading. However, for potential customers of high quality harnessing they underline the supreme importance of high quality of sourcing and high quality assembly of harnessing for the safety of global air transportation. First, most wire samples tested had definitely aged as indicated by the outer jacket failures; secondly, although the inner insulation continued to provide electrical integrity, as it was designed to do, the outer jacket was losing its ability to mechanically protect the wire.

It would be easy to look specifically at TWA and point a finger at their failure: but worryingly, the issue of degeneration is far more widespread. As a consequence of the TWA flight 800 investigations, the Safety Board examined the wiring in 25 transport-category airplanes that had been maintained by various air carriers. The inspected airplanes included 18 Boeing airplanes, 4 Douglas airplanes, 2 Lockheed L-1011s, and an Airbus A300. The airplanes examined ranged in age from new to 28 years old and in total flight time from 4 to 102,712 hours. The examples of what they found constituted a long list of horror stories for a member of the travelling public. What they recommended was attention in critical areas: to damaged clamps, clamp cushion migration, or improper clamp installations, which can aggravate wire chafing; connectors and worn seals, where lateral pressure on connector grommets can compromise connector integrity and allow contamination to enter the connector, which can result in corrosion or grommet degradation. They noted that terminal lugs and wire splices are susceptible to mechanical damage, corrosion, heat damage, and chemical contamination. Importantly, wires may break at back shells because of excessive flexing, static pressure, or missing build up. Finally, they pointed out that conduit or sleeving damage could lead to wire damage. They set a very high standard for wire harness manufacturers to maintain and improve on.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

High Quality Harnessing is Vital Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Software to perform

“The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the TWA flight 800 accident was an explosion of the centre wing fuel tank (CWT), resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank. The source of

a very complex range

ignition energy for the explosion could not be determined with certainty, but, of the sources evaluated by the investigation, the most likely was a short circuit outside of the CWT that allowed excessive voltage to enter it through electrical wiring associated

of tasks with a range

with the fuel quantity indication system.“8 3.2 Probable Cause of TWA 800 break-up NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT REPORT

of capabilities can deliver the power and performance needed to create very large, complex assemblies.

A

ll leading manufacturers now follow the recommendations of the NTSB: the need for improved training of maintenance personnel to ensure adequate recognition and repair of potentially unsafe wiring conditions; the need for improved documentation and reporting of potentially unsafe electrical wiring conditions; and the need to incorporate the use of new technology, such as arc-fault circuit breakers and automated wire test equipment. Global leaders in the wireless harnessing business now use CADDS, CATIA and DITMCO systems. And following the NTSB report on the effect of traditional marking techniques they now use UV laser marking.

What Does This Mean? Software to perform a very complex range of tasks with a range of capabilities can deliver the power and performance needed to create very large, complex assemblies. Computervision’s first product, CADDS-1, was aimed at the printed circuit board layout and 2-D drafting markets. CADDS stood for Computervison Automated Design and Drafting System. Other companies are in the same market to offer software to allow multi-disciplinary systems design capabilities, which give comprehensive support for designing electrical, piping, and other systems. For the manufacture and design of wire harnesses, CATIA is frequently used. CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) is a multi-platform commercial software suite developed by the French company Dassault Systemes. It is written in the C++ programing language.

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DIT-MCO It was an American company, DIT-MCO, which produced some of the most well known wire harness testers for the international market. The history of the product starts in the 1950s when Warren Hannon was working as an engineer at the nearby North American Aviation plant. The plant built the F-86 and C-45 planes. Hannon was in charge of overseeing the electrical cable testing. “It was chaotic,” said “Tom” Thompson, former president and CEO of DIT-MCO. “At that time each company made their own testers. There was no standardization. Hannon got the idea of making a ‘universal automatic analyser’ and somehow they got together.” This was so successful it was used by Boeing, and high prestige aerospace projects like the early “Hawk Missile,” the first intercontinental Atlas missile, the Polaris missiles for the Navy, the Titan missiles for the Air Force, and the Patriot Missile used in the Desert Storm War, as well as almost all the aircraft used by the Air Force, Army and the Navy. Many of the leading wire harness producers use the latest versions of DIT-MCO in the 21st century.

More Causes for Concern and Emphasis on the Need for Excellent Wiring Harnesses: UA 811 (1989) While the Air Accident investigators report for TWA 800 sent ripples through the global market place for electrical wiring, other accidents where wiring failure was a contributory cause have made troubling headlines. On


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

The FAA now demands more interaction between its officials and FAA designees during aircraftmodification projects and mandatory refresher training for engineers authorized to act on the Agency’s behalf.

February 24, 1989, United Airlines Flight 811 experienced a cargo door failure in flight after its stopover at Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii. The resulting decompression blew out several rows of seats, resulting in the death of 9 passengers. The aircraft involved was a Boeing 747-12. Martin B Aubury, 
Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and
Former Head of Aircraft Structures at the (Australian) Civil Aviation Authority made a number of insightful points about the response to this incident. The cause of the United Airlines accident never attracted the attention it deserved partly because blame was initially directed at the cargo handler. He was accused of not

closing the door properly, just another human error.9 However, the NTSB on finding the door and investigating it pointed a finger very clearly at the wiring: After studying the door and its internal wiring the National Transportation Safety Board changed its earlier findings. The probable cause became “…a faulty switch or wiring in the door control system which permitted electrical actuation of the door latches toward the unlatched position after initial door closure and before takeoff. Contributing to the cause of the accident was a deficiency in the design of the cargo door locking mechanisms, which made them susceptible to deformation, allowing the door to become unlatched after being properly latched and locked.”

The Lessons from Swissair 111 (1998) Swissair Flight 111 (SR-111, SWR-111) was a Swissair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 on a scheduled airline flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, to Geneva, Switzerland. It crashed on 2 September 1998 8 kilometres offshore from the United States. All 229 people on board died, the highest death toll of any aviation accident involving a McDonnell Douglas MD-11. Why? Flammable material propagated a fire that started above the ceiling on the right side of the cockpit near the cockpit rear wall. The fire spread and intensified rapidly to the extent that it degraded aircraft systems and the cockpit, and ultimately led to the loss of control of the aircraft. USA Today10 takes up the explanation: the probable cause was the wiring of a new entertainment system. After the Swissair crash, the FAA tightened oversight of private companies and individuals authorized to act on its behalf, but problems remain. Its post-crash review of other airliner entertainment systems turned up 18 installations that were improperly certified and unsafe. The FAA now demands more interaction between its officials and FAA designees during aircraft-modification projects and mandatory refresher training for engineers authorized to act on the Agency’s behalf. But, some designated engineers say the FAA lacks the technical expertise and resources to oversee the projects.11

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

Harnessing a Secure Future? Mary Dub, Editor

Flex circuits offer the advantage of dissipating heat at a better rate than other dielectric materials.

L

ooking over the horizon at the future in a volatile market with a high rate of technological change and intense global competition is hazardous to say the least. But it has value if only as a discussion point. First, the intense global competition; staying in the global market for electrical and electronic components is a ruthless and highly competitive endeavour. Leading on the latest technologies is high risk, but vital to be in the market. Flexi printed circuit boards are a new technology which may, in a shorter time than anyone can envisage, result in another paradigm shift comparable to mobile computing. They are an obvious adjunct and possible replacement for wires and wire harness assemblies. What are their benefits? They offer size and volume reduction and cost reduction. The thinness and lightweight of flexible circuits will enable a substantial packaging size reduction. More flexible circuits offer the capability of being folded or creased and positioned into the smallest areas, which makes miniaturization of many devices possible.

A Flexi Future? A thin and flexible polyimide film layer lowers material costs. Flexi PCBs can be used as interconnects to reduce the number of connections to be soldered. They have high temperature applications and can be used to replace wiring, which reduces the errors, which can be common in hand wired assemblies. Flex circuits offer the advantage of dissipating heat at a better rate than other dielectric materials. Even better, expansion and contraction are minimized when using polyimide material. Some manufacturers argue that the exceptional thermal stability of polyimide allows the circuit to withstand applications with extreme heat, as the material’s excellent thermal stability provides a better base for surface mounting than traditional boards. As a result, the compliant base film places less stress on

12 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

soldered joints, and so thermal mismatch is less likely to occur.12

High Density Interconnect PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) HDI-PCBs are pushing their way on to the electronics market. The manufacturers argue that they are an effective way to reduce costs. While some consumer products shrink down in size, quality remains the most overriding factor for the consumer, second to price. Using HDI technology during design, it is possible to reduce an 8-layer through-hole PCB to a 4 layer HDI microvia technology-packed PCB. The wiring capabilities of a well-designed HDI 4 layer PCB can achieve the same or better functions as that of a standard 8 layer PCB. Although the microvia process increases the cost of the HDI PCBs, the proper design and reduction in layer count reduces cost in material square inches and layer count more significantly. What are the benefits of HDI-PCBs? By using HDI technology, designers now have the option to place more components on both sides of the raw PCB. Multiple via processes, including via in pad and blind via technology, allow designers more PCB real estate to place components that are smaller even closer together. Decreased component size and pitch allow for more I/O in smaller geometries. This means faster transmission of signals and a significant reduction in signal loss and crossing delays.13

The Increased Manufacturing Costs of New HDI Technology While HDI-PCBs may have benefits for the consumer, they bring high associated costs for the manufacturer. Building non-conventional HDI boards requires special equipment and processes such as laser drills, plugging, laser direct imaging and sequential lamination cycles. HDI boards have thinner lines, tighter spacing and tighter annular rings, and


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

Although the microvia process increases the cost of the HDI PCBs, the proper design and reduction in layer count reduces cost in material square inches and layer count more significantly.

use thinner specialty materials. In order to successfully produce this type of board, it requires additional time and a significant investment in manufacturing processes and equipment. Much of this type of investment requires parallel investment in laser technologies. Using laser drill technology, drilling the smallest of microvias allows for more technology on the board’s surface. Using a beam of light 20 microns (1 Mil) in diameter, this high

influence beam can cut through metal and glass, creating the tiny via hole. New products exist such as uniform glass materials that are a low loss laminate and low dielectric constant. These materials have higher heat resistance for lead free assembly and allow for the smaller holes to be used.14 Whether such tiny wiring systems will become universal is something only time will tell.

Other Uses of New Laser Technologies Lasers offer multiple benefits in the modern electronics workplace. Undoubtedly they will become the preferred form of marking for wires. Laselec says its products provide the best alternative to non-permanent wire marking methods such as “Ink Jet” or to the out-dated and aggressive marking methods such as “Hot-stamping”. The UV laser marking process used in the ULYS™ and MRO 200 series involves no alteration of the insulating material and no damage to the wire, while producing a permanent high-contrast mark. Their laser wire markers will mark and cut-tolength wires from 6 to 26/28 gauge, including twisted pairs, fibre optics, Teflon wires …with tremendous productivity gains and great userfriendliness.15 Reviewing the recommendations from the various air accident investigations, the universal provision of laser marking without damage to the insulating layer would appear to hold advantage. The future in the field of harnessing is undoubtedly highly competitive with vigorous global competition. While global competitors in China and India deliver low cost and high volume products, the European and American market for carefully sourced and high quality products produced by a trained and dedicated workforce should be strong. Technological change in this area is running forward at a fast pace. Untried and high-risk new technologies may well reward the entrepreneur who can deliver at high specifications and low cost. Only time will tell.

www.defenceindustryreports.com | 13


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION WIRING HARNESSES, PANELS AND ELECTROMECHANICAL ASSEMBLY SOLUTIONS

References: 1

 http://www.researchinchina.com/Htmls/Report/2011/6133.html

2

http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4p54j6/global_automotive Global Automotive Wiring Harness Market 2011-2015

3

‘Compound Annual Growth Rate - CAGR

4

h  ttp://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4p54j6/global_automotive Global Automotive Wiring Harness Market 2011-2015 Infiniti Research Limited, September 2012, Pages: 41

5

NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 20594 AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT REPORT

In-flight Breakup Over the Atlantic Ocean Trans World Airlines Flight 800 Boeing 747-131, N93119 Near East Moriches, New York July 17, 1996 http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2000/AAR0003.pdf 6

1.16.6.3 Aging Effects on Material Properties of Wires NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 20594 AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT REPORT

In-flight Breakup Over the Atlantic Ocean Trans World Airlines Flight 800 Boeing 747-131, N93119 Near East Moriches, New York July 17, 1996 http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2000/AAR0003.pdf 7

1.16.6.3 Aging Effects on Material Properties of Wires 1.16.6.3 Aging Effects on Material Properties of Wires NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 20594 AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT REPORT

In-flight Breakup Over the Atlantic Ocean Trans World Airlines Flight 800 Boeing 747-131, N93119 Near East Moriches, New York July 17, 1996

http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2000/AAR0003.pdf 8

Aging Effects on Material Properties of Wires 1.16.6.3 Aging Effects on Material Properties of Wires NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 20594 AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT REPORT

In-flight Breakup Over the Atlantic Ocean Trans World Airlines Flight 800 Boeing 747-131, N93119 Near East Moriches, New York July 17, 1996

http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2000/AAR0003.pdf 9

10

http://avstop.com/technical/burning.html United Airlines from Honolulu to Sydney By Martin B Aubury 
Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society 
 Former Head of Aircraft Structures at (Australian) Civil Aviation Authority (United Airlines Flight 811 took off from Honolulu for Sydney) http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/biztravel/2003-02-16-swissair-investigation_x.htm Posted 2/16/2003 4:50 PM Updated 1/2/2004 2:49 PM Doomed plane’s gaming system exposes holes in FAA oversight By Gary Stoller, USA TODAY

11

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/biztravel/2003-02-16-swissair-investigation_x.htm Posted 2/16/2003 4:50 PM Updated 1/2/2004 2:49 PM Doomed plane’s gaming system exposes holes in FAA oversight By Gary Stoller, USA TODAY

12

http://www.epectec.com/flex/benefits/index.html

13

http://www.epectec.com/flex/benefits/index.html

14

http://www.epectec.com/flex/benefits/index.html

15

LASELEC website http://www.laselec.com/en/

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Special Report – Next Generation Wiring Harnesses, Panels and Electromechanical Assembly Solutions  

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