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BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena

Artificial Intelligence enhanced digital factory twins for wire harness manufacturing

Alternative title: Digitale fabrikktvillinger for produksjon av kabler og fiberoptikk støttet av kunstig intelligens

Awarded: NOK 4.6 mill.

Project Manager:

Project Number:


Project Period:

2021 - 2023

Funding received from:


The Fortifier project is the joint work between Norwegian and German partners to provide, ‘A next generation solution for wire harness manufacturers’, which has been accomplished by applying and developing further the following technologies: - Artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance Industry 4.0 based design of wire harnesses - Robotics for flexible production - Open standards of data models for industrial data to enable integration of wire harness lifecycle data - Integration of blockchain solutions for trusted and secure supply chain management. Jotne have contributed to the project as project manager and by implementing and developing the open standard based ISO 10303 PLM repository, known as EDMtruePLM, along with AP242 functionality for wire harness data (ISO 10303-242 (AP242), "Managed model-based 3D engineering"). This solution also provided standardized data storage, exchange and archival, and Blockchain services, and user interface developments for end user data management. EDMtruePLM has been released with the required functionalities under – v3.2, v3.2.1, v3.3, v3.4 and v3.5 in the project timeline. T&G Elektro provided use case data from one of their customers, such as, wire harness technical requirements, including the bounding geometry for the harness, and methodology to be followed while designing and manufacturing the wire harness as an OEM. The data played a crucial role as input test data, such as wires, fixtures, connectors, backshells and related components. These were used by IILS and UoS in their knowledge-based design and analysis software "Design Compiler" and "Similarity Search". These use case requirements data were stored based in EDMtruePLM and retrieved by the German partners for use in their software. The completed wire harness design was then uploaded in the form of an AP242 file and integrated with the already existing requirements data. The generated result from the German partners offers T&G Elektro the capability to produce wire harnesses with reduced time and cost. The University of Stuttgart (UoS) supported the FORTIFIER project with selected AI technologies along the product lifecycle of a wire harness. In addition to that, the UoS was responsible for the manufacturing and factory layout planning as well as the execution of planned manufacturing scenarios in a suitable virtual environment. UoS successfully implemented three different AI techniques; the first being the similarity-based connector retrieval from PLM/CAD, second the improved simulation of flexible cables and harnesses, and third the validation of the virtually manufactured wire harness using modern image processing. The IILS mbH worked on the continuous automated process chain to develop and manufacture electrical and optical wiring harnesses. This process chain starts with the functional, logical, and physical architecture of a wiring harness, involves the 3D wire harness routing in arbitrary complex geometries and adds manufacturing-related components to finally end with the manufacturing planning and simulation of the wiring harness in a digital factory. Furthermore, IILS developed a data converter from the VEC-format (Vehicle Electrical Container) to the STEP AP242 format. The automated design process implemented with the software DesignCockpit43 of IILS in Germany works with the wiring harness data in the VEC format. Using the converter, this output of the automation process can now be converted to STEP AP242 and subsequently imported in the PLM system of Jotne for reuse and long term archival. The Norwegian share of the project ended on March 31, 2023, whereas the German share will continue throughout September 2023.

Outcome: With implementation of this project, we can automatically generate an optimized 3D wire harness geometry that will exactly fit for a given need, such as an airplane or a vehicle. We can exchange and store data via a central server using open standards, trace back changes in documents over the life cycle of a wire harness, simulate basic manufacturing tasks and search for geometric similar connectors within a large database. We can provide ready functionality using modern technologies like design languages and machine learning approaches. That includes the optimization of flexible shop floors using one or multiple robots. It is also possible to generate the required machine code for the machines used on the shop floor. Every piece of information can be stored in a standardized archival system. That allows the user to trace back changes and collect important information over the whole lifetime of a wire harness. This knowledge can then be used to design and manufacture future wire harnesses even better and simpler. The Design Compiler 43® with innovations in automated wire harness design, manufacturing planning, digital factory simulation and failure detection and prevention enables manufacturing optimization loops. The product lifecycle management (PLM) application EDMtruePLM for small and medium sized manufacturing companies is now capable of serving as data repository for design to manufacturing optimization loops. A set of algorithms was developed to solve the optimization problems related to wire harness manufacturing with knowledge to apply the above algorithms and tools for efficient and high quality wire harness design services for the automotive, aerospace, marine and process industries. Impact: This project will raise awareness of the modern innovative technologies and standards in a conservative wire harness industry. We believe that our technologies enabled with open standards like (STEP) AP242 and VEC, the graph-based design languages (using the Design Compiler 43), when properly deployed, could reduce the design time of wire harnesses by up to 30%, manufacturing planning costs by up to 25%, and administrative and information search costs by up to 50%. With respect to market, this improvements will boost technology transfer from academia to industry. Jotne will increase the software sales and now we also have commercial projects in the areas of Defence and Aerospace where EDMtruePLM will be used as a centralized standard repository. T&G will be improving the supply chain and exchange of the wire harness data across their customers using the standardized repository and knowledge based design languages. The team of Fortifier have collaborated in the EIT Manufacturing proposal that was focused on the improvements during manual handling of wire harnesses in case of heavy wire assembly operations. The result of the Fortifier project will be used for further research opportunities in the Wire Harness domain.

FORTIFIER will develop a next generation solution for wire harness manufacturers by adding new capabilities in knowledge­ based design and AI­ enhanced Industry 4.0 technologies for flexible production and manufacturing in combination with product lifecycle management (PLM) capabilities and exploiting the benefits of new open international and publicly available standards. To achieve this, advanced simulation techniques for flexible wire harness are for the first time combined with selected artificial intelligence techniques for wire behavior predictions, production planning, and manufacturing simulation of flexible wire harness assemblies including improved techniques for quality control. The need in trusted and secure supply chain management will be addressed by integrating existing block chain software. This project aims to reduce design time by 30%, manufacturing planning cost by 25%, and automate data exchange, sharing and archiving processes, which will cut administrative and information search cost by 50%.

Funding scheme:

BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena