When OEMs outsource cable assemblies, they are generally very specific about what they require, but further investigation on the part of the cable assembly manufacturer can uncover different opportunities, often saving time and cost in the process.
That’s the experience of Tom Hennessey, business manager for cable assemblies at GTK, who has overseen projects involving custom cable assemblies that have been manufactured around the world. “We recently conducted an analysis of products that we supply to customers and 98 per cent of them required some level of customisation. That means pretty much every cable assembly we manufacture is custom-built and we are set up to support this from a manufacturing perspective. Over the years we have noticed that, whilst the customer may have a fixed view of the specification of their cable assembly, when we discuss the application and installation elements, the final product may be quite different, and invariably better.”
An existing customer that manufacturers high end instrumentation products, incorporating multiple complex cable looms, asked GTK to assist in looking at ways to help them reduce their product build time dramatically. GTK attended a manufacturing workshop at the client’s facility and observed their product being assembled. Following this, GTK recommended a custom cable loom that would directly replace the 60 cables that were already supplied in kit form. A prototype sample was produced, with additional samples for the customer to test in their manufacturing facility. Once the design was approved, GTK started producing the new loom with custom packaging for the client, which meant that the loom could be quickly unpacked and installed straight into the customer unit. The result of this design change is that that it has reduced the customer’s product assembly time by 80 minutes per unit.
Another existing client that operates in the non-automotive transport market asked GTK to review the design of a cable assembly they were manufacturing in-house. The client felt the manufacturing process was very labour intensive. GTK conducted a design review and recommended several changes. GTK now combine the manufacture of this product using the Far East and UK (their blended model). In addition to adding product enhancements in the form of overmoulded hoods incorporating the client’s logo, an integral fuse holder has also been added into the assembly. The benefits to the customer are a 30 per cent cost reduction and a product that is more robust and easier to maintain in the field.
Tom commented: “These are just two examples of the ways in which we can help clients make improvements to their products and their bottom line. Our technical experts will often ask customers a lot of questions about their products. They want to understand the wider issues surrounding the customer, the product and its application and it’s through this understanding that they can come up with alternative ideas that can add value, save time and, ultimately, cost.”