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Manufacturing Resources

The Power of Automated Work Instruction Systems for Cable Assembly Manufacturing

Author Richard Mason 2 min read
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The requirements for cable assemblies are increasingly becoming more complex in many industries, with more intricate configurations, hundreds of unique connector types working in tandem, and a massive variety of materials and parts. Even a relatively “simple” cable assembly for one product now could easily have a dozen connectors, tens of wires within, and particular sizing needs that must be crimped precisely. 

Multiplying that cable assembly and manufacturing one hundred, or one thousand of them that will be all exactly to specification requires extreme precision, rigid quality control, and excellent assembly staff. Custom cable manufacturers have to be especially careful as they are often working with unusual or untested prototypes, and will need to create documentation on the fly as they prototype, test and finalize custom solutions for their customers.

Efficiency and Precision Improvements

Technical Cable Applications utilizes automated work instruction software developed by Scout Systems, both for creating custom instructions for custom cable assemblies and wire harnesses as they are being prototyped and finalized, and for final product manufacturing to ensure that all assemblies are being produced properly and find any areas where efficiency can be improved.

One feature that TCA has found to be extremely helpful is the ability to track batch builds and create “time trials” for assemblies. In one instance, this feature helped uncover that a crimp tool requirement for an existing cable assembly was cumbersome and inadequate for the job at hand, causing what was supposed to be a 2-minute crimping process for each assembly to lag to 4-6 minutes by the time the 100th crimp was done because the tooling was too clunky.

Impact on Manufacturing Quality and Speed

This kind of optimization multiplied over a thousand cable assemblies, especially for orders that will be repeated again and again for long-term customers is massive for Technical Cable. Shaving off minutes by improving processes and saving wasted time and resources by having extremely detailed documentation for every assembly means that orders can be pushed out faster, with not only no loss of quality, but improved quality control since every step of manufacturing is guided by the software, and tracked for future improvements. 

Alongside other facility improvements that TCA has made in recent years, like the usage of extremely powerful crimping machines such as the Schleuniger 36SP Crimp Center and the expansion of their facility’s real estate by 50%, Scout Systems’ automated work instruction systems have been instrumental in Technical Cable Applications’ growth into one of the top cable assembly manufacturers in the USA.

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Richard Mason

By day I help people solve problems, by night I'm enjoying IPAs! For fun I work in my garage building gadgets that cost way more than they are worth.

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