LEONI‘s Think Tank in the heart of the WSD headquarters
Since September 2022, LEONI unites expertise for maximum innovation, efficiency and pioneering production/manufacturing approaches in our Innovation Industrialization Center (iiC) in Kitzingen. This think tank houses laboratories, offices and a generous open space over an area of 3,000 square meters, where developers, production specialists and international experts come together. The consolidated know-how is used to standardize processes that are then rolled out to plants worldwide, ultimately leading to greater efficiency and shorter time-to-market.
In addition, at the iiC we work together with customers, suppliers and universities on new solutions, such as zonal architecture, which will be part of the wiring system of the future.
Innovation as well as optimization of processes - as a think tank or incubator, we at the iiC work on things until they are perfect, thus saving us time in the plants. Automation is playing an increasingly important role in this.
Here you can find an overview of some current projects.
Technologies such as e-mobility, connectivity and autonomous driving require an ever-increasing number of energy and data networks in the vehicle. This means greater complexity in development, production and installation, as well as more weight. Considering the extremely high model variance, practically no two wiring systems are alike. That's why automotive manufacturers and wiring system specialists are opting for zonal approaches with a few central processing units and smaller sub-harnesses. Where manual labor used to be necessary to process the complex wire harnesses, in particular the smaller sub-harnesses now offer an opportunity for fully and partially automated production concepts.
The iiC enables us to develop new wiring system concepts and production approaches. One project on which our researchers, developers, and production specialists are focused is the optimization of busbars to create structures such as a power backbone. With its rectangular cross-section, a fixed bar of this type offers several advantages for power transmission as compared to flexible round cables. Its benefits include less material usage, lower weight and installation space requirements, higher geometric flexibility, and greater potential for automated manufacturing.
Collaboration, not only interdisciplinary between different departments, but also between humans and robots, is a very important key-feature of the iiC and a promising topic in the manufacture of wiring systems. Robots and humans work side by side and complement each other’s strengths: humans take on the more manually difficult and intellectually demanding tasks, while robots are used where repeatability and 100% reliable verification are required. By integrating a vision system, artificial intelligence can be used to check whether everything has been wired correctly and is also seated properly. Manual effort for a human being, but child's play for a cobot.
In order to create wiring systems and manufacturing concepts of the future in our iiC, we pay attention to intelligent and clever details. LEONI's researchers, developers, and production specialists at the iiC are constantly seeking out promising new areas of exploration – and achieving great things in the process.
For example, inside of the iiC, small transport vehicles scurry around, carrying materials and components to different workplaces. The remarkable thing is that these autonomous vehicles find their own way to their destination. This idea is still a long way from commercial application in automobiles, but we are already successfully testing the technology – not only in the iiC, but also through initial applications in plant operations for regular serial production.