BordNetzSim3D – Simulation-Based Design of Cable Harnesses and Digital Twin of the Wiring System Process

BMWK Project: Simulation-Based Process for 3D Mechanical Wiring System Design

In the project »BordNetzSim3D« funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), we are working with our partners to provide for the first time an end-to-end digitized platform and toolbox that enables companies to develop simulation-based vehicle electrical systems. Virtual product development – from the concept phase to production – paves the way from the hardware-oriented to the simulation-based digital wiring system process.

Optimizing a Complex Wiring System Means Optimizing Cable Harnesses

The on-board network is the term used to describe the totality of all electrical and electronic components in vehicles. It is already the nervous system of modern vehicles and is becoming increasingly important as a result of current developments – especially new drive and vehicle concepts (e-mobility), driving assistance systems and the networking of vehicles and/or autonomous driving. In the future, vehicles will be equipped with more and more electrical components and functions, and today's onboard networks are highly complex constructs. They largely consist of cables or cable harnesses with total lengths of several kilometers.

Our Project Goals at a Glance: Simulation as the Future of Virtual Wiring System Design

A modern wiring harness process (German BNP) ensures that companies in the automotive industry can plan, design, manufacture and assemble wire harnesses efficiently and digitally.

In the project, we support and establish such a BNP by

  • Identify and design a new type of on-board power supply process: What requirements and interactions within the company must this process fulfill?
  • Develop a fully digitized platform and toolbox: Which existing software tools should also be linked with each other?
  • Enable the simulation-based development of wire harness systems.

The central element is the Collaboration Hub, which acts as a superordinate control and information system in the form of a database for all necessary technical components as a cloud solution. The focus of our team at Fraunhofer ITWM is the development of a digital toolbox in which the essential apps for the collaboration hub are made available. We are also developing new experimental methods and designing test hardware to determine cable properties.

Digital Design of the Flexible Components in the Engine Compartment
© fleXstructures
Digital design and protection of flexible components in the engine compartment by IPS Cable Simulation.

The Main Areas of Development at the Fraunhofer ITWM at a Glance

  • Real-time simulation of complex wire harness structures
  • Experimental determination, modeling and simulation of complex cable structure properties
  • Determination of cable S-N curves for simulation-based service life prediction
Graphic New Wiring Harness Process
© Fraunhofer ITWM
New Wiring Harness Process

Expertise From Kaiserslautern: Fraunhofer ITWM and fleXstructures Expand Developments

The project approach is based on the software developed by fleXstructures GmbH (fX) together with our Fraunhofer ITWM team IPS Cable Simulation. To meet the current challenges, automotive and cable manufacturers are already using digital tools such as our IPS Cable Simulation software. The established software is being expanded in the project to include a number of functionalities and components. We are focusing our work on the entire wire harness development process and creating a digital twin of the wire harness design. One development focus of the Fraunhofer ITWM is the real-time simulation of complex wire harness structures. By default, IPS Cable Simulation works with constant effective stiffness properties. In »BordNetzSim3D«, we investigate the non-linear characteristics of these properties in more detail, develop more complex property models and make them available for IPS. In addition to the experimental work, we are also working on improving the estimation of these properties. A new concept for the comprehensive material data in the software is also planned (including 2D and 3D configuration, new binary format, GUI customization and MeSOMICS-data).


Consider Ergonomics, Assembly, Guidelines Directly in the Wiring System Process

Now and in the future, complex wire harness structures will be assembled by human workers in the vehicle. With a digital human model – as in our software IPS IMMA – motion sequences during assembly work can be simulated. Our software module offers fast and efficient algorithms for easily evaluating the ergonomics of assembly processes. In the project, aspects of ergonomics in the wiring system process are taken into account directly this improves working conditions both in production at wire harness manufacturing companies (German KBH) and during assembly in the vehicle. For the companies, this not only means time savings, but also better product quality.

The IPS IMMA software focuses on the digital modeling and simulation of human work activities.
© fleXstructures
The IPS IMMA software focuses on the digital modeling and simulation of human work activities – here during the assembly of a flexible wiring harness.

Our Project Partners

  • fleXstructures GmbH (project coordination)
  • Coroplast Fritz Müller GmbH & Co. KG
  • Volkswagen AG

Project Duration and Funding

The project is scheduled to run for three years (October 2021 to September 2024) and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) as part of the measure of the specialist program »New Vehicle and System Technologies«, area »Cross-Sectional Technologies«. The project volume is five million euros (70 percent funded by the BMWK).