The research project Next2OEM addresses the entire value chain for automotive wiring harnesses. The project aims to digitize and automate the value chain to enable the reshoring of wiring harness manufacturing to Germany. For a “next-to-OEM wiring harness manufacturing“, highly automated process steps for wiring harness production at the supplier and assembly into the car body at the OEM will be developed, set up as a demonstrator, and interlinked. Employing an innovative information model, which semantically describes both the product and the newly developed production processes, digital continuity is ensured. This enables the orchestration of automated manufacturing steps and traceability at the component and process level. The project consortium includes partners in the complete wiring harness value chain. This ensures that holistic automation solutions are achieved for all process steps from the connector production over cable assembly, shaping, cable protection, testing, and logistics to the assembly of the wiring harness into the car body. The prototypical implementation at the OEM validates the novel automation system and lays the foundation for further development activities required for series applications.

The project Next2OEM, with a total volume of more than 24 million euros, has a duration of three years, starting February 2023 and ending January 2026. Partners are TE Connectivity and KOSTAL Kontakt Systeme as connector manufacturers, semantic PDM for the development of a graph-based information model, and Kromberg and Schubert as wiring harness manufacturers. Other key automation partners include Komax Taping, Komax Testing, Stefani Maschinenbau, BÄR Automation, and ArtiMinds Robotics. AUDI AG, as the consortium leader, is responsible for the design of wiring system architectures suitable for automation and the assembly process into the car body. The Institute for Factory Automation and Production Systems receives project funding of approx. 2.3 million euros to drive research in the fields digital factory and traceability on product-level and process-level. The institute is also responsible for the automation of the process steps protection of wire bundles and wire harness assembly into the car body.

The project is funded by the KoPa 35c funding program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).