Sumitomo Wiring Systems Ltd. (Yokkaichi City, Japan) manufactures wire harnesses for automobiles and office equipment. All the wire harnesses in an automobile consist of about 4,000 parts. Each harness is assembled manually, which makes the process difficult to optimize.

In the past, the company used a physical mockup to define, validate and optimize the assembly process. However, due to time and cost restraints, it was difficult to cover the entire production operation and integrate all design and production change requirements.

In 1998, Sumitomo Wiring Systems launched its Virtual Assembly System (VAS) with Delmia’s (Troy, MI) Envision and Quest programs to facilitate concurrent engineering among design, production engineering and manufacturing divisions.

Now, the VAS helps the company condense development cycles, detect early assembly problems during development and accelerate production ramp-up times. The VAS enables the company to produce many virtual iterations of potential wire harness designs, including layout, assembly and production flow. The production engineering department uses Envision to check interference between jigs and wires, validate wire harness layouts, and check twists and lengths of wires where harnesses are built into vehicles.

Quest optimizes line development by modeling the factory layout and simulating production flow before the factory is built.

"Through several development projects using the VAS, we clearly see the effectiveness of digital manufacturing solutions," says Koichi Sakakura, project leader for VAS development group. "We intend to expand its concurrent engineering efforts by using 3D data and strengthening collaboration between the design and production departments. Moreover, this system enables employees to share and use knowledge more efficiently, and it reinforces our relationships with car manufacturers," he says.

By implementing Delmia’s digital manufacturing software and increasing collaboration with car manufacturers, the company has decreased its overall development time by 67 percent.

For more information on digital manufacturing software, call 248-267-9696 or visit