Automation and Craftsmanship: Advanced Tools for Building Cable Harnesses and Battery Packs

In a prior post, we explained that while we use the most advanced tools and systems for building cable harnesses and battery packs, we’re proud to say that our employees at Rapport still embrace the concept of craftsmanship and the goal of being artisans in their area of expertise. Most of them have been with us for many years, continually learning more about the needs and requirements of our customers, the materials we use, and the processes we have developed for turning individual components into high-quality finished products. 

In order to do that most efficiently and effectively, we leverage both our employees’ skills and automated machines. In that way, our customers get the best of both worlds: insights from experts and the speed and precision of the latest technology for producing cable harnesses and battery packs.

Sophisticated Systems and Proven Processes for Assembling Cable Harnesses and Battery Packs

In past blogs, we’ve mentioned our Artos CS-1 electrical wire cutting and stripping machine that was built in 1935. It was one of the first machines we bought when we started in the cable harness assemblies business, but we haven’t used it in more than 15 years. Today it is on display in our office as a reminder of our history and of how much technology has changed. 

One of the reasons we no longer use that big blue machine is that it took two people at least 15 minutes to set up a job. That amount of setup time is no longer practical in an era when automated wire cutting and stripping machines can be pre-programmed and ready to execute a task with the touch of a button. Once the settings are selected, the wire simply comes off a spool, runs through the machine, and is cut and stripped to exact specifications.

We also retired the Artos CS-1 for safety reasons. Its blades and other inner workings are exposed, increasing the risk of injury, whereas modern equipment is fully enclosed and designed with operator safety in mind.  

Today we use a number of high-tech machines that help our employees be productive and safe in their work. These devices include:

  • Three wire cutting machines. This includes a KM Digitech, a Komax LDC-HMI, and the newest device, a Komax Kappa 310. Workers simply find the spool of wire that matches their work order, hang it on the Eubanks 6215 electric feeder, and feed the wire to the cutter. Then they enter numbers for wire gauge size, wire length, strip lengths for each end, and the total number of wires needed. After a quick sample is produced and settings are adjusted if needed, the machine goes to work. Setup takes just five minutes.
  • Multiple wire crimpers. This includes 12 machines for attaching terminals and four machines to crimp quick disconnect and ring terminals. Setting these devices up takes five minutes and involves matching the work order with the spools of terminals and finding the applicator that matches the terminal. Then we install the die set to the crimper and feed the machine with the terminal. Here again, a sample is produced and adjustments are made before the production run is started.
  • Nine Unitek Miyachi battery welders. With these devices, we can change the settings to meet customer specifications in a minute or two. We perform a quick “pull test” on the weld to ensure it is strong, and adjustments are made when the machine senses the need for modifications.

Technology and Technique in Perfect Unison

No matter how sophisticated the machines for producing cable harnesses, battery packs, or any finished product become, the knowledge and experience of the operator will always play a role in the success of a project. Whether that means fine-tuning settings on a computer console or using a keen eye or experienced hands to detect characteristics of a sample that can be improved, producing the best results will require a collaboration between human and machine. 

That’s why we invest time and effort in ensuring that our employees are well-trained in production tasks and supported in their work by other seasoned staff members as they use advanced technology to complete projects. It’s a recipe for success that has enabled us to help our clients achieve their business objectives for three decades.Our full-service facility in Colorado can take cable harnesses and battery packs from prototype to final packaging, quickly and cost-effectively. Contact Rapport, Inc. today to get your project started!