More stable and leaner: Leoni synchronises product and process development with its Innovation Industrialization Center (IIC)

- Researchers, engineers and production specialists will be developing new wiring system architectures for tomorrow’s mobility in think tank
- Integrated processes and automation in production to boost resilience and productivity

Kitzingen – As of now, researchers, engineers and production specialists at Leoni will be closely linked in creating the wiring system of the future – at the Innovation Industrialization Center (IIC) in the Franconian town of Kitzingen. With this think tank, the Company will be strengthening its position as an innovation partner to the automotive industry.

Our mobility is transforming towards alternative drive systems and autonomous driving. This raises the demands on the wiring system as the car’s nervous system. It is a matter of controlling ever more functions and data – in ever less space and with ever less weight. A key response of Leoni’s developers is to have smaller-scale but intelligently connected wiring systems in the vehicle instead of the usual one central cable harness.

Walter Glück, CTO of Leoni’s Wiring Systems Division (WSD): “We call this approach the zonal architecture. It enables us not only to continue to connect the growing number of sensors and applications in the car in a fail-safe manner, but also to set up standardised and thus more productive and stable production processes.” That is an advantage not just at times of disrupted global supply chains.

To tap this and other potential, product and production at Leoni will be moving even more closely together with the IIC. On a space of about 3000 m2 – which corresponds to the area of two and a half Olympic swimming pools – experts representing research, development and production from all Leoni facilities worldwide will in future link up in project-related teams. It will be possible to involve suppliers, customers and universities at any given time.

“We will synchronise product and process development in our IIC,” says Leoni’s COO Ingo Spengler. Not least, zonal wiring system architectures thus facilitate more efficient production processes compared with conventional wiring systems. On the keyword of automation, a core issue for the first teams of experts in the IIC: the highlights in this respect include, for instance, the ‘Intelligent Harness Production Cell.’ This testing facility, which is unique in the world, permits fully automated production of smaller-scale cable harnesses. Collaborative robots made for working on the product together with human beings – also known as cobots – and smart logistics vehicles have also already moved into the new facility.

COO Spengler: “The IIC enables us to make sustained savings, among other things by way of globally standardised production processes and shortened ramp-up times. It is an investment in our future.”