DETROIT, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's domestic automakers have joined forces to improve reliability by developing common designs for electrical connectors on future generations of vehicles. The Big Three's newest consortium, Electrical Wiring Component Application Partnership (EWCAP), will attempt to reduce costs and product complexity while improving quality and serviceability. EWCAP will look for ways to cut the number of designs found on an average car and the domestic industry's inventory of connector-part numbers. It's expected that the number of designs will shrink from more than 100 to less than 10 within the next 20 years and EWCAP aims to cut parts numbers 80 percent, from more than 15,000 to 3,000. "We're trying to address the complexity and improve reliability for our customers," said Chuck Hurton, manager of Power Generation and Wiring for General Motors Corp. and chairman of the EWCAP's management committee. "For example, a 1948 family sedan's typical wiring harness, or electrical distribution system in today's jargon, weighed 10 pounds; had 150 feet of insulated wire; 35 connectors, none of which were sealed; 75 terminals and 55 individual wires. "To show how much it's grown, an electrical distribution system on today's luxury vehicle weighs more than 65 pounds; has more than 1 mile of insulated wire; 300 connectors, of which 100 are sealed; 2,000 terminals and 1,500 individual wires. "If your kitchen were as complex an environment, you might have 60 outlets to do the job of one outlet. You might need five adapters and a specially marked outlet just to plug in the toaster. There's really no need for that kind of complexity." With an annual operation budget of more than $750,000, the new research partnership will focus on developing common designs for four new families of blade- and pin-type electrical connectors that currently account for more than 99 percent of the connectors used on today's vehicles. Six research engineers, two each from Chrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and GM, will be assigned full-time to the program and more will become involved on a part-time basis. Formed as a research consortium, EWCAP will be part of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) -- the Big Three's cooperative research initiative. EWCAP will occupy facilities in Dearborn, Mich. -- USCAR's first co-located team of Chrysler, Ford and GM researchers. The consortium will be managed by a three-member committee, including Frank Povilaitis, Chrysler's Electrical Systems Department manager; Jeffrey Van Dorn, manager of Ford's Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department and Hurton. Chairman duties will be rotated annually. "Our goal is to establish common families of 'best in class' electrical connection systems," Hurton said. "We also plan to develop industry-wide test specifications and design guidelines for electrical components. "With standard components, we will make service repairs easier, electrical systems more reliable and dealership parts inventories less cumbersome and expensive. Suppliers benefit too, because they will have fewer parts to design. The savings should go to their bottom line." In addition to reducing the cost of developing and manufacturing electrical connectors, automakers and suppliers expect to improve component quality and open new, overseas markets for their connectors. The first of four new electrical connector groups is expected to appear in dealership parts inventories and new-car showrooms between 1998 and the year 2000. For example, design work on a 1.5 mm blade connector will be completed by year's end. Lab testing and manufacturing tests will be done by 1996. Following that, the new connectors will be ready to be included in the Big Three's full-vehicle product development cycles. Design work on a 2.8 mm blade, 6.3 mm blade and 1 mm pin will be completed by mid-1995. The last family of connectors will be included in product development cycles in late 1998. Current suppliers will continue to support EWCAP through the development of the new, common designs. They are Alcoa, Fujikura Ltd.; Augat; American Yazaki; AMP; Cardell Corp.; Electro-Wire Products, Inc.; Interlock Corp.; Molex Inc.; Osram/Sylvania Inc.; Packard Electric and United Technologies, Automotive. Discussions leading to the formation of the Big Three's newest consortium began during the fall of 1992 and led to the establishment of a full-time study group in late 1993. EWCAP is the 13th research partnership formed under the USCAR umbrella. USCAR was established in 1992 by Chrysler, Ford and General Motors to coordinate the growing number of cooperative, pre-competitive research and development programs among the three companies. -0- 6/1/94 /NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information or interviews, CONTACT: Public Relations Contacts Interview Candidates Dick Thompson Chuck Hurton General Motors Corporation Manager 810-986-5721 Power Generation & Wiring General Motors Corporation Chris Preuss Frank Povilaitis Chrysler Corporation Manager 810-576-8095 Electrical Systems Chrysler Corporation Pam Kueber Jeffrey Van Dorn Ford Motor Company Manager, Electrical and 313-337-2456 Electronics Engineering Dept. Ford Motor Company Scott Fosgard Dan Walkowicz USCAR Executive Director 313-248-4298 USCAR/ (F C GM) CO: United States Council for Automotive Research ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU: JVN TO -- DE014 -- 2123 06/01/94 13:00 EDT -0- (PRN) Jun/01/94 13:00 EOS (PRN) Jun/01/94 13:00 86 â -0- (PRN) Jun/01/94 13:15
BIG THREE JOIN TO REDUCE ELECTRIC WIRING COMPLEXITY; IMPROVE
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.