Copper wire harness makers are racing to keep pace with an explosion in auto ‘infortainment’ systems demand

Jun 01, 2010 | 05:38 AM | Myra Pinkham

It's a flat, flat world, at least for two wire harness producers who said they expect copper consumption to remain level, or even decline, going forward despite the red metal being the material of choice for the increased wiring needed to support a growing array of "gadgetry" in new vehicles.

"Copper is the traditional metal for wiring. It is the metal of choice due to its properties. It is easy to use and very conductive," said Randy Sumner, innovation manager at Streetsboro, Ohio-based Delphi Electrical/Electronic Distribution Systems. However, given the price and weight of copper, plus the fact that you can fit only so much wiring into the wire harness without needing more space, "the need for wiring optimization is paramount," and that could affect the amount of copper used per electrical harness. "We are looking to minimize copper use to fit into the constraints that we have," Summer said.

Nevertheless, he acknowledges that demand for copper wiring per vehicle has been rising.

Eric Leszczynski, senior technical specialist with Yazaki North America Inc., Canton, Mich., agreed. "As automakers increase the gadgetry or 'wow' factor of their vehicles, it requires additional electrical circuits." And more electrical circuits per vehicle means more wire per vehicle, he said.....

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