Thursday, May 3, 2012

No. 503: Successful development of aluminum wire with the same strength as copper wire for vehicle wire harness (May 4, 2012)

With the intensifying demand for lighter autobody, wire harness invites considerable attention because a vehicle carries wire harness that extends 2-3 km and weighs 30 kg on average. In the domestic wire harness market, Yazaki is the leader with 40% share, followed by Sumitomo Electric with 35% share. The third largest maker is Furukawa Electric with 12% share. To increase the presence in the market, Furukawa Electric successfully developed new aluminum wire that is two times stronger than the existing aluminum wire, that is, the same strength as copper wire, in collaboration with Tohoku University and Nisshin Kogyo that is one of the leading producers of brake parts.

Because the newly developed aluminum wire has strength of 200 Mpa that is two times stronger the existing aluminum wire, it can be used as a harness around an engine subject to big vibrations and doors subject to impacts created by opening and closing in place of cooper wire. If aluminum wire harness replaces copper wire harness completely in a vehicle, the weight of the total wire harness of a vehicle will be halved. Lighter wire harness contributes to fuel consumption greatly because it is said that reducing the weight of a car by 100 kg improves fuel consumption by 1 km per liter. Furukawa Electric plans to start to ship samples in 2014 in time for the design of the models to be launched in 2017. The world wire harness market is expected to increase 30% to 4,500 billion yen in 2030 over the level in 2010. Though aluminum wire harness is currently estimated to account for less than 50%, the newly developed aluminum wire will accelerate the replacement from copper wire harness to aluminum wire harness. 

Introduction of high-pressure wire harness
for a hybrid vehicle by Sumitomo Electric  

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