Wiring Harness News WHN Jul-Aug 2013

INDUSTRIAL INFO-TAINMENT s • The Car i : e h s T su re • 2013 Electrical Wire Processing Expo Is tu • Is Bigger Better in the Wire Harness Business? a e F • Wire Wisdom - Over View of Common Field Tests Wiring Harness News NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 1 • Six Road Blocks When Designing High Voltage Connectors and Assemblies JULY/AUGUST 2013 Altex By Fred Noer __________________________________ “Work smarter, not harder.” I f Altex were to adopt a slogan, this may very well be it. The phrase aptly describes the prevailing phi- losophy at the company, which manufac- tures custom wiring harnesses, cable assemblies and electromechanical assemblies. The firm is headquartered in Westfield, Ind., (at the far north end of the Indianapolis metropolitan area) and has a plant in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. To be able to work smarter, trans- parency is emphasized at the company. “There is a lot of sharing of information,” said Rick Bromm, 51, vice president of business development. “We need every- one to be critical thinkers. If people are without a good understanding of the whole company, they can’t make good decisions about what they do and how it affects the big picture. “Ultimately their understanding flows down from the corporate goals and objectives,” Bromm said. “Then they can make better decisions at the front lines and have autonomy to what they’re doing. It definitely has contributed to our execution and performance.” Such a focus on intelligence and empowerment of the 57 people (17 in administration, 40 in production) at the two facilities has proven effective. Bromm stated Altex should gross $9 mil- lion in sales by the end of the year. That would represent an 11-percent gain over 2012. He foresees the same growth next year. In 2009-12 the company grew 37 percent. When Altex concentrated on making The 2013 National Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo broke records once again as it was held May 8 and 9 at the Delta Center in Milwau- kee. See page 29. ALTEX builds electro-mechanical assemblies– including circuit boards, instrument panels and cable harnesses — to customer specifications. passenger car wiring harnesses and seat- belt lock systems in the 2000s, company sales peaked at $13 million. “We grew at a good clip when we rode the automo- tive industry wave,” Bromm said. “Our revenues were higher, but now we’re making better profit. When automotive declined, so did we. It’s good we saw that, managed it and diversified.” Even with the recession at its height in 2008-09, Altex made money, according to Bromm. “We’ve always had a strong balance sheet,” he said. “We finance our operations through cash flow and cash on hand.” Such overall expert financial manage- ment is attributed to Altex president Ben Weidberg, 64, MBA and CPA. He bought ________________Continued on page 50 6 Road Blocks when Designing High Voltage Connectors and Assemblies By David Galambos, President Canton Connector Corp __________________________________ Designing a High Voltage cable assem- bly and connectors can be very chal- lenging. There are many aspects of the cable assembly that must be considered. Before beginning the design you must answer some general, but very impor- tant questions like: What is the operating voltage and current? What type of envi- ronment will the cable be operating in? Will the cable be required to meet any specifications? Are there any specific requirements from the customer? After you have answered these first round questions you can begin drafting a design. We have come up with the six most common design road blocks and tips on how to avoid and overcome them. Size Constraints: Size constraints often make the chal- lenge of designing a High Voltage con- nector and cable assembly extremely dif- ficult. Generally the High voltage cable assembly is the last piece of the puzzle that customer’s think about when designing their equipment. Often times the space required for a high voltage connection that meets their operating requirements isn’t available. The indus- try is constantly moving towards smaller lighter assemblies with increased oper- ating thresholds. Using spacing to offset high voltages has become a thing of the past. Companies now look to the design team to come up with a solution that will resolve these issues and still keep the cost of the cable assembly down. Generally a custom connector design is required to achieve this goal. Designing around an existing connector: Designing around an existing connec- tor can prove to be extremely difficult. Customer’s come in with an existing connector that they cannot deviate from. Generally these connectors are not performing up to their require- ments, or mates to another component which is a grandfathered part of their design. Another reason could be the con- nector needs to perform at an increased performance threshold that cannot be met with the current configuration. Whatever the case may be an in depth analysis of the inner working of the con- nector assembly is required. Working closely with the customer, the engineer- ing team will analyze all aspects of the design what materials are utilized? What are the mechanical and electrical prop- erties of the materials? What aspects of the design can be changed to meet the required specification without effecting _________________Continued on page 4