Wiring Harness News WHN Sept-Oct 2020 WHN Sep-Oct 2020

• The Brokerage Scam • Simple Visualization of CAD Data • Electronic Harness/Interconnect Manufacturing • Technology Adoption Has to Start at the Top • How Flame-Retardant Cable Insulations Work • Strain Relief: Design Tips for Durability & Aesthetic Appeal • Wiring Harness Testing Evolution and the Advent of Test Fixtures • Light Weight & Normal Weight Wire Construction in Aerospace Wiring September October 2020 Company Profile: Fischer-Backus By Joe Tito Wiring Harness News ______________________________ Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen many wire harness and cable assembly operations change hands. Many who pioneered their businesses in the 1970’s or 80’s have passed them on to a next generation family member. Others that navigated the ups and downs have, through their hard work, been equally fortunate to find an outside buyer for their business. Fischer-Backus is one such business. WHN recently spoke with Tony Carstens, the current owner of Fischer-Backus, about the history of the company, his purchase in 2007, and strategy for growth. 4 Ways Industrial Manufacturing Companies Can Recover from COVID-19 By Atul Minocha, Dawn Werry, and Kimberly Miller ______________________________ When the pandemic first hit, the industrial manufacturing sector was changing daily. Now, at the start of the recovery phase, the whole industry is adapting. Some companies have had to find completely new markets for their products, while others have started making completely new products. Across the board, supply chains have been disrupted. Buyer behaviors have changed and go-to-market strategies have had to adjust in order to keep business moving. Here are the 4 ways industrial manufacturing companies can recover from COVID-19: 1. Respond to Customer Needs Even in the face of this disruption, some companies have refocused on what was not impacted and moved in a new direction. Many proactively asked how their customers’ businesses were impacted, what new products or components might be needed, and how they could respond as soon as activity picked up again. In this environment, it’s very ______________ Continued on page 8 Fischer-Backus’ sister company, PCI West. The company was started back in 1980 near Columbus, OH and Tony and his team celebrated their 40th anniversary this past June 23rd. David Backus and Steve Fisher were friends who worked together for an ABB subsidiary, but decided to venture out on their own. They had noticed a void of good harness suppliers and began making assemblies for ABB. In the beginning, that one customer represented a large chunk of their business. After about a year, Steve wanted out, and David bought out his shares. David grew the business to about 30 employees in the early 80’s and brought many new customers on board. As business went overseas in the mid to late 80’s, however, they pivoted to the type of high-mix, lowvolume manufacturing that is popular in our industry. In 2007, David decided to retire and was searching for a buyer for his business. The timing was perfect for Tony. “I’d worked for Parker Hannifin as an engineer for a few years, then moved to the Columbus area and worked for Honda for another 11 years. I had gotten my MBA while at Honda, and decided I didn’t want to work for anybody anymore,” he recalled. He looked for the right business opportunity for a couple years, had bid on a few, but nothing worked out. Finally, in 2007, Fischer-Backus became available, and Tony was able to put a deal together with David Backus to purchase the business. Tony had no experience in the industry, but with his manufacturing experience, was able to quickly come up to speed. Under new management, Fischer-Backus was able to gain a better foothold with existing customers, _____________ Continued on page 36 Schleuniger Group Acquires Cirris Systems After many years of cooperation, the Schleuniger Group and Cirris Systems Corp. have signed an agreement for Schleuniger to acquire Cirris, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, on the basis of an asset deal. The transaction is expected to be concluded in the third quarter of 2020 and the new company Cirris Inc. will take over most of the assets of Cirris Systems Corp. “With the acquisition of Cirris, Schleuniger is further extending its market lead in testing of cables, harnesses and connectors. Together with adaptronic Prüfsysteme and Schleuniger Test Automation, both located in Germany, we have now fully realized our strategic main direction of “Best in Test” and our ambition to be the global number one in technology, application and industry coverage.” says Christoph Schüpbach, CEO of the Schleuniger Group. The purchase of Cirris represents an important investment in a key growth segment for Schleuniger, further expanding the group’s broad testing portfolio following the January 2018 acquisition of a controlling majority stake in testing equipment manufacturer adaptronic Prüftechnik GmbH of Wertheim, Germany, as well as the May 2015 purchase of test automation solutions provider Cirris Solutions GmbH (now Schleuniger Test Automation GmbH) of Jettingen, Germany. Cirris Systems complements the product portfolios and global market coverage of adaptronic and Schleuniger Test Automation exceptionally well and opens up the North American market for testing and test automation. It also reduces Schleuniger’s dependency on the automotive industry as Cirris generates the vast majority of its sales outside this industry. In only five years, Schleuniger has built its testing business from the ground up to become a single-source supplier for all low- and high-voltage testing needs, from simple-to-use to highly configurable high-end testers and from standalone benchtop testers to partially or fully automated testing systems for virtually all applications in any industry. “We are excited to become a part of the Schleuniger Group after many years of sales and technology cooperation. Our product and service offerings complement the already extensive testing portfolio of the Schleuniger Group, and this acquisition offers us the chance to expand even more rapidly as part of the global Schleuniger organization. And no less important for a successful ______________ Continued on page 6