Aluminium reduces weight of wiring systems by 20 per cent, Leoni claims

August 30, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With innovative elements such as aluminum wires and alternative conductors, pre-formed wiring elements and tool-optimized harness architectures, cable systems vendor Leoni AG announced to reduce the weight of the wiring harness for cars by as much as 20%. The wiring harness typically is the second heaviest part of a car after the engine.

At the International Motor Show (IAA 2013), the company will display a technology carrier according to the latest technology, a tailored harness with sensor technology as well as power distribution units and other electro-mechanical components. Furthermore, the company will present a variety of high voltage solutions.

According to the company, customers can save up to 20 per cent weight of a vehicle's wiring system by using our innovative technologies. This translates into six to eight kilograms less in a mid-size passenger car. On its IAA booth (D06, Hall 4.1), the company will show its major solutions integrated in a fully-equipped wiring system on a 2x4 meters carrier board.

Key factor for reducing the harnesses’ weight is the substitution of conventional copper wires. Besides copper wires with reduced cross-sections, Leoni mainly offers wires made of aluminum for all three power segments, i.e. with cross-section smaller than 2.5 mm2, up to 10mm2 and bigger. In spite of the fact that aluminum conductors have a higher cross-section in order to ensure the same electrical conductivity, the aIuminum technology allows a weight reduction of approximately 50 per cent compared to copper wires. The utilisation of aluminum products, wherever reasonable, will slim the wiring system’s weight by about 10 per cent.

Leoni will also present the effect of its in-house CAD tool TOODEDIS, which is used in order to optimise the wiring system for new car models in the design phase with the help of electrical and thermal simulations. By doing so, it ascertains the most favourable conductor cross section within the cable harness. The TOODEDIS tool helps to optimize the wiring harness’ total weight by up to 15 per cent.

The technology carrier on display at IAA 2013 will also incorporate a choice of electromechanical components like customer specific fuses, relay and junction boxes for low-voltage applications, hard-wired fuse units as well as a hybrid design power distribution unit based on PCB (printed circuit