Prototypes for Truck OEM Cost-Saving Project

One of inContext's strengths is working on projects with the first prototypes and starting without all designs finalized. An example of such a project was when an OEM planned to launch a low-cost model in a new market. We at inContext were there to support all the way from the design process to assembling the harness on the vehicle.

Already in the scope definition, it was clear that we would not have much time until deliveries were supposed to be done. While making the timeline, the customer worked hard to finalize the design. For everyone involved, we also knew that design changes and iterations were to be prepared for.

But it’s not the first time we at inContext worked in such conditions. We start with what we can! Securing the materials from all over the world, creating drafts of formboards, and familiarizing ourselves with the difficulties that may arise. We also made a decision, together with the customer, to rework some of the old designs to save time.

From the moment we got the design freeze, the inContext prototype team worked for 8 weeks until the delivery of the first harness truck prototype, including harnesses for the powertrain, cab, frame, and bumper. We followed up with the second truck just a week later. Along with the prototypes, the team also delivered formboard drawings to use in the RFQ for the harness in the local market at a later stage.

Between the deliveries, many design discussions took place, covering aspects such as end-of-life quality, design ideas, production feedback, and specification changes.

One of the largest topics for the inContext team was sharing not only how to lower part prices but also how to improve harness production. Cable harnesses are labor-intensive products. It’s very hard and time-consuming to automate the assembly of harnesses. So, the more complex they are, with various wires and variants, the more likely it is that a real person built them.

In the end, 9 trucks were delivered to the customers, along with 7 formboard drawings based on both 3D design and the actual prototypes.

To summarize: all harnesses will cost money, but making good choices and working early with many iterations will ultimately save money.

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