Modifying standard trucks to fit defence purposes

inContext contributes with expert wire harness knowledge to the “Special Order” department of a large Nordic truck manufacturer. The S-order department modifies standard trucks to fit them to specific client needs, for instance search & rescue, fire fighting or defence. S-order vehicles often pose complex technical challenges that require thinking out-of-the-box. On top of that, S-order clients expect fast development with short time from prototype to delivery, so the developers have to meet tight deadlines.
Defense truck

In one Special Order project, the inContext wire harness engineers were tasked with redesigning a truck’s wire harness to meet especially high demands in regards to electromagnetic noise. As the vehicle would be carrying extra communication equipment like GPS systems, antennas and radios, parts of its civilian specs cabling had to be replaced by cables with extra shielding, to prevent electromagnetic noise coming from the truck’s wiring infrastructure to interfere with the extra on-board equipment. 

The task required retracing all circuit diagrams to make sure production staff changed the right cables and to make sure they would still fit, as a shielded cable is slightly thicker and stiffer than a standard one. 

Another S-order project required the inContext developers to design a separate, additional wire harness for the cabin of a truck. The goal of this “cab inside a cab” project was to prepare the cab to accept the equipment to be installed on the truck after being delivered to the client. The client should be able to easily put in the equipment, plug in the cables and immediately use the vehicle in the field. The project included fitting a complete technical infrastructure of the electrical system inside what was already there, preparing the cable harness, its mechanical counterpart, and the radio racks for the new equipment. The inContext developers also developed a standalone power distribution unit to exclusively power the client’s equipment, including a circuit breaker function from the power distribution to the rest of the equipment.

In every S-order project, the challenge for the development team is to make optimal adjustments to standard trucks to meet the client’s demands, while at the same time doing it in the most efficient way and as close to the manufacturer’s standard production methods as possible. 

To give a glimpse of the complexity of S-order projects, it takes twice the time to assemble a defence cab, versus a standard civilian specs cab.

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