KSK in auto manufacturing

What is KSK in auto manufacturing?

Modern passenger, recreational and commercial vehicles are built with an abundance of electronic features and components for safety and comfort. These range from air-conditioning, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems and automated features to electronic control units (ECUs) that manage braking, steering and throttle control. These electric and automated elements significantly influence a vehicle’s value. Further, the onset of higher levels of autonomous driving, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and electromobility increases the complexity of wire harness manufacturing.

A significant challenge for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and harness manufacturers is effectively managing complex wire harnesses from design and manufacturing to delivery. The most desired solution is the KSK concept (Kundenspezifischer Kabelbaum), which originates from Germany and translates to a customer-specific wire harness.

Angled picture of wire harness components placed on formboard.

Electrical wire harness design on formboard.

What is a KSK harness?

A KSK harness is a customized wiring harness that is manufactured based on customer specifications. The KSK concept is an approach to wire harness manufacturing, where wire harnesses are manufactured according to an individual list of modules, and each has an individual part number.

Advantages of KSK in auto manufacturing

KSK has grown to be successful and has expanded globally to all car categories and harness types. The KSK manufacturing method is successful due to its high levels of efficiency and flexibility, controlled logistics and planning; it leads to a unique product. Additionally, its zero give-away leads to no wasted materials, which increases its sustainability level – you are producing only what you need. This method also introduces an unlimited number of variants, controlled logistics with optimal work-in-progress (WIP), a flexible sales strategy, a modifiable production program, modular change management and the ability for the final customer to change the car content according to the logistics window.

Challenges of KSK in auto manufacturing

Traditional KSK data assimilation approaches could soon become irrelevant as harness manufacturers undergo digital transformation. Due to its complexity, KSK requires strong communication, data coherency and a robust data flow between disciplines from the request for quotation (RFQ) stages to production. The critical success factor in this business for harness manufacturers is eliminating silos between all major business disciplines for a successful KSK manufacturing model/system.

Data-driven, efficient operation of the KSK production system

KSK’s complexity requires strong communication, data coherency and a robust data flow between disciplines from the RFQ stages to production. Harness manufacturers must seek to eliminate silos between all significant business disciplines for a successful KSK manufacturing model/system. Manufacturers can optimize harness production for modularization, design rule check, creating modules and value analysis and value engineering activities by using advanced harness engineering software.

These production modules support efficient manufacturing without limiting flexibility and intensely focus on change management. Software for manufacturing can support production modules, harness analysis, bill-of-process (BOP), formboard preparation and work instructions for assembly operators.

Digital twin solution for KSK

KSK production generates and consumes large amounts of data daily. This data is critical to the efficient operation of the production system. However, data alone is not enough. Harness manufacturers must be able to gather data quickly, sort and filter out essential data and analyze to derive insight into the production process.

This is possible with a digital twin approach using a comprehensive E/E systems development solution for KSK. Harness manufacturers can use software, like Capital from Siemens Xcelerator portfolio, for tasks such as modularization, production module preparation, assembly board optimization, time calculation, line balancing, change management, standard working instructions and production reports.