Markus Bachhuber, member of the management board of AKE technologies GmbH is certain: "The automated production of charging technology components makes a valuable contribution to the growth of e-mobility." AKE technologies' product portfolio specifically in this area includes assembly systems for charging sockets and cables, connector systems or charging column components.
"For the production of charging cables, we have developed an innovative concept that enables the automation of the complete assembly process. This allows the production of high quantities of a wide range of variants on a single line - while ensuring 100 percent traceability of the production data," explains the automation expert.
Maximum productivity thanks to uninterrupted setup and integrated buffer sectionsCable feeding with automated unwinding takes place in the first assembly section. Interruption-free setup and an integrated buffer section ensure high productivity and a standstill-free process - both when changing cable reels and during a type changeover. Length cutting and stripping processes are carried out via a movable cutting unit. The integrated cleaning station for talc removal is designed as an encapsulated unit including suction to guarantee technical cleanliness.
Single wire processing and sorting of the single wires as the greatest challenge in terms of automation capabilityThe next step is the processing of the individual cores of the charging cable. Processes such as untwisting, aligning and bundling the cable, length cutting and stripping processes of the individual cores, feeding and crimping different types of contacts, and joining the crimped contact pins into the connectors are automated. Process monitoring with integrated data management for traceability ensures component and processing quality. Various test processes (optical, electrical, leakage, push-out test) and force-displacement monitoring are used and assigned to the individual part.Particularly challenging in this processing step: the automated separation and fanning out of the individual wires of a 5-core cable. The problem was the so-called "lay" of the cable. Here, AKE technologies developed a smart concept that enables the automation of the process.
Automation up to the component output and packaging stationAfter the preparation of housing parts or connectors and the assembly with add-on parts, the charging cable is assembled in the final production step. Ultrasonic or laser transparent welding is the optimal solution for creating a tight connection between the components. In the integrated EOL test station, final tests are carried out in the DC area (connection tests and short-circuit tests) as well as tests in the HV area (dielectric strength and insulation tests). After the product has been labeled, the automated component output takes place with subsequent packaging of the completely assembled charging cable together with the operating instructions.
The innovative concept allows highly automated assembly of different charging cable variants (number of cores) with different cross-sections as well as lengths in a cycle time of approximately 30 seconds. The "open cable end" option is used for the production of charging station cables.The assembly concept is also variable in terms of worker deployment and plant location. Depending on the call-off figures, the line can be expanded to the highest level of automation. With the ever-increasing demand for electric vehicles, this concept makes a valuable contribution to securing the charging infrastructure.