US 3913202 A
A system and method for assembling electrical wiring harnesses composed of a plurality of wire runs between specified terminal points where the terminal points for each run present a visual indication as a wire run is made and the indications are extinguished as the wire is properly placed.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ 1 Oct. 21, 1975 United States Patent 1191 Pyle et al.
Fiber APPARATUS FOR MAKING ELECTRICAL 3 169,305 2/1965 29/203 B W NG HARNESSES 3,192,352 6/1965 240/2 S 3,407,480 10/1968 Hill et 29/203 MW  Inventors: Wayne E. Pyle, Cheshlre; Robe J- 3,440,531 4/1969 .lasorka et 29/624 X Doucette, Wallingford, both of 3,623,066 11/1971 Norris,...................... 29/203 MW X Conn. 3,705,347 12/1972 Tuller....................... 29/203 MW X 3,755,661 8 1973 B d 240 2 S  Assignee: Questech, lnc., Hamden, Conn. ouvmn e I  Filed: Aug. 10, 1973 Primary Examiner-Lowell A. Larson Assistant ExaminerJoseph A. Walkowski 21 Appl. 190.; 387,497
Attorney, Agent, or FirmDeLio and Montgomery  ABSTRACT A system and method for assembling electrical wiring harnesses composed of a plurality of wire runs between specified terminal points where the terminal 29/203 MW; 29/203 B; 29/624; 317/122 6 0W MM 1 x 3 KOW 52 0 HB; 5 "m2 2O MR W32 "0 "9 n mm mm m n zc l .m tn .mh 1:1 8 55 points for each run present a visual indication as a wire run is made and the indications are extinguished as the wire is properly placed.
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,768,428 10/1956 McGregor et al. 29/203 MW 15 Claims 10 Drawing Figures atem Oct. 21, 1975 Sheet 1 0f 4 3,913,202
BQLIZ US. Patent 0a. 21, 1975 Sheet 3 of 4 )TH A52 \RE ,5 1 PQNEL. x32
DECODEK HND DRWEK MQTmX CONTROL iQMP MEMORY RND DRWEK LOGIC :DECODEK' APPARATUS FOR MAKING ELECTRICAL WIRING HARNESSES This invention relates to wiring harnesses, and more particularly relates to an apparatus for making such harnesses therefor.
A wiring harness is a preformed assembly of wires, usually coded by color, of different lengths and groups, which are designed to make connections between components in an electrical system. The wiring harness, being preformed, may be made at a remote location, and later connected into the system.
The harnesses are usually preformed on a board which includes a plurality of terminal points defined by receiving clips for the ends of wire runs, and usually guide pins between the end points. An assembler reads each wire run from a chart. The chart will indicate the type of wire including color code, the length of wire, the terminal points, and perhaps routing information. When all wires are placed, they are tied together at appropriate locations to form the assembly or harness, and then forwarded to the place of connection.
The above-described method is very timeconsuming, and may be fatiguing on the assembler, resulting in error. Additionally, a quality control inspector must check out each run to verify the accuracy of the wire runs of each harness.
The present invention provides a new apparatus for assembling such wiring harnesses, which eliminates the necessity for the assembler to continually read the wiring chart, select a wire from a source, run the wire, cut the wire, and repeat these steps a multiplicity of times for each harness. The present invention further eliminates the requirement for the redundant quality control inspection.
The present invention provides new apparatus under the instructions of a program for signifying to the assembler the wire that is to be used and for visually indicating the terminals between which each wire is run, and then extinguishing the terminal indication only when the wire is run properly between the correct terminal.
Briefly stated, the invention in one form thereof comprises a board having wire receptacles thereon defining ends of wire runs and a programmed means for producing a visual indication of two or more receptacles defining the ends and path of a run. When the ends of a run are placed in the correct receptacles the visual indications are extinguished. When all visual indications are extinguished the program means is enabled to present visual indications of the succeeding run. The invention further provides a new and improved receptacle for defining the terminal ends of wire runs on a wire harness assembly board in which a visual indication of the terminal point is first made and then extinguished when the run is complete.
An object of this invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus for facilitating the assembly of wire harnesses.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved system for visually indicating the steps of assembly of a wire harness.
A further object of this invention is to provide a new and improved device for visually indicating the terminal points of a wire run on a wire harness assembly board.
The features of the invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. The invention, however, both as to its organization and operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof may best be appreciated by reference to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an elevation of one apparatus used in the practice of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 seen from the right side thereof with respect to FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a rear view of the apparatus as seen in FIG.
FIGS. 4 and 5 are elevations of a wire receptacle mounted to a harness assembly board shown in FIGS. 1 3;
FIG. 6 is an elevational schematic exemplifying the operation of the device of FIGS. 4 and 5;
FIG. 7 is a block diagram of the electrical logic system used in conjunction with the apparatus;
FIG. 8 is a diagram, partly schematic and partly in block form of a portion of the system of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a diagram, partly schematic and partly in block form of a portion of the system of FIG. 7; and
FIG. 10 is an elevation of another wire receptacle mounted to a harness assembly board and adapted to receive the end of a wire run.
An apparatus 10 embodying the invention as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 comprises a wire supply member 11 which may be movably mounted on wheels or casters 12 and has an arm 13 extending therefrom to support a harness board 14 thereon. Member 11 comprises upright members 15 and 16 which support a wire supply panel 17 thereon. Rear upright members 18 support a plurality of diagonally directed members 19, 20, 21 and 22 together with front support members 23. Carried by the diagonal members 19 22 are a plurality of shafts or journals 30, each adapted to have one or more reels 31 of wire mounted thereon for rotation. The wires from the reels, as exemplified by wire 32 in FIG. 3, extend through predetermined apertures 33 arranged in rows 34, 35, 36 and 37 through panel 17. Associated with each aperture 33 in indicating relationship thereto is a lamp 38. The lamps are arranged in rows 39, 40, 41, and 42 in operative indicating relationship with each of the aperture rows 34 37, respectively. As will hereinafter be more fully described, a lamp 38 is illuminated to signify to the assembler the aperture 33 for which a wire for a given run is to be taken. The harness board 14 includes thereon a definition of a plurality of terminal points. These terminal points are defined by a receptacle for the terminal end of a wire. Guide pins (not shown) may also be provided on harness board 14 to define bends and radii. Each receptacle 47, as more clearly shown in FIG. 4, is arranged to be illuminated, and provides a switching action when a wire is placed therein. The boards may optionally contain an aperture (not shown) adjacent each of the receptacles 47 to permit the free end of a length of wire to be disposed beyond the working surface of the harness board 14. The receptacles 47 provides a plurality of functions in acting as a clip to receive and hold a wire, act as a means for indicating the terminals of a wire run, and to signify when a wire run has been correctly positioned.
Each of the receptacles as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 comprise a body 48 of translucent material having a cavity at the lower end which receives therein a light emissive device such as lamp 49 and a lamp receptacle 50 which are mounted to a pushbutton switch member 51. The switch member 51 has terminal connections 52 and a switching mechanism disposed in the body which is received within harness board 14, and secured therein by means of a nut 53. A pushbutton member 54 mounts the lamp receptacle 50.
A satisfactory switch for this purpose is a Type 533 manufactured by the Marco-Oak Division of Oak Electronics of Anaheim, California. The nut 53 further serves to hold a retaining clip 55. The retaining clip has at one end thereof a channel-like portion 56 which serves as a guide for body 48. Clip 55 further engages body member 48 at portion 57 and has eyelets defined thereon to receive the ends 58 of a resilient arm member 59. Arm member 59 has its upper portion formed as at 60 to contact member 48, and as at 61 to define with member 48 a concave recess to receive a wire W. When a wire W is placed in between portion 61 of arm 59 and recess 62 of body member 48 and downwardly directed, the force exerted thereon will cause arm 59 to flex back and permit wire W to be moved into a wire retaining passage or well 63. This downward force will also cause body member 48 to move downwardly in channel 56 and actuate pushbutton switch 54 to open the switch, as schematically shown in FIG. 6. As the wire is forced to the bottom of well 63 or on top of other wires therein, this force will also open the switch. Thereafter, when the force is relieved the bias of an internal spring (not shown) in switch 51 will return the pushbutton 54 upwardly and close the switch.
When lamp 49 is energized, the translucent body 48 will glow and provide a very obvious indication. The body may be made of any material which will diffuse the radiated light energy. A fluorescent plastic may also be used. The members may be readily molded in any color, and preferably will be designed to protect the lamp. The member 48 has shoulders 64 defined thereon to prevent withdrawal from clip 55.
As hereinafter described, this opening of the switch will reset a memory device and extinguish an illuminated receptacle which signifies an end of a wire run.
FIG. 7 exemplifies in block form the logic and programming of a method and system embodying the invention. The system includes a tape reader 70 adapted to read programmed information in coded binary decimal form from a perforated tape T. The tape T may contain blocks of the following data as shown. A first line of an erase or clear signal; a second line indicating the run number; next the wire number to indicate the wire to be given a run; a start number to indicate one terminal receptacle which will be illuminated, and a stop number to indicate the other terminal to which the wire run is to be made. The tape may also include a stop reading or block end signal row and various spaces (not shown) in between the other intelligence to signify the end of a particular bit of information to the tape reader. The tape reader advances automatically through a block upon the closing of an operator foot switch 71 and the information in binary coded form is read serially from each row of perforations on the tape by the tape reader and applied to a decoder 72. The tape reader will read each row or rows between spaces and apply such data serially to decoder 72. The tape reader may be of the type manufactured by Addmaster Corporation, Series 600, of San Gabriel, California.
The first signal, the erase signal, is utilized as hereinafter described. The run number signal is optional and may be forwarded from the decoder 72 to a run visual number display .73. The next intelligence, the wire number, after being read by the tape reader is applied to decoder 72 where it is converted to binary from and applied to a decoder and driver matrix 74. Decoder and driver matrix 74 is preferably an eight by sixteen matrix of silicon control rectifiers (SCR) which will provide a driving signal to one of ninety-six lamps 38 on wire panel 17 to indicate which wire is to be used for the next run.
The decoder itself comprises integrated circuit chips arranged for three-decade conversion of binary coded information to binary form using Texas Instrument, Inc. Chips 74184 as shown on Page 9146-of the Texas Instrument Integrated Circuits Catalog for Design Engineers, First Edition. The decoder contains a counter and suitable coincidence circuits to route succeeding rows of data on tape T to the correct circuit. The decoder will next receive the start number, which is converted to binary form and applied to the lamp memory and driver network 75. This network comprises a plurality of gates arranged in coincidence to provide, for example, one to 64 driving signals, as hereinafter exemplified. The network further comprises a number of SCR drivers, as hereinafter exemplified. Each of the SCRs functions is a switch, a memory and a lamp driver. Memory and lamp driver network 75 selects the two receptacles 47 which define a wire run and illuminate such receptacles. As a run of wire is made between the two receptacles and the wire placed therein, the receptacle switch 51 is opened and that lamp extinguished. When both lamps are extinguished a signal is applied to the control logic network '76 to permit the tape reader to advance the tape to and read the next block of information thereon, when the assembler closes a foot switch 71.
Reference is now made to FIG. 8 which exemplifies the power supply of the control logic 76. Power is supplied to main power buss 77 through a power transistor 78 which is normally on. The power as shown is negative and as power is supplied, a capacitor 79 charges through diodes 80. Assume that the power is being applied to drive the lamps of two receptacles as shown on harness board 14 (FIG. 7). As the first lamp is extinguished there is a drop in current. This drop in current in line 77 is reflected through a series transformer 81 and a pulse is applied to an amplifier 82. The pulse is amplified by amplifier 82 and applied to a one-shot multivibrator 83 which supplies a pulse count to a counter 84. When the count in counter 84 reaches a predetermined number, for exampletwo, counter 84 will apply an enabling signal to a gate 85. When gate 85 is enabled it signifies that both of the terminal receptacles on the harness boardhave been extinguished and the wire run has been complete. Now, as the assembler depresses foot switch 71, a negative going pulse will be applied to the base'of transistor 86 which turns on, and terminal point 87- will move toward ground. This will raise the bias on the base of transistor 88 which turns on and, in turn, turns off power transistor 78. This will cut off driving power to all of the displays, and clear the wire identification lamp 38 on wire panel 17.
FIG. 9 exemplifies the lamp driving and memory network 75 of FIG. 7. Binary information from decoder 72 is supplied over lines 90 in binary form to a coincidence type binary to arabic number decoder 91 which, dependent on the information on lines 90, will select a'memory unit 92 in the form of an SCR 93. For purposes of example, assume that there are one hundred twentya firing signal to its associated SCR 93. Each SCR is in I series with the receptacle lamp 49 as is each receptacle switch.
With this arrangement the two or more receptacle numbers may be read in serially from decoder 72, each SCR memory fired, and then a succeeding SCR number may be read in. As the ends of a wire run are placed at the identified receptacle and open normally closed switches 51, the power circuit through the SCR memories is broken and the lamp 49 in circuit therewith will be extinguished.
As previously explained, as each lamp is extinguished a count thereof is made. When all lamps have been extinguished and counted, then the tape T may be .advanced. All of the SCRs which are of the complimentary type include a biasing circuit, generally indicated 94, which holds the SCR off until a firing signal is applied to the gate 95 thereof from decoder 91. The SCRs act as a memory in each staging as others are fired or the terminal receptacles are read into decoder 91 serially.
It will be recognized that the system as described is self-verifying in that information for a subsequent wire run cannot be derived or displayed until the preceding wire run has been correctly made and the wire receptacle lamps extinguished. Unless the lamps are extinguished, the assembler will have an indication that the proper wire run has not been made.
FIG. exemplifies an alternate form of board receptacle. Receptacle 100 comprises a translucent body member 101 which has a contact 102 cast therein together with leads 103 and 104 to a lamp receptacle 105. Body member 101 is seated in a metallic clip member 106 having an electrical lead 107 connected thereto. Body member 101 and clip 105 are secured to board 14 as by means of a bolt 107a and nut 108. Flexible arm 109 of clip 106 and body member 101 define a wire retaining well 110 adapted to receive the ends of wire runs therein. Portion 109a of arm 109 define a switch contact which is opened as a wire is inserted into wire well 110. The leads 103 and 107 are connected in the anode circuit of an SCR 93, so that when the SCR is fired, opening of contacts 102 and 109a will extinguish lamp 111 and turn off the SCR.
The wire receptacles may take any physical form which will serve the desired functions of providing a visual indication of the correct placement of a wire, extinguish the indication when the wire is placed therein, and retain the wire during assembly of the harness.
The wires to be run may be cut from a reel at any time during or after placement of a run. The ends of the wires may extend a short distance beyond a receptacle and cut to final length after the harness is assembled. As used therein, the reference to the end of a wire being received in a receptacle includes that portion in the receptacle which may not be the absolute end of a finished assembly.
It will thus be seen'that the objects of the invention set forth as well as thosemade apparent from the foregoing description are efficiently attained. While preferred embodiments of the invention have been set forth for purposes of disclosure, modification to the disclosed embodiments of the invention as well as other embodiments thereof may occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to cover all embodiments which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for assembling wire harnesses, comprising a board, a plurality of wire receptacles mounted to said board in a predetermined arrangement to signify beginning and ending terminal points for a plurality of wire runs, said receptacles adapted to receive and hold one or more wires therein, each of said receptacles including a light emissive device and a switch in circuit therewith,said switch being normally closed but responsive to placement of a wire in said receptacle to open.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said receptacles have a body portion of translucent material and said light emissive device radiates into said translucent material.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said receptacles include a resilient wire retaining clip, said clip being displaceable to accept a wire.
4. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said receptacles are responsive to pressure exerted thereon to open said switch.
5. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said receptacle includes a spring clip defining with said body portion, said spring clip arranged to be displaced to permit placement of wire in said well.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said clip forms part of said switch, and displacement thereof opens said switch.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said receptacle defines a well to retain wire therein, and including a light conductive body member with said light emissive device carried thereon, and said switch.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 further including control means, and wire run instruction means, means responsive to said wire instruction means to cause said control means to illuminate at least two of said receptacle light emissive devices.
9. The apparatus of claim 8 further comprising a supply of a multiplicity of different wires, an indicating means positioned to indicate each wire, and means responsive to said instruction means, and said control means for energizing one of said indicating means.
10. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said instruction means includes an advanceable instruction medium with a plurality of wire run instructions thereon, and reading and advancing means therefor, means responsive to placement of a wire in each of the illuminated receptacles to permit said reading and advancing means to advance said medium for reading of the next wire run instructions thereon.
11.-The apparatus of claim 10 further comprising a supply of a multiplicity of different wires, an indicating means positioned to indicate each wire, and means responsive to said instruction means, and said control means for energizing one of said indicating means.
12. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein each of said light emissive devices and its associated switch is in circuit with an electronic switch, means for rendering two of said electronic switches conductive to illuminate two of said light emissive devices.
15; The apparatus of claim 14 wherein said electronic switches are controlled rectifiers having a gate electrode, and means for applying a gating signal to the gate electrodes of two selected rectifiersj