New Sleeve Saves Weight, Space & Time

Anything that can take time, materials, weight and cost of the wire harness is sure to be a hit, especially in the automotive realm. OEMs and tier one suppliers of harnesses have long used split convoluted PVC tubing to protect circuits in a harness assembly. It can be opened and closed repeatedly and provides excellent abrasion resistance as well as protection of any flying road debris like stone chips. But it requires multiple steps in production and can add weight and bulk to the harness.

Jose Valdez is the North American Sales Manager for tesa tape. They are a leading manufacturer of pressure sensitive adhesives serving multiple markets and applications. He and his team spend a great deal of time at OEM and Tier 1 automotive harness manufacturers looking for problems to solve. “That’s really the value proposition of tesa. We are always trying to offer intelligent solutions versus just saying, ‘ok, here is our product for that,’” he explained.

Such was the case with the introduction of their new noise reducing and abrasion resistant product they are calling SuperSleeveplus. The tesa folks noticed the use of the corrugated material required multiple steps. Many manufacturers were wrapping the harness with tesa’s soundproofing tape, then inserting into the corrugated tube. Since one of the issues with the tubing is that the circuits can become exposed when flexed (Figure 1), many manufacturers were using spot taping on the outside to reduce the effect.

Figure 1.  Circuits exposed at corrugated flex points.

The corrugated material also increases the overall diameter of the harness. These days, space is at a premium regardless of the application. This is especially true in places like automotive instrument panels.

So, they set out to make something that had the operational resistance of corrugated tubing, was very flexible, saved space, and installed efficiently. “That’s when we came up with the idea to take one of our noise dampening sleeve products, specifically our 51616 thick fleece, and laminate that material into our standard cloth,” Jose explained. They chose the thick fleece material because it was 600 µm thick. It would achieve the goal of noise reduction but with the protective qualities offered by the corrugated tubing, all in one product. “It’s just a combination of the two products and we have been doing these sleeves for a long time,” Jose said.

Testing proved that the new wrap would indeed provide excellent resistance to damage from stone chips and other road debris. Further, the final assembly was more flexible with a smaller overall diameter. Heat tests revealed the SuperSleeveplus products were also resistant to temperatures up to 300°F for 3,000 hours.

When tesa showed the product to the manufacturers, they realized it was perfect for noise reduction and abrasion resistance. They could also reduce the steps in the manufacturing process. Under-wrapping and spot taping were eliminated from the entirely. Since the sleeves are applied longitudinally, versus spiral wrapping, precision is increased, and inconsistency is reduced. The sleeves, along with the others in the product portfolio, enable the wires to bend and stay firmly together and protected. The product construction ensures minimum adhesive contact with the wires to provide maximum harness flexibility and the adhesive-to-adhesive closure system guarantees secure bonding. All of these attributes have made the enhanced sleeve product very desirable for harness producers.

The product comes with perforations for easy removal from the roll.  There are many standard widths and rolls are 50 meters in length. The standard perforation length is 100-940 mm (in increments of 10 mm) and most combinations of widths and perforation lengths are available.

The new tape is the first of its kind in the wire harness industry. “Now there’s no need to use more than one product on the car’s wires,” Jose exclaimed. “We were the first to offer sleeves, and now we continue to innovate the category.”

Jose stressed that it’s tesa’s mission is to provide sustainability in its adhesive products, so it’s no surprise that SuperSleeveplus uses the same solvent free Advanced Acrylic Adhesive used in their other products. The adhesive is also compatible with new halogen-free cable jacketing materials (PE/PP).