Geometric variation simulation and robust design for flexible cables and hoses

T. Hermansson, J. S. Carlson, S. Björkenstam, R. Söderberg. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture, May 1, 2013, 227(5), 681-689.


This article presents how to do stability analysis, variation simulation and tolerance envelopes for deformable cables and hoses. In this way, the well-established methods for analyzing and minimizing the propagation of geometric variation are extended from rigid and sheet metal assemblies to large deformations of slender parts. This extension is highly motivated, not at least, by the increased amount of cables and hoses in electrified and hybrid solutions in the automotive industry. To secure the geometric correctness of the analysis, we use a nonlinear rod approach in the implementation of a simulation model of flexible cables that accounts for large deformations and supports a wide range of common cable clip types, cable joints and branches. A selection of measures and visualizations that reflect the spatial effects of geometric variation in deformable cables is incorporated in established variation analysis techniques. In particular, the concept of tolerance envelopes for rigid parts has been extended to also handle system of slender parts such as cables and hoses. This article extends previous research on robust design and variation simulation to cables subject to large deformations and has been successfully applied on two typical industrial cases: a wiring harness attached with various types of clips to a static surrounding and a cooler hose subjected to a high-frequency sampled engine motion.


This work was carried out within the FFI Sustainable Production Technology program, the Wingquist Laboratory VINN Excellence Centre and the Sustainable Production Initiative and the Production Area of Advance at Chalmers University of Technology.

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Hermansson, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • J. S. Carlson, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • S. Björkenstam, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • R. Söderberg, Department of Product and Production Development, Chalmers University of Technology

Photo credits: Nic McPhee