A Power Distribution Panel Designed for Flexible Manufacturing Techniques 962145
In today's vehicle, the electrical power distribution panel becomes the circuit protection, relay, and wire management center for the entire electrical system. This paper describes a new 3-D electrical distribution concept and presents a supporting design.
The proposed design establishes circuits for connecting power inputs, outputs, and top loaded pluggable components by modifying a standardized flat conductive grid. The grid includes a repeating pattern of connecting rings and radial spokes. These spokes define circuit paths extending from and interconnecting each ring. At the final stages of manufacturing, the required circuit paths are created on a single sheet by selectively removing certain spokes. Multiple sheets are stacked with insulating barriers located between each layer. An interconnection between layers is realized by selectively positioning connecting pins through the ring nodes and interconnecting circuits defined on successive layers. One unique feature of this concept is the choice of ring spacing which is designed to accommodate standard circuit elements, such as fuses and relays, which may be user installed on the top of the panel. A second feature is the choice of the layer spacing which allows for direct installation of wire harness connectors along the edges of the panel.
With the addition of active circuit elements, a complete panel is capable of serving as the central processor for an entire vehicle. The overall design offers a 3-D power circuit array which will significantly simplify vehicle wiring and improve system reliability while maintaining low tooling costs and short lead times.