DETROIT -- Yazaki North America has been quietly maneuvering ts core strength in wiring harnesses to create a diverse suite of products for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Yazaki, a family-owned wiring supplier to most of the world's automakers, is looking to boost the new products as a percentage of its business as electrification spreads around the industry.
The product initiative includes arc suppression, current sensors, connection systems and DC/DC converters, which are all in production. Other electrical system components are in the pipeline.
"We're looking at things to mitigate arcing, both in low-voltage and high-voltage systems," Eric Varton, Yazaki North America's chief engineer of advanced development engineering, told Automotive News at the supplier's offices in Canton, Michigan.
Arcing is a brief electrical discharge that can occur when the current in a circuit is interrupted by the separation of conductors, such as when an electric vehicle is turned on or off.
Varton said customers also "are looking for current sensors to better measure the flow of energy. ... We're seeing interest in solid-state switching because you can incorporate intelligence into those switches, which tells you about what's going on in the vehicle so you can monitor it in real time."
Technology is driving the transition for the Japanese company, which ranks No. 11 on Automotive News' list of the world's largest suppliers, with estimated part sales to automakers of $17.5 billion in its 2018 fiscal year.
"The architecture in vehicles is changing," Varton said. "We're adding additional voltage systems and layering those. It used to just be 12 volts, and that brings a lot of challenges. The reality is, there just never seems to be enough power."