Lightweight Aluminum Cable Performs

Watch a video about Delphi's Aluminum Cable Systems


Jan 6-9, 2015

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Lightweight Aluminum Cable Performs

Delphi offers customers a full range of aluminum cable product and process solutions for specific applications.

Today's automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers are faced with ever-increasing consumer demand and government pressure for fuel efficient vehicles. Reducing overall vehicle weight continues to be one of the best ways to improve fuel economy.

"We are challenged in the automotive and commercial vehicle industries to continually find ways to decrease the mass of the vehicle platform. Replacing heavier materials with lighter weight materials seems like an obvious answer — but, it's not that simple," said Dr. Ole Mende, innovation director for Delphi Electrical/Electronic Distribution Systems (DEEDS). "It's a complex process of development, testing, and refinement that produces the high-performing, cost-effective solutions we need today."

An industry leader in the development of innovative, high performance parts and systems, Delphi now offers a complete portfolio of lightweight Aluminum Cable Systems products and can also customize aluminum cable solutions for a customer's specific application.

"Delphi has a long history of innovating aluminum alloy core cable systems and refining the technology behind Delphi Aluminum Cable for wiring harnesses and battery cables. Now, we are able to offer our customers the benefit of that experience with real-world, high-performing choices," said Dr. Mende.

Delphi offers aluminum cable in a range of diameters for wiring harnesses, from 0.75 mm2 to 8 mm2, and for power/battery cable from 10 mm2 to 120 mm2. Customers can choose from several insulation materials and a full portfolio of aluminum-capable terminals.

Delphi's Global Expertise

A long-time industry leader in automotive wiring, Delphi began producing copper-clad aluminum core cable in 1969 and introduced aluminum solid core cable to the automotive market five years later. Delphi's world-class Packard Electrical/Electronic Architecture plant in Warren, Ohio, is North America's first producer of the lightweight aluminum cable, today producing both copper and aluminum cable for primary wiring and battery cable.

Delphi offers a range of aluminum-capable terminals, designed with specific crimp characteristics needed for aluminum cable applications.

Because each customer has unique needs, Delphi meets global requirements by customizing cable and terminal crimp specifications.

"Working with our customers to tailor-make cable systems for their specific applications is a standard part of our process at Delphi. We support prototype and pre-production builds as well as product testing to make sure the solutions we offer exceed our global customers' specifications and expectations," said John Kightlinger, supervisor of innovation, DEEDS.

Like all Delphi products, Delphi Aluminum Cable undergoes extensive testing in-house at Delphi's global technical centers. In addition, Delphi Aluminum Cable has undergone long-term, in-vehicle field testing, and Delphi's technical team is impressed with the results.

"During the development of aluminum cable, we've had an opportunity to do some real-time monitoring of how the product performs in vehicles on the road, and we're thrilled with the results," said Kurt Seifert, supervisor of advanced engineering, crimp technology and contact physics at Delphi. "We've made it through three years and over a million miles (1,609,344 km) of road testing in hot and cold weather without a failure. Delphi Aluminum Cable performs as well as copper core cable without the added weight and materials cost."

Lighter is Better

In automotive manufacturing, where every extra gram of weight affects fuel economy, manufacturing, and costs, Delphi Aluminum Cable offers a 30-40 percent overall weight reduction in harness mass over traditional copper core cable.

The resulting overall weight reduction in the vehicle platform leads to:

  • Improved fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions
  • Lighter, easier vehicle assembly
  • Materials cost efficiencies

The lightweight cable alternative is cost-effective to produce as well. With aluminum prices historically more stable than copper (less variation on a percentage basis), Delphi Aluminum Cable helps OEMs reduce their susceptibility to commodity market fluctuations.

With a complete line of wiring and cable products, Delphi meets the demanding requirements for a variety of cable applications. Products include:

Delphi continues to expand its portfolio of aluminum cable-related products with aluminum-capable terminals and processes such as automated crimp termination technology.

Performance Plus

Delphi Aluminum Cable reduces weight and costs while offering exceptional performance.

"Our lightweight aluminum cable is a real performance heavyweight," said Kightlinger. "OEMs can count on it to meet their expectations for conductivity, strength, reliability, robustness, regulatory compliance, and sustainability. Our goal is to help customers balance their market mandate for continuous improvement with their need to economize on every level. Using aluminum cable is a smart and relatively simple way to accomplish that. With the variety of cable sizes, insulation materials, and terminal crimps available, we can help OEMs design a wiring system to meet even the most stringent specifications."

With Delphi Aluminum Cable, automotive manufacturers gain:

  • Lightweight conductivity — To achieve the same conductivity as copper core cable, Delphi Aluminum Cable weighs about half as much.
  • Compliance — Delphi Aluminum Cable will help meet customers' regulatory requirements, including ISO-6722 (primary cable focus), LV112-2 (battery cable focus), and USCAR-23 (for cable).
  • Durability — Delphi's ultra thin-wall insulation provides superior pinch and abrasion resistance with aluminum as well as copper.
  • Recyclability — Aluminum is easily recycled at appropriate facilities worldwide.
  • Robustness — Delphi Aluminum Cable provides both stable electrical performance and good mechanical performance.

Delphi Leads the Way

An expert in the development of cable technology, including aluminum and copper cable, Delphi's products and processes continue to meet customers' expectations for weight reduction, cost effectiveness, and performance.

Delphi can help balance the complex functional requirements of vehicle system design with OEM customer metrics such as design/production time and costs. Backed by Delphi technical centers and manufacturing facilities in 30 countries around the globe, Delphi has the systems integration experience and tools to deliver unique E/EA solutions for unique needs.

Delphi has developed Aluminum Cable product and processes and is ready and willing to work with customers around the globe to provide off-the-shelf items as well as customized solutions tailored to specific applications.

Learn more about Delphi Electrical/Electronic Architecture and Delphi Aluminum Cable Systems at