Marketing manager Gareth Basilica shows how the harnesses and connectors are used in films laminated into screens

AE Wiring expands injection capacity with AK vertical systems

AE WIRING of Port Elizabeth, an international supplier and exporter of connectors to the automotive windscreen industry, has expanded its injection moulding capacity.

With a product range exceeding 2,500 parts, most of which are small, AE Wiring operates a dynamic production schedule to supply the many parts required for the huge variety of windscreens on the market. Its product range includes connectors and the harnesses required to fit these components into the various vehicle models. AE Wiring supplies connectors to over 80 vehicle manufacturers, each of which have many models, adding further complexities. The bulk of its business is export.

It is estimated that about 7% of vehicles on the road require windscreen replacement annually and with an estimated 1.4 billion vehicles in operation worldwide (global average is 148 vehicles per 1000 humans), it adds up to a substantial and complex market.

With newly introduced driver assistance and safety features the windscreen of today is a vastly more advanced component compared to even a few years ago.

Made of laminated safety glass, the screen typically consists of two curved sheets of glass with a plastic layer laminated between them and bonded into the window frame. Besides filtering out a substantial amount of infrared light and cooling the vehicle interior, front and rear glass may include conductive thin metal strands for heating when necessary. The windscreen is now increasingly used as a display to provide information such as road safety warnings and other data to enhance the driver experience, hence requiring additional connectors.

AE Wiring was incorporated in 2000, working closely with local windscreen manufacturer Shatterprufe. After several years of business development, AE Wiring realized it would not survive by solely supplying the local market. AE’s marketing team have travelled extensively over the past two decades, virtually around the globe, and have established AE as a preferred supplier to many windshield manufacturers, globally.

AE Wiring has built on this success by investing in the plant in Neave, and the choice of the AK Plas machines recently commissioned was a further step towards guaranteeing supply to the company’s international customers. A big part of the challenge for AE Wiring is that shipment times to international customers can be extended, so the company needs to be well ahead of its production schedule in order to be competitive.


AK Plas for vertical injection moulding

Supplied by MJH of Durban, the AK Plas machines are vertical injection moulding systems designed originally for Bakelite. Established in China as recently as 2007, AK Plas produces machines from 35-1 250 tons clamping force for shot weights from as low as 0.2 grams up to 15kg. It is the former capability which suits these machines to AE Wiring’s requirements.

The AT-350 models recently installed can achieve shot weights of 58-75g, although the bulk of the parts produced at AE are smaller. The machines are also available with a rotary platen, which allows for multiple sequential moulding, which is useful with small shot weight applications such as over-moulding work.

MJH has been better known for its range of popular Haixing injection moulding machines, also built in China, but the AK Plas machines, sourced by MJH’s agent in the Far East, are proving to be an ideal fit for AE Wiring