Case Study: Micro-Miniature Parts for Automotive Supplier

An international sensors leader collaborates with a custom cold forming manufacturer to deliver a unique micro-miniature part for an environmental application in the automotive market.

A global sensors engineering and manufacturing company with U.S. headquarters faced a NPD hurdle on a critical electronic connector component. The company required design, manufacturing and five sigma process capabilities to produce a micro-electrical mechanical system (MEMS) for an automotive clean energy emissions application. Additionally, the company required 100% quality inspection and JIT inventory management to supply their global assembly operations in Asia.

Since the sensor company did not possess the cold-heading and micro-machining services in-house to manufacture the parts for their assembly, they partnered with Sussex Wire, Inc., a custom cold forging specialist based in Easton PA. Sussex Wire developed the component geometry design to meet the tolerance specifications, implemented 100% in-process automated optical inspection (AOI), cleaned, plated, and integrated the final assembly, packaging, and logistics to deliver a complete solution.

Samples of the miniature micro machined parts produced by Sussex WireThe result of this collaboration, a miniature wirebond pin component (Figure 1), was designed and produced from Copper CDA 102 with a minor OD of .03937” and overall length of .2118” with control dimensional tolerances down to +/- .00078”. The key considerations, as a manufacturer, focused on maintaining the native mechanical properties of the CDA 102 substrate while achieving an end condition finish of a Ra less than five microns. Sussex Wire’s cold heading design engineering and manufacturing technology uniquely met the dimensional, surface finish, mechanical strength and piece part price requirements to support a successful customer MEMS automotive emission sensor market launch.

Achieving and controlling a surface finish condition of a Ra of less than five microns on the wirebond end was possible through Sussex Wire’s proprietary part and tooling progression, vertically integrated manufacturing operations (Figure #2), incorporation of finite element analysis (Figure #3) and a proprietary Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) system, developed and implemented by Sussex Wire (Figure #4).

Manufacturers like Sussex Wire provide the design, machining, inspection, lean JIT inventory management and other services that automotive suppliers need.

The customer receives JIT delivery to their Asia Pacific contract assembly operation executed through a MRP supported Pull Kanban inventory system (Figure #5).

Key Features
for automotive companies looking to source custom metal parts from manufacturers like Sussex Wire can include:

  • Competencies on collaborative engineering feasibility, project management and validation
  • Vertically integrated tool and part design, and high volume production
  • Application of cold heading manufacturing technology which preserves the native material's mechanical properties, even at high production velocity
  • Custom, in-process automated optical inspection system
  • Lean JIT Kanban pull inventory management


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