Category Archive: Cable Assembly FAQs
The importance of cabling systems in industrial organizations has grown over the years. In 2015, a market research report by IBISWorld stated that there are over 300 wire and cable manufacturers across America. These companies employ over 27,000 people, and earn an industry revenue of $416bn. Needless to say, the number of cabling systems being used across the country is an extremely large number. However, with many wire and cabling systems in use, there are bound to be a variety of health and safety issues. In this post, we will take a look at certain cable environmental concerns, and solutions to the same.
Primary Cable Environmental Problems
Generally, there are two primary environmental concerns when looking at industrial wire and cable. These points are discussed below in detail.
- Fire Hazards: Most wire and cable systems are stored in plenum spaces in buildings. These are areas that allow for air circulation to support heaters and air conditioners. Unfortunately, these become potential fire hazards, as the plastic material used as shielding jackets can burn easily, and release toxic gases. As the cables are in the plenum spaces, they can also help spread fire and gases throughout the building.
- Manufacturing Materials: In this point, we shall discuss three important materials – copper, lead, and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC).
- Copper: Although a popular material used to manufacture cables, copper is also regarded as a great environmental hazard. The mining and processing of copper results in emissions of nearly 130 gigajoules of energy. It also leads to environmental degradation, as nearly 80% of the rock surface around copper deposits is regarded as waste.
- PVC: Poly vinyl chloride is a common material used for jacketing and shielding cables. PVC is a plastic derived from fuel. Due to this, the production, use, and disposal of PVC cables can release toxic gases and chemicals. PVC manufacturing processes also produce explosive greenhouse gases like chlorine and vinyl chloride monomer.
- Lead: In cable manufacturing, lead accounts for 2-8% of the jacket structure. Being a toxic element, the chaffing and deterioration of cables can lead to the additive getting loose and accumulating on ceilings, floors, and walls of buildings.
The fact is, these materials are intrinsic to the creation of the industrial cables. However, certain preventive measures have been taken by the US Government to try and reduce the problems associated with these concerns.
- Codes and Standards: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) created certain standards, which limited the use of hazardous materials in cable manufacturing processes. These include:
- NFPA 90A (2002)
- NFPA 5000 Building Code (2003)
- National Electrical Code or NEC (2005)
- NFPA 13 Sprinkler Systems (1999, and revised in 2002)
Limited combustible cable networks are also produced by cable manufacturers. These cables comprise FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) as the primary manufacturing material for the cable as well as the jacket. FEP is known for creating low smoke in case of a fire. Manufacturers are also focusing on creating cables without lead as the primary material.
- Abandoned Cable Disposal: The NEC published many articles in 2002 and 2005 on the removal and disposal of abandoned cables. Generally, cable removal is performed during building renovation. Used cables are sent to organizations that specialize in cable handling, recycling, and disposal. The cables are stripped of copper cladding and PVC jackets.
With the above mentioned measures, there can be a possibility to reduce the number of environmental concerns associated with industrial wires and cables.
Continual advances in electronic equipment has transformed cable assembly manufacturing from a small requirement into a major industry. Today, various industries utilize electronic or electro-mechanical equipment, each requiring different designs, materials, and maintenance procedures.
For customers, it is important that they find the right cable manufacturer to work with for their custom requirements. A cable manufacturer needs to have an understanding of the industry, the application, and the equipment in which the cable assembly will be used.
Finding the Right Cable Assembly Manufacturer
The following factors need to be considered when choosing an assembly manufacturer.
- Knowledge: Generally, the first point of contact for customers is a sales representative. S/he should have enough knowledge to proactively suggest solutions for your issues or requirements. For example, they should be able to suggest serving as a resource to retrofit or enhance existing components. They must be in a position to give examples of their production capabilities. This will assure you that the cable assembly manufacturer will be easy to work with.
- Industry Experience: When cable assembly manufacturers offer you their services, you need to be certain that they are capable of taking on your requirements. Ask for the company’s client list to get an understanding of the various industries it caters to. Ask for work examples that will allow you to see the creative solutions they can develop. This will help you understand whether a manufacturer can help you meet your demands.
- Quality Products: The ability to create products of immense quality is an imperative. A simple way to find this information is to look at the manufacturer’s product line. Understand their quality control processes, as well as steps they implement to ensure product safety and reliability.
- Production Flexibility: The manufacturer should be in a position to meet your short or large volume production runs. Many times, there may be a need to reduce or increase an order. While it is important to be a reliable customer, the manufacturer should also be flexible to handle these changes.
- Solution Options: As a company, your organization will grow with time. You may end up adding more products to your inventory. The manufacturer should be in a position to understand your business goals. He should support you by creating cable assembly solutions, which will enhance the function and performance of your equipment.
These various aspects should confirm that you are working with a reliable vendor. They should assure you that the cable assembly manufacturer can help you to create solution driven products, while supporting you with after sales services.
When it comes to the automotive industry, cable assemblies, otherwise known as wiring harnesses, are of paramount importance. As a customer of automotive cable assemblies, you might have several questions pertaining to these cable systems. This blog attempts to answer a few of the frequently asked questions.
General FAQs Answered!
The following are the general questions about the automotive wiring harness assemblies.
- What are the challenges faced by automotive cable assembly manufacturers today?
Ans. Over the years, there have been several advancements in the design of electronic steering, satellite radio, infotainment systems, and Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) in vehicles. More the complexity of these elements, the higher are the demands for convoluted cable assemblies with several wires. However, the problem lies in insufficient packaging space to accommodate additional wiring. This calls for miniaturization of cables, and the entire cable systems. This in turn increases production cost, human labor, whilst consuming a lot of time in manufacturing.
- Are there any regulations or standards pertaining to the design and manufacture of automotive cable assemblies?
Ans. Yes, there are.
Several regulatory authorities call for testing (temperature, vibration, and environmental tests) automotive cable assemblies to minimize the risk of failure. Generally, cable assembly manufacturers conform to the guidelines and recommendations of UL, RoHs, PPAP, SAE, and ISO when designing and manufacturing wire harness.
- What are the important advancements happened in the automotive cable assembly manufacturing sector in the last few years?
Ans. As mentioned earlier in the post, miniaturization is the latest trend. Miniaturization has revolutionized the way wiring harnesses are designed and assembled. Manufacturing of miniaturized cable assemblies requires extreme care and an especially clean environment to manage crimping and insertion of terminals to connectors.
The other positive change is the widespread use of aluminum cables and terminals as an alternative to copper. Aluminum is found to be the best substitute to copper as it largely contributes in reducing CO2 emissions, whilst withstanding corrosion.
- What are the important factors a designer must consider when producing cable assemblies?
Ans. There are several parameters a designer must pay close attention to when designing wiring harnesses. The temperature level of the application, weight reduction, compatibility of wires to accommodate higher temperatures, material cost, etc. are a few amongst the many factors.
When procuring cable assemblies, it is important that all your answers must be answered before placing an order. When in doubt, contact the manufacturers. Like so, you can gain important information that leads you towards informed selection.
Cable assemblies are needed in most industries and applications since many processes of an industry depend on high power requirements. A variety of types of cable assemblies is available in the market that can assist in different types of applications. Choosing the right type of assembly will ensure higher levels of efficiency and longer product life.
What are Cable Assemblies?
Cable assemblies consist of several cables, wires, and connectors assembled in a single unit. These assemblies help save space. They also provide the power needed for a particular process that can’t be provided by a single cable. Custom cable assemblies can be produced according to the specific requirements of an application. The voltage, amperage, length, insulation material, etc. can be customized to maximize efficiency. Cable assemblies are available in copper, fiber optic, and several other materials.
Where are Cable Assemblies Used?
Cable assemblies are used where there is need for high power output. It is commonly used in vehicles and computer related products. In the automotive industry, cable assemblies are also known as wire harnesses. Assemblies are produced according to the needs of the industry and application. For example, the cable assemblies manufactured for the military have to be tough and capable of enduring high levels of vibrations. Assemblies used in the aerospace industry should be able to function seamlessly at high altitudes. The assemblies are customized according to these specific requirements. Cable assemblies are used in the following industries and applications:
- Industry: Automotive
Application: Wiring of headlights
- Industry: Military
Application: Connecting GPS systems
- Industry: Aerospace
Application: Providing reliable connectivity of navigation systems
- Industry: Medical
Application: Powering HVAC systems
How can you Procure Cable Assemblies?
Cable assemblies can be procured easily from most distributors. If you are looking to build a custom order, you can speak to an experienced manufacturer who will guide you with the details. You can communicate your requirements and the manufacturer will provide you with the appropriate cable assembly.
Custom cable assemblies are extremely useful when the equipment or machinery being connected requires specialized cables. Customized cable assemblies provide extreme reliability. With wires designed in accordance with your voltage output and required input, there is lesser scope for shorting of wires. Hence, understanding the needs of your equipment, your current electrical input and output, and other requirements will help you in correctly determining the cable assemblies needed for maximum efficiency of equipment.
At Carr Mfg. Co., we get a number of first time clients who are interested in getting wire and cable harness assemblies designed for an application. We also get a number of enquiries from customers who are interested in our products, but do not have a lot of information on their design, operation, and benefits.To solve the queries of such customers, we are providing basic information about wire and cable harness assemblies in this post.
Wire Harness and Cable Assembly FAQs :
To ensure that the information is simple and easy to understand, we are providing the information in a question and answer format.
- How many Wires comprise an Assembly? How are the Specifications Decided?
- There is no general number of wires in an assembly. The wires are selected depending on the application and the various systems that the harness will be connected to. A simple system may require a cable assembly with five to seven wires. Larger assemblies may consist of more wires. The cables are selected based on the kind of data that they will be transmitting. The length, insulation material, wire size, and power capacity, are all decided based on the application.
- What are the Benefits of Cable Assemblies?
The following points showcase the benefits of cable assemblies.
- Security and Safety: The harness is constructed out of an insulated material. It ensures that the bundle will not flex, reducing the chances of abrasions and short circuiting.
- Simple Installation: Wire harnesses eliminate the need to connect individual wires to their respective systems. Many application systems have existing cable assemblies. Hence, the newly installed wire harness simply needs to be linked with the existing one. Thus, no time is wasted in the wire installation process.
- Reduced Wire Derangement: As the wires are bundles, the assembly reduces chances of wire cluttering. Also, the harness requires less space in terms of installation.
- What is the General Lead Time for Cable Assembly Delivery?
- Every cable manufacturer will offer a different delivery lead time. The delivery depends on a variety of factors, include material availability, production requirements, and inspection time. At Carr Mfg., we can typically deliver your products within two to four weeks.
- What kind of Testing Procedures are Performed for Standard and Custom Assemblies?
- Testing is performed during and after the manufacturing process. As the wire assemblies are being produced, the products and components are continually checked for aspects such as weld peel, overmolding, pull and wire retention forces.
- Other testing procedures performed during and post manufacturing include:
- Leak testing
- Hi-pot testing
- Impact testing
- Connector separation force testing
- Mate and unmate cycle testing
- What types of Cable Assembly Designs are Generally Offered by Manufacturers?
- Cable assemblies can be designed in a variety of ways. Some of the common designs include:
- Point-to-point Assemblies: This consists of terminal strips, which are used to create interconnections between two individual points.
- Multi-Termination Type Assemblies: These consist of multiple fiber cables, which are pre-terminated. This means that connectors are added to each fiber cable before the assembly is created.
- Ribbon Assemblies: Ribbon assemblies are named after the insulated wires, which are connected together to form a flat ribbon. Ribbon assemblies can be subcategorized into high-speed, shielded and jacketed non-PVC, split or multi-branch cable assemblies.
- Radiation Tolerant Designs: These cable assemblies are designed to maintain their performance in applications with high amounts of radiation. Generally, radiation tolerant assemblies have a tolerance range from 5 to 200 Mrad.
- Crush Resistant Designs: These assemblies can withstand immense amounts of pressure. You can find assemblies with the ability to withstand over 250 lbs. per inch.
These are some of the basic questions that first time customers need to know when procuring cable assemblies. Ensure that you have every query answered before you order a product. Clear knowledge of the products, its features and benefits, can help you make a wise decision.