Category Archive: Cable Assembly
A cable assembly is the lifeline of any electrical system. Even if one cable fails, it will result in costly system downtime. Cable failure is a problem that most industrial organizations face at some point. There has to be a solution to ensure that all electrical processes are running smoothly, and the workflow is maintained.
How to Maintain the Performance of Electric Wires & Cables?
Follow these few simple steps to ensure that your cable assemblies are functional.
- Choose An Effective Approach: Choose a cable that will be suitable for the application environment. Ensure that the cable will be able to meet the following points:
- Ampacity (Carrying Capacity)
- Ambient Temperature
- Mechanical Strength
- Prevent Damage: During installation, take note of the minimum bend radius and avoid twisting the cables. This can create mechanical stress and weaken the conductors. Avoid any form of impact that may damage the jacket. Keep the wire & cable away from harmful elements such as fire, water, or oil. Update the maintenance personnel on the cable’s limitations and how they can reduce cable failure.
- Make Cable Reel Adjustments: If a cable is exposed to harsh environment, for example, high temperatures, reverse the cable ends regularly to prevent one end from being exposed to the environment for too long. If there is a possibility of an overload, de-rate the cable while on the reel. Ensure to note any voltage drop.
- Make Repairs: Inspect the cables and make any repairs that are required before the cable is damaged beyond repair. If you find any cut or crushed cables, remove and replace them immediately. Always keep some spare cables in the facility for emergencies.
By following these simple points, and making necessary adjustments, you can ensure that your cable assemblies will provide outstanding service for years to come.
Intermittent problems are the most troubling issues that affect the performance of cable assemblies. Most of the cable assembly users simply buy cable harnesses and use in applications without even ensuring that they are electrically tested. Cable assemblies, like any other components are prone to manufacturing defects, which in turn lead to intermittent shorts and opens.
Cable Assembly Testing
Fortunately, there are several cable assembly testers available to pinpoint even minor intermittent problems. Prior to use in applications, you must ensure that the assemblies are free from intermittents.
Cable assembly testing equipment span a wide range. These test equipment can be broadly classified as the following:
- PC-Based Equipment – As the name implies, PC based cable assembly testing equipment function with the help of personal computers. These instruments collect data pertaining to intermittent issues and are then uploaded into PCs for analysis and report generation.
- Microprocessor Controlled Equipment – On the other hand, these systems function with the help of an embedded microprocessor. These self-contained test equipment quickly acquires data from a cable assembly that needs to be tested and compare it with the connection map of a model cable which is already stored in on-board memory. A matching connection map indicates a cable assembly free from intermittent issues.
Compared to microprocessor controlled testing equipment, PC based cable assembly testing offers more functionality. These include automation scripting and file management. In addition to just testing cables for opens and shorts, PC based systems provides an integrated software package for:
- Cable design
- On-line assembly checking
An example to PC based cable and harness system is CableEye.
Diagnosing cable health and performance is essential before using custom cable assemblies in applications. Intermittent problems like bad crimps, broken wires, and cold solder joints must be detected at the earliest and rectified promptly. By putting cable assemblies under test, you can prevent cable failure when they are used in applications.
Water and moisture is among the greatest foes of cable assemblies. The component of an assembly can suffer from corrosion and mildew damage if exposed excessive amounts of moisture or water. When moisture gets trapped inside a connector, it cause the shields and insulation to corrode. Even if there is no physical damage, moisture can easily change the cable’s impedance characteristics such as signal reflection. This can lead to a failed or unreliable system. However, there is one solution that can take care of all these problems – waterproof cable assemblies.
Waterproof Cable Assemblies – General Product and Services
Waterproof cable assemblies are designed with specialized materials and components to create water tight sealing. Certain processes can also be used to create hydrophobic effects in cables. This means that the cables will be able to repel water.
Generally, customers will find three products and services, which specifically help in the construction of these types of cable assemblies.
- Waterproof Connectors: These connectors are designed using materials that adhere to M and IP Series and DIN standards. Connector solutions can include front mounted seals, bulkhead mounted connectors, rubber O-rings, and back filling connectors. These types of connectors are ideal for process control applications.
- Potting and Encapsulation: Potting is a process where a cable or its components are dipped into a liquid resin. The resin is a thermosetting material, and is specially designed to protect the cable and components from any environmental contaminants. These can include dirt, electric shocks, moisture, vibrations, and humidity. The same resin can be used for the encapsulation process. The encapsulation method involves building a frame around an object, and filling the frame space with the resin. This can provide additional protection for cable harnesses and assemblies.
- Over Molding: This is a type of plastic injection molding, which is ideal when creating waterproof cable assemblies, and for electronic circuits and connectors. It involves the use of rigid plastic and thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). The TPE is molded over the rigid plastic to create an extremely strong material. Over molding helps create water resistant sealing, and improve grip in wet environments.
These are three basic waterproofing offerings provided by cable assembly manufacturers. Waterproof cable assemblies can ensure that the cables provide good performance, reliability and durability.
Cable assemblies are marked with company logos, brand names, serial numbers, date codes, or bar codes for several reasons. The labeling enables easy identification and fast product traceability. The aforementioned information can be created anywhere in individual cables of the assembly, for example, at the beginning, at the end or middle as per customers’ requirements.
Since cable assemblies are meant to function under severe environmental conditions and harsh industrial environments, the marking must be abrasion resistant and durable. They must withstand elevated temperatures, moisture, harsh chemicals, and solvents, among others. This blog lists a few of the widely used cable assembly marking methods that are capable of meeting the above said requirements.
Cable Assembly Marking Methods
To create accurate, permanent, and clean marks on cable assemblies, following methods have been used.
- Hot Stamping – This is the oldest, but still used technique to label individual wires in the cable assembly. The advantages of the method include, low cost, and the ability to create permanent and legible marks in less cycle time.
- Thermal Transfer – This method is largely chosen for its ability to create high-contrast marks directly on to both stationary as well as rolling wires. In addition, the method allows labelling cable assemblies over a greater circumferences compared to other methods.
- Ink-jet – This method is widely used, reliable, durable, easier and faster. Benefits are uncountable when it comes to ink jet marking. The ink jet is compatible to most of the wire insulation, and guarantees permanent and abrasion resistant marking.
- Laser – Finally, laser printing, the talk of the town. There are several advantages, making this method superior to other labelling methods. It is a non-contact marking method that helps in creating desired marks without damaging the work piece. The method is extremely fast and can create permanent, crisp, highly detailed mark on cable assemblies with any type of insulation.
Each of the aforementioned cable assembly marking has its own pros and cons. It is imperative to select the right labelling method for achieving desired results without altering the structure and characteristics of cable assembly. Consider the type of insulation material, compatibility of the labelling method with the raw materials used, type of information to be marked, processing speed and cost per mark when choosing the method. However, whichever method you choose, ensure that it delivers legible, permanent, abrasion resistant marks on the assembly.
Cable assemblies comprise the most important part of any electronic application. Hence, it is important to choose the right cable assembly. When designing or buying custom cable assemblies, it is essential that all possible scenarios and working conditions be thought of prior to placing an order. This will allow you to choose a cable assembly that is the perfect fit and works at maximum efficiency.
Placing the Right Order
The following factors should be taken into consideration when placing an order:
- The design of the device should be able to accommodate the cable assembly. Hence, space considerations are the primary factors to deciding on the type of cable assembly to be customized.
- The power and the signal required in the machine have to be decided on as well. These are two different factors that should be considered to ensure that the machine functions in accordance with user requirements.
- The environment of the application makes a difference to the exterior of the assembly as well as the configuration. Dust, moisture, heat, and pressure are some of the factors to be considered. In terms of the environment, the application and nature of the work has to be considered as well. For example, if the application is going to be in perpetual motion and experiencing vibrations, provisions will have to be made accordingly.
- Shielding of cables should also be made available in accordance with the strength of the FR signals, and AC and DC power. You must consider the amplitude of the above mentioned factors in both power as well as signal cables and wires.
Having a clear picture of your requirements before approaching a custom cable assembly manufacturer will allow you to get the product that is closest to your actual need. If it is not decided beforehand, it could lead to confusion, or worse, placement of the wrong order. Once you have decided on your requirement, your service provider will be able to provide suggestions that will help in improving the overall product.
Cable harnesses are the critical component in all modern vehicles. They are manufactured in various forms for use in passenger cars, commercial vehicles, two wheelers, hybrid and electric vehicles, recreational vehicles (RVs), multi utility vehicles, and off road vehicles. They are crucial for assembling power windows, power door locks, circuit breakers for headlights, back up lights, central locking, wipers, and brake lights, among others in a vehicle.
Custom Cable Harness – The Smart Choice for the Automotive Industry
With ever increasing electrical and electronic content in modern vehicles, the demand for specialized wire harness is also on the rise. Unlike in the past, the automotive manufacturing industry prefers customizing wire harness than selecting standard assembly available in the market.
There are several reasons that add to the popularity of custom wire harness for automotive applications. A few of them are given below.
- Cable harnesses for the automotive applications are required to operate in high stress conditions. Since the quality of the wiring harnesses determines the performance of the final assembly, they must be ruggedly manufactured. By opting for customization, you can demand using specialized wires with high tensile strength, good quality connectors, and abrasion resistance insulations. Also, customization allows you to hermetically seal cables with specialized cements, or design pot wire harnesses with low-expansion compounds. These help protect assemblies from external hazards and temperature variations respectively.
- Customization helps you produce extremely light weight cable harness, which is an ongoing trend in the automotive industry. In the past, overall weight reduction of harness was achieved by thinning insulation material or devising the structure of conductors. However, thinning of insulation materials was associated with several safety and reliability issues. Now, you can custom manufacture light weight cable harness without compromising on the insulation quality and conductor structure. There are three types of wires largely in use for producing extremely light weight cabling systems. These include:
- Automotive Aluminum Alloy Wires
- Automotive copper-clad aluminum (CA) wires
- High-strength thin wire for automobiles
Customizing option allows the application user to choose any of these wires to create light weight automotive wiring harness.
- Customization allows you to design wiring harnesses in desired colors by embedding desired logo or text. This helps in easy identification, whilst minimizing installation and maintenance time.
Needless to say, custom manufacturing cable harness brings you several benefits. There are many manufacturers offering customization option. By availing this option, you can produce specialized harnesses to carry electric signals to start the engine, and lighting brake lights, among others in a vehicle.
When sourcing or purchasing electronic components, the cable harness and cable assembly are used quite often. So much so, many users believe that these terms mean the same thing. However, this is far from true. There are distinct differences between these two products.
Differentiating between Cable Harnesses and Assemblies
A simple explanation of both these products can help you understand why they are different from one another.
- Cable Harnesses: As you may know, a cable is constructed from a highly conductive metal, for example, copper. A harness consists of an individual or a group of metal strands, which are covered by an exterior sheath. Generally, this sheath is made from a thermoset or thermoplastic materials. Cables harnesses are designed to bundle all the wires together in an organized manner. The harnesses also help protect the various cables.
When comparing cable harnesses and assemblies, harnesses are designed to be smaller and lighter than cable assemblies. The materials can be sourced at reasonable prices, and they require less labor for production. Cable harnesses are the general choice for electronic equipment used in aircrafts, automobiles, and household appliances.
- Cable Assemblies: Cable assemblies comprise a group of wires, which are covered by a protective exterior sheath. The sheath is designed to cover the rubber or plastic insulation protecting the wires. Exterior sheaths can be constructed from a wide range of materials. These include vinyl, thermoplastic rubber, or shrink wrapped thermoplastic.
The sheathing protects the assembly and wires from environmental elements and contaminants. These can include heat, moisture, friction, compression, and abrasion. Due to this advantage, the sheathing’s protection capabilities makes cable assemblies useful for outdoor applications. Cable assemblies are commonly used in industries where applications are subject to environmental hazards. These include security installations, oilfield electronics, and military equipment.
Understanding the difference between cable assemblies and cable harnesses can help you find the right type of electronic component. This can prove to be extremely beneficial to your equipment, as well as the application.
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.
From diagnostics and treatment to therapeutic equipment, medical grade cable assemblies are inevitably used. They form an essential component when it comes to the assembly of laboratory analysis equipment, imaging systems, surgical and medical instrumentation, dental lab equipment, and diagnostic apparatuses, among several others. Medical cable solutions are available with specialized features such as steam sterilization soaker caps used to withstand chemical sterilization, sealed connectors for wet applications, and high voltage for isolation applications.
Taking into consideration the demands of the medical industry, cable assembly manufacturers execute rigorous testing prior to shipping the product to the customer. This blog enlists several testing methods conducted when assembling medical grade cable assemblies.
Types of Electrical and Mechanical Tests Pertaining to Medical Cable Assemblies
When it comes to assembling wiring harnesses for the medical industry, the following tests are conducted to ensure product quality.
Electrical tests include:
- High Voltage Testing
- Insulation Testing
- Pressure Testing
- Micro Section Testing
- Crimp Testing
- Pin Assignment Testing
- Length Testing
- Function Testing
- Component Testing
- Propagation Delay Measurements
Mechanical and thermal tests include:
- Drag Chain
- Flex Cycle
- Customer-Specific Function
The aforementioned tests are done to ensure the following:
- The cable solutions are assembled in compliance with required specifications.
- They exhibit desired electrical and optical properties for use in demanding medical environments.
- They are manufactured by incorporating specialized requirements of the customer.
- Designed and manufactured in compliance with international quality standards.
- They perform exceptionally well in elevated temperature ranges.
- They can withstand chemical sterilization and other harsh fluids and solutions.
Cable Assemblies – A Must-Have Component in Medical Devices
Cable assemblies for medical devices must be built to withstand demanding conditions in the application areas. The final assembly should meet the specifications, performance criteria, and exacting standards, as specified by the customer. The use of poor quality assembly not only affects the performance of the medical apparatus, but also leads to unexpected catastrophe, claiming lives and damaging properties. By stringently testing the assemblies, manufacturers can assess the overall performance, helping deliver only those assemblies that meet the highest quality standards.
Nowadays, you can have your wire harness assembly and cable components completely customized to your specifications. From different sizes, coloring and labels, to the various functions available, the options are truly endless. However, choosing from the different varieties of wire harness assemblies can be a tedious job. Well, this problem can be taken care of by working with an experienced and professional wire harness assembly manufacturer. There are numerous benefits of hiring professional cable assembly manufacturer compared to store-bought cables and wires.
Custom Wire Harness Advantages
Here are the major advantages of custom wire harness assemblies:
- Saves Time: Time is the most valuable resource to any production line. When it comes to saving precious minutes, it’s astute to have customized wire harnesses that are bundled for ease of installation. Rather than having your technicians constantly struggling with a number of different wires and cables, only to find out that they have the wrong wires.
- Improves Product Quality: Ensuring optimum product quality is another important aspect of proper management of a wire harness production line. Basically, this means simplifying the installation process of all wiring harnesses. This can be achieved by sourcing wires with customized bundling, labeling, and easy-to-install connectors. Thus, you will be certain that every product that rolls off the assembly line is of the finest quality and reliability.
- Superior Materials: The major difference between store-bought cables and wires, and professional manufacturers is the quality of the wiring materials used. Custom wire harness providers can ensure that only high grade materials are used for manufacturing your cables. Hence, you will receive the highest caliber of signal and power transmission from your wiring.
- Serves a Myriad of Applications: The custom wiring and cabling that powers modern technology, serves endless applications and industries today. From customized cable material to create space saving designs, to sturdy wiring harnesses for tough applications.
- Additional Services: Only custom cable manufacturers can provide additional services that will enhance the quality of the final product. From laser stripping and marking for identification and installation, to custom insulating and jacketing materials. Wire harness assembly manufacturers who value customer service are always seeking new ways to save you effort, time, and money when working with their cables and harnesses.
The biggest advantage of working with custom wire harness assembly providers is that they can serve as your one-stop shop for all of your wiring and cabling needs.