Category Archive: Cable Assembly
Several organizations utilize printed circuit boards to support applications. When developing printed circuit board assembly services in California, it is important to be aware of the common mistakes that could occur. Knowledge of these problems will allow you to avoid them and maintain the quality and reliability of your PCB.
Common Printed Circuit Board Assembly Pitfalls
Developing a PCB assembly requires immense skill and hard work. Even if the process has been automated, a small lapse in judgment or a minor manufacturing inconsistency could make the PCB unusable. The common pitfalls include:
- Insufficient Trace Width or Spacing
When copper traces are integrated into a PCB, it is important to ensure that the width is not too thin or thick. This will ensure better electrical connections. In addition, the space between two traces should not exceed a certain limit. Since the PCB could heat up in the future, there is a chance of crosstalk taking place.
- Unsuitable Visibility of Copper
Copper traces are placed on a PCB to connect different components. A copper trace runs around the outline of the board. If this outline is exposed and can be seen, it could as easily get damaged. Hence, it is important to keep the copper traces inside the outline of the board. The boundary of the copper trace should be defined to keep it from being chipped.
- Spacing Between Drill Hits
When drilling small holes in the size range of 65 mils, it is important to maintain a minimum of 10-mil spacing between them. If this is not adhered with, drilling of one hole could cause another to break. This takes place because the drilling is done under high speeds.
Several other mistakes can be made from the designing or manufacturing point of view. The design should be thoroughly checked. Manufacturing a prototype before the production run will also allow you to identify functionality or quality problems, if any. A keen eye and thorough testing will ensure maximum reliability of your PCB.
Solar energy is one of the most important sources of energy in today’s world. With the Greenhouse effect proving to be a cause for concern for the entire planet, we are quickly moving to renewable sources of energy. Solar panels and other such applications require cable assemblies for their operation. Such specialized cable assemblies will allow the application to function reliably. These cables are water and UV resistant, and extremely flexible. They are manufactured for use in rugged environments and high temperature conditions.
Materials Used to Manufacture Solar Cable Assemblies
UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certified cable assemblies are used in solar energy production. Two main materials used to manufacture solar cable assemblies are:
- PV Wire
These wires can be used in both wet and dry climatic conditions. They can endure high temperatures reaching 90 ºC in wet applications and 120 ºC in dry conditions. These wires are available in voltage ratings ranging from 600 to 2000 Volts. Solar PV wires can be used in both grounded and ungrounded installations.
- USE-2 Cables
This photovoltaic wire is used in grounded arrays only. The maximum operating temperature of this wire is 90 ºC and it has a voltage rating of 600 V.
Solar energy is still a new concept in the commercial sense. Although, many people are adapting and adopting this trend, there is still some resistance. However, scientists are discovering newer, faster, and more reliable methods of harnessing the sun’s readily available energy. This has led to wider adoption. The continual rise of gas and electrical rates are pushing organizations to develop new products and people to utilize them. With reliable solar cable assemblies, we can expect to migrate from depending on non-renewable energy sources to renewable ones.
The medical industry requires specialized cable assemblies to manufacture devices and equipment of several types. They are an indispensable component used in the assembly of diagnostic equipment and imaging systems to sophisticated surgical robots. They are available in a wide range of specifications for applications across several areas of the health care industry.
This blog is meant to familiarize you with the four major areas where medical grade cable assemblies are indispensable.
Applications of Medical Grade Cable Assemblies
The below listed are the 4 key medical areas where cable assemblies are extensively used.
Applications – Video Endoscopy, Electrosurgical Unit, Surgical Robots, Electrosurgical Unit, Medical Ventilators, Anesthetic Machines, Electro Thermal Bipolar Vessel Sealing, Circulatory Assist Devices, Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD), Defibrillators, Power Hand Instruments, and Arthroscopic Shaver System.
Applications – MRI and Cardiac MRI Equipment, CT Scanning Unit, X-ray System , Ultrasound Unit, Obstetric and Maternal Fetal Ultrasound Equipment, Bone Densitometry or DXA, Fluoroscopy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Digital Mammography.
- Area – Diagnostic and Therapeutic
Applications – ECG Machines, Blood Pressure Monitor, Therapeutic Ultrasound Devices, Combination Therapy Units, Light Therapy Equipment, Urinalysis System, Portable Ultrasound Scanner, X-Ray Film Processor Tabletop, Electrical Muscle Stimulators, and Magnetic Resonance Tomography
- Area – Patient Monitoring
Applications – ECG, Oxygen measurement, Temperature Measurement, and Blood Pressure Monitoring, among several others.
Medical Grade Cable Assemblies Tailored to your Applications
These days, medical device manufacturers prefer customized cable assemblies so that the final assembly fits their applications perfectly. However, ensure that you are providing the exact specifications to the manufacturer when stipulating requirements.
For specialized medical applications, cable assemblies can be customized to incorporate the following:
- Non-toxic and irritant-free cables
- Color-coding for polarization
- Smaller bend radius
- Low surface friction
Medical cable assemblies are built to last to resist frequent wash-downs using mild cleaning agents or industrial sterilization solutions. Also, they are superbly engineered to resist chemicals, radiation, vibration, high pressures, humidity, and variable temperatures. In addition, they can withstand corrosion, moisture, UV light, abrasion, impact and more.
A mil spec cable assembly is one that has been manufactured according to military standards. These assemblies are lightweight, rugged, and durable, among other things. The materials used to manufacture military cable assemblies are also of the highest quality. These materials lower vibrations within an application, are more durable, and perform in accordance with military standards. However, not all applications require such specialized cable assemblies. Mil-spec wires can be a bit on the expensive side when compared to other normally used cable assemblies. Hence, it is important to identify your needs to understand if the extra cost is really worth it.
5 Factors to Help You Determine Your Mil Spec Cable Assembly Requirements
If you answer yes to any of the below questions, then you will benefit from mil-spec assemblies. Otherwise, you can opt for normal cable assemblies.
1. Your Application is Critical
The application in which the military cable assemblies are used is the heart of your entire process. If this application fails, it will result in heavy losses for your organization. If this is the case, you can consider incorporating mil-spec wires specifically for some parts of the application.
2. The Application or Environment is Harsh
Mil spec wires are designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions. They function across a wide temperature and pressure range, are corrosion and abrasion resistant, and can function across a wide voltage range. In short, they provide long-lasting service through demanding situations.
3. Possibility of Vibrations
Military applications are almost always in a constant state of motion and vibration. They have to traverse tough terrain and generally trying conditions. The wires built for these applications are able to function smoothly in high vibration environments. Therefore, if your application will be experiencing vibrations that are high in intensity or frequency, opting for mil spec cable assemblies is a good idea.
4. Possibility of EMI/RFI Radiations
All military grade cable assemblies are covered with EMI/RFI shielding materials. If your application will be exposed to these radiations, look for mil-spec wires or customized cables with the right shielding materials.
5. A Higher Authority Mandates You to Use Mil-Spec
Some applications are used in certain applications where a local, federal, or external body demands the use of mil-spec products. This can be done to ensure additional safety or product reliability. In such situations when it is mandatory to use military grade product, mil-spec cable assemblies need to be integrated without question.
Military cable assemblies are used in various rugged applications, which need to adhere to certain guidelines that are in line with those dictated for military applications. If you are confused about the wires and cable assemblies to be used, consult your cable assembly manufacturer. He will be able to guide you on picking up the most suitable cable assemblies for your application. If you can’t find the right match, you can even consider opting for customized cable assemblies to suit your application.
Aerospace grade cables are utilized to support critical applications in several industries. They are designed to withstand demanding application conditions. Custom aerospace grade cable assembly can be used in applications that require the cables to be manufactured to a certain standard. These cables are used in extreme environments. Durable materials are used to manufacture these cables to increase their resilience to unfavorable factors.
Custom cable assemblies for the Aerospace industries consist of fiber optic cable assemblies, space cables, and other aerospace grade cable assemblies. Aerospace fiber optic cables are extremely tough in nature. These cables are used in applications where the wear and tear of the cables is extremely high. Custom fiber optic cables can be used to ensure that the unique requirements of the applications are met.
Testing of Custom Cable Assembly for Aerospace Industries
Space cables used in critical applications are manufactured with extreme attention to detail. Once manufactured, these cable assemblies are tested rigorously. The quality of the raw materials and manufacturing process are tested. In terms of functionality, the products are tested to ensure reliable operation. This ensures that all the cable assemblies for aerospace industry are flawless in quality and operation.
You should opt for aerospace cable assemblies if your application environment or operation is demanding in nature. If standard cable assemblies are unable to handle the stress posed by the application or its environment, you will benefit from using aerospace grade cable assemblies. Irrespective of standard or unique requirements, speak to your aerospace cable assembly manufacturer to find the best suited product for your application.
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.
Wiring harness assembly must be executed with extreme care. Any defect in the production process results in overall failure, leading to unexpected incidents. Nonetheless, it has been noticed that, manufacturers commit some common mistakes when assembling wire harnesses.
Here, in this blog, the six basic mistakes perpetrated by a wire harness manufacturer are listed.
The 6 Manufacturing Defects
Ensure that you never do the following when assembling wire harnesses.
- Preparing Wires – It has to be carried out with sheer care and precision as it determines the overall efficiency and performance of the assembly. Many of the manufacturers go wrong in this very first stage by selecting wrong wires that are cut and stripped at the ends indecorously.
- Not Following the Assembly Drawing – A lot can go wrong when connecting the wires in the chassis. Wiring harness manufacturers usually commit the mistake of connecting the wires erroneously. This fails the wire assembly, and in turn the entire system. Follow the assembly drawing stringently to avoid such mistakes.
- Defects in Crimping – The crimping process, which involves terminating the wires in a harness, is the most critical step in the wire harness assembly. If not executed properly, it results in open or short circuits. Many of the manufacturers execute this haphazardly, leading to catastrophic incidents.
- Improper Soldering – This is yet another major area where manufacturers commit mistakes. Improper soldering of wires to terminals leads to thermal damage. Use the right soldering equipment, and proper soldering temperature when performing this task.
- Missing Wires, and Using Wrong Hardware – To meet the project schedule, some wiring harness manufacturers may tend to overlook wires that are crucial in the assembly. This could result in the failure of the wiring harness assembly. Also, the manufacturer may use the wrong hardware, including stand offs, clamps, washers or screws to assemble the harness.
- Improper Wire Tying –– The last step in the wiring harness assembly process is tying the wires, utilizing plastic tie wraps. Sometimes, wire harness manufacturers tie the wraps too tight to an extent that it damages the wires. On the other hand, if it is tied loose, there are chances of it not holding the bundle properly. Hence, the manufacturers must ensure that the ties are tightened around the wires in the right manner.
If the above mentioned mistakes can be avoided, along with taking care of other assembly specifications, manufacturers can assemble the harness to customers’ requirements. Double-checking the process helps eliminate aforementioned defects, producing superior quality wiring harness.
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.
The process of assembling box build assemblies is quite simple. It involves a Bill of Materials (BOM), the customer providing Gerber files, CAD design, assembly, and delivery. Many customers assume that once the Gerber files are handed over, the Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider will take care of the rest. There are certain points that need to be discussed before any of the above mentioned steps can take place.
Points to Discuss with your EMS Provider
If you are getting an electronic manufacturing services (EMS) provider to design and produce your box build assemblies, then there are certain points you need to consider.
- Unambiguous Bill of Materials: The first point of discussion between the client and the EMS provider is the BOM. It is imperative that the BOM be clear in terms of the materials and components, which will be used to create the box build assembly. The BOM also needs to specify the materials that the provider will source, and those that the client will provide.
- Define the Components: As each component will make a difference to the assembly and operation of the product, it is important that you specify certain components. Although the provider can source the large components, you can specify on smaller yet important materials. Examples of these would be adhesives, fasteners, heat shrink tubing, wires, etc. Defining such components can help you to maintain your costs, and ensure delivery of the product on the expected date.
- Specify Characteristics: Aspects like finishes, weight, size, and tolerances are usually left to the freedom of the provider. However, if not properly specified these can lead to issues at the time of assembly and quality testing. Ensure that such aspects are also specified. Size and weight are also important points to consider for storage and handling purposes.
- Provide CAD Layouts: This is an option for customers. There are many reasons why providing a CAD model will help move increase the entire process speed:
- The designers do not need to visualize the product and its assembly.
- It can include a drawing where all the components will be placed.
- A customer’s personal design followed to the letter can ensure that the box build assembly is manufactured to industry compliances.
- Many CAD software offer free drawing options.
- Decide on the Build Method: You need to decide on the most optimum build method for the electrical systems. Consider methods like prepared cables, or point to point wiring, and create a schematic for the same. If possible, provide this in an electronic format as well.
- Enquire about the Testing Methods: If possible, ask the EMS provider if he can perform specific tests to ensure that quality and efficiency of the product. You can specify functionality testing, electrical safety testing, etc. Also, you can find out from your service provider the best choice of tests for the assembly.
- Request for Delivery Method: Depending on the type of box build assembly, you can specify the type of packaging and the mode of transport for delivery. You can ask for shrink wraps, or special boxes, or even pallets.
Outsourcing box build assemblies is a process that requires the customer and the EMS provider to work in unison. Providing the right information before any process is begun can help in the design, production, testing, and delivery of an assembly of world class quality.