Towards the end of the 20th century, most wire harnessing processes, including insertion of wires into the connectors and bundling of wires, were done manually. Due to the lack of wire harness assembly automation, the manufacturing process took longer than other cable assemblies. Depending on the complexity of the wire harness, production time spanned from a few days to several weeks.
Although, complete automation cannot be done for insertion of terminated wires into connector housings, fully automated equipment and procedures are now available for cutting, stripping, and crimping of wire.
Complete Automation of Wire Harness Assembly
Recently, a system has been introduced that can automatically produce a complete custom wire harness from start to finish. It comprises a set of flexible machines, which can also take care of the insertion of terminated wires into assembly connectors.
This system can automatically cut, strip, and crimp wires of different gauges. It is equipped with sensors on the presses for quality control. Also, it can be fitted with a combination of stations, such as crimping presses and seal assembly stations.
Besides this, there are other innovations that can be used to simplify the wire insertion process. There are systems that use vision-guided lasers to command assemblers where to insert the wires. Also, certain procedures use computer-guided wire assembly and test systems to perform wire insertion. Such innovations have only further strengthened the efforts of automating cable assembly processes.
Beneficial Applications of Automating Cable Assembly Processes
Cable assembly automation can be helpful in various ways. Following are the major beneficial applications of automating cable assembly and wire harnessing processes:
Fitting of terminals onto wires
Soldering or tinning of the wire ends
Plugging of wires into connector housings
Testing a wire harness for electrical functionality
Crimping terminals on one or both sides or the wires
Specialized cutting machines for cutting and stripping the ends of individual wires
Considering the potential benefits and the solutions being introduced to solve this problem, it is safe to say that the future of wire harness assembly automation looks bright.
Cable harnesses are required for a number of applications and industries these days. Besides, they can be tailored or custom made to meet specific requirements. Over the past few years, the custom wire harness manufacturing industry has developed to a great extent. This has been possible mainly due to advancements in technology. This has eventually resulted in the development of a wide variety of innovative products for different types of industries. Today, manufacturers in the electronics, electrical, and automotive industries are offering different types of custom wire harness cable assemblies for numerous products and applications.
Choosing a Quality Cable Harnessing
There are a number of factors that make it necessary to choose a quality cable harness for your application needs. Following are some of the crucial ones:
Enhanced Safety: vehicles, machinery, and electronic gadgets have a number of wires inside them. These wires connect all the components to one another in order to make the device function properly. Cable harnesses prevent the risks that a loose cable or assembly can pose inside a vehicle or a machine. Wiring harnesses help bring together bundles of loose wires that are needed for connecting all the electronic components in the appliances. They also protect the cables and wires against stretching, vibration, moisture, and abrasions.
Reduced Installation Time: Aircrafts, automobiles, as well as electronic products used in industries and homes have a number of wires inside them. These wires and cables are part of the design developed by engineers to ensure that the device function the way it’s meant to. Installing each and every wire separately will require a lot of time during the manufacturing as well as repair or maintenance of the equipment. Thereby, it’s astute to replace these numerous wires with a single wire harness. Moreover, it reduces the installation time considerably. Therefore, the required cable harness is also designed by the engineers during the equipment’s design process.
Enhanced Performance: These days, manufacturers offer different types of standard as well as custom wire harnesses for use in electronic appliances and gadgets. Although, a particular model of standard harness can be used with multiple devices, but it is always suggested to opt for a custom wire harness cable assembly depending on your application needs. This will not only help ensure safety of the product, but will also enhance its output and performance significantly.
From the aforementioned factors, you can understood that how choosing a quality cable harness can help you.
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.
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.
Centralized automotive wiring system is the traditional structure used to provide electrical connections in automobiles. In this system, the automotive wiring harness forms a star-like structure, where all connections emanate from a single power box. Although this system is used extensively in several large companies, it is slowly becoming redundant.
The Role of Fuse Boxes
In order to ensure safe functioning, several fuses are used in the centralized automotive wiring harness. These fuses protect the wires from high voltage currents. However, engineers are required to place fuse boxes at a location that is easily accessible by repairmen. This causes the designers to make certain changes in the layout of the wiring systems causing the above-mentioned problems.
3 Major Problems of Centralized Automotive Wiring Systems
In a centralized automotive wiring system, the following productive features are sacrificed to accommodate design requirements:
In order to utilize a single fuse box, several power feeds are accumulated and routed to the fuse. Since all the loads are pooled in a single circuit, there is no scope for fault isolation. In addition, optimization of wire size is not possible in such cases.
Although the technicians are required to place the fuse boxes in an accessible location, this rule is not always followed for electrical centers. Electrical centers are placed in a manner that makes them inaccessible to personnel who may not be entirely knowledgeable of the system. This leads to increased costs.
System designers are required to route several functional systems to allow separate components to function in isolation. This requires several wires to be used to connect different components. Each wiring system requires a separate fuse. Such guidelines and design requirements demand excessive wires to be used thereby increasing cost.
The Solution: The Decentralized Approach
Recent innovation in this area of automotive wiring systems has led to the decentralized approach. This is a tree-like structure, where wires branch out from several main power boxes. This is a more systematic approach compared to the conventional centralized system. Since fewer wires are used in this process, it renders the system lighter and more cost-effective compared to the centralized system.
It is important to decide on which system fits your automobile. The designer and manufacturer should take into consideration the requirements of the user and repairmen. A system that reduces effort of the technician will be more profitable for the user. In turn, this will make the manufacturer’s system more popular, leading to growth. Hence, it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
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.
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:
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.
In the previous post, we had discussed the initial steps to building a harness. We began by creating a wiring diagram, collecting the tools, stripping the wires, and cutting and attaching the heat shrink. We also showcased the steps for connecting and crimping the terminal and wire, and shrinking the heat shrink. In this post, we will take a look at the remaining steps involved in building a wire harness.
Steps to Build a Wire Harness :
The following points showcase the basic requirements and steps to be taken to build a wire harness.
Interlacing Multiple Wires: The method shown here is just one way to splice multiple wires. Cut the insulation off the ends of the wires, and insert them into a crimp tubing. Ensure that the wires go all the way through the tubing. Pass the wires through the heat shrink tubing as well. Using a crimping tool, apply force to the crimp tubing. Then use the heat gun to shrink the heat shrink tubing.
Examine the Connectors: As most wire harnesses are built for demanding applications in extreme environments, it is suitable to use weather pack connectors. These are similar to factory connectors, but slightly different. These connectors consist of a male and female housing, and each housing comprises seals and terminals.
Sealing & Crimping the Wire: First strip about 3/8ʺ of insulation from the wire. Then slide a seal onto the wire. Using a crimping tool, crimp the wire terminal. Ensure that crimping is done only to the crimp area, and not to any other part of the terminal.
Attach the Terminal: Insert the wire with the seal into the terminal while it is still in the crimper. Squeeze down and make the crimp. You can also attach small metal strips to hold the rubber seal in place.
Attach the Wire to the Male Housing: Now the wire is ready for assembly. Insert the terminal into the male housing. Keep pushing the terminal inside till you hear a click. Once this is completed, close the housing flap. The flap will go around the wire.
Connect the Wire to the Female Housing and Attach the Connectors: Perform the same procedure with the female housing. You can use a zip tie to hold all the wires together. Place a large green seal on the outside of the female housing. Then slide the male housing over the female housing, and connect them together.
These are the basic steps to build a wire harness. After this, the harness can be installed into the application equipment. A bit of practice and patience can help you to create a harness of immense quality.
Building a wire harness can be a time consuming and difficult task. There are two basic reasons why a person will choose to create a wire harness – either to improve its overall appearance, or customize it for an application. Every wire harness is different, however, the basics of wire harness construction is pretty much the same. If you take your time, you will find the process to be less demanding.
Steps to Build a Wire Harness :
The following points showcase the basic requirements and steps to build a wire harness.
Create a Wiring Diagram: Before any of the wire cutting can begin, you need to create a wiring diagram of your system. This can be performed by using a computer program like CAD. Generally, a wiring diagram consists of two parts – a schematic, and a harness. The schematic will showcase the parts, their locations, and how they are connected. The harness diagram will help you create an exact plan of how all the wires and connectors will be put together. You can also color the diagram to represent different parts. For example, colored circles can symbolize connectors. This will help you to keep things organized, and make the process easier.
Collect Your Tools: The next aspect is to collect all the necessary tools to get the job done. You will require the following:
Heat shrink tubing
Wire stripper (manual or automatic)
The size of the heat shrink tubing used will vary depending on the sizes of the terminals. As wire harnesses are generally used for demanding applications, GXL wire with PVC insulation would be a good choice. This is a high temperature wire, and is ideal for harsh environments. The wire provides resistance to heat, fire, moisture, and chemicals.
Strip the Wire: Use the wire stripper to remove a small part of the insulation from one end of the wire. The wires will be attached to terminals, so you need to make sure that the length of the cut is according to the terminal size.
Cut the Heat Shrink: Cut the heat shrink tubing of a length a little longer than that of the stripped wire. Insert the heat shrink over an unstripped area of the wire.
Attach a Terminal: Take a terminal, place its seam into the crimp pliers, and crimp the terminal slightly. Insert the terminal into the wire, then use the pliers to squeeze the wire and terminal together. Use enough force such that the two parts will be crimped, but not so much that the wire gets damaged.
Cover the Wire: Once the above step has been completed, pull the heat shrink over the crimped wire edge and terminal seam. Ensure that the tubing closes tightly over the two parts.
Shrink the Tubing: This is where the heat gun needs to be used. Turn on the gun, set it to the required temperature, and allow it to warm up. Direct the gun’s hot air over the heat shrink tubing. The tubing will reduce to the appropriate size, thus protecting the parts.