A cable assembly is a group of cables of varying constructions, sizes, lengths and colours arranged into a single unit. Pre-terminated cable assemblies are widely used by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to make installation quicker and easier when mass producing kit.
Whilst standard cables may work in many instances, when dealing with specific or complex applications, off-the-shelf cables often fall short.
In the case of critical applications such as military bases, large-scale industrial production lines or medical equipment, improper set up when using an out-of-the-box cable assembly could prove disastrous. Even seemingly simple electronics applications, such as a home theatre system, will require a custom cable assembly to ensure they function well and deliver, while at the same time being compact and user-friendly.
As such, custom cable assemblies explicitly created for the task at hand are a valuable solution for OEMs across a range of different sectors such as automotive, utilities, aerospace, security and telecommunications. From simple cable assemblies including external cabling and internal wiring to pre-formed looms, wiring harnesses and ribbon cables, various types of constructions can be customised.
Here are just some of the advantages…
The better the materials, the better the end product will be. Opting for a custom cable assembly gives you greater control of the materials used for the construction. For instance, the insulations, shield and jacketing material can all be specified to suit the application, and the cable harness manufacturer will be able to source the best materials for the product.
Having control over the material sources and manufacturing process is especially important when products are to be used in critical applications such as the medical industry.
Finding a ready-made cable assembly to fit your exact project requirements can prove difficult, if not impossible. But custom cables are manufactured as per the specifications in the design.
As an example, the cables could be colour coded or labelled — reducing the chance of elements being installed incorrectly and guaranteeing a perfect fit from production through to implementation.
The length of each cable can also be manufactured exactly as per the requirement of the project to ensure the setup is clean and eliminating the need to hide additional cables and wires.
With custom cable assemblies, the manufacturer can order the exact amount of cables required for the needs of the application. The precise count for the conductor, stranding and size can also be optimised during the design phase.
By only using the correct quantities, you will avoid wastage and won’t have any excessive cables left after the assembly is completed.
When being used in critical applications, cables can’t afford to fail prematurely. Custom assemblies will undergo much more rigorous testing than off-the-shelf products to ensure uniform functionality and quality.
To certify the cable is tested for the given requirements before assembly, applicable test data including tolerances, electrical parameters, temperature performance and resistance to chemical exposure can all be supplied by the cable manufacturer.
The cable manufacturer should also test the product in the environment it will be used in to guarantee a particular combination of components will stand up to the elements. Prototypes can be used to test the components in real-life situations to ensure the assembly meets the design requirements. If any attributes need to be tweaked, this can then be done before the production stage.
Thanks to the stringent manufacturing process, custom cables often offer higher performance when compared to their standard counterparts.
Custom cable assemblies are designed around your exact product requirements and manufactured to work with your equipment and environment — which means they are also extensively tested with those requirements in mind to ensure a successful finished product that will function and last as expected.
What’s more, custom cables can be manufactured to incorporate multiple functions —including power, signal, video and cable shielding — into one cable. These custom solutions are built for unmatched performance and take up minimal space, making them ideal for specialised applications such as surveillance systems in the security industry.
Save time and money
Initially, you might think it’s cheaper and faster to pick an off-the-shelf cable and simply connect it to your equipment. However, in most cases, these cables won’t work for any but the most straightforward applications. Attempting to retrofit standard cables takes time and money that could have been saved by working with a custom cable manufacturer to create the perfect setup.
Although custom solutions might be more expensive upfront, better performance and longevity will save you money in the long run as you won’t need to replace the assembly as often. Many cable manufacturers will also offer additional services such as design support and laser marking, which could serve as a significant cost-saving factor.
With over 35 years’ experience in the industry, EC Electronics has the knowledge needed to provide a complete custom cable assembly service — from design, drawing and prototyping through to full production volume. Contact us today to find out how we can support your next project.