Cable And Harness Assembly: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

Cable and harness assembly is an essential component of current industrial and home systems.

It allows your technicians to form neat and meticulously fitted wiring systems for any kind of environment.

Is There Difference Between Wire Harness Vs. Cable Assembly?

Often, people confuse wire harness with cable assembly.

A cable assembly refers to a collection of cables/wires enclosed in one external tube made using pressure extruded thermoplastics, vinyl or rubber. Cable assembly normally features only two ends.

The tube encasing the cables shields them from friction, moisture, heat, dust or any other risk they might be exposed to. This makes cable assemblies suitable for outdoor applications.

Mostly, cable assembly is desired over a wire harness since routing it around obstacles is easier compared to several wire harness.

Unlike cable assembly that encloses all wires in a single cable, a wire harness exposes several independently separated wires. Wire harness includes several ends extending in various different directions with several terminations on every branch.

Wire harnesses are employed in applications where they will not be subjected to environmental elements like friction, moisture, extreme heat, or dust. Typically, you use wire harness where you will shield the cable using an exterior casing.

Wire Harness Vs. Cable Assembly

Wire Harness Vs. Cable Assembly

Which Are The Main Components Of Cable And Harness Assembly?

The main cable and harness assembly components include:

  • Wire And Cable

The wire and cables carry the signal or current that powers a machine or equipment. The capacity of the wires should meet or surpass the bandwidth or voltage it is required to transmit.

Copper is the material for most wires used in cable assembly, which can have special coating.

  • Connectors

There are various sizes and types of wire connectors. Though often plastic, wire connectors can be manufactured from different materials, including ceramic and metal.

Cable and Harness Assembly Connectors

Cable and Harness Assembly Connectors

  • Strain Reliefs

Strain reliefs are normally incorporated to the exterior of the wire connector. Its main purpose is to avoid pulling of wires within the connector that could pull the terminal out of the wire connector. This could in turn lead to a bad connection.

You can as well add strain relief at exceptional bend radius. Such bend radius can exert excessive force on the terminal and wire within the connector.

  • Terminals

Terminal in cable and harness assembly refers to the metallic part joined to end of cable to be slotted in the connector.

  • Primary Insulations

Cable assembly insulators are made using thermoplastic or thermoset compositions. The cable and harness assembly application will determine the type, thickness and material for the insulator.

The primary insulations materials can meet a myriad of environments and applications.

  • Grommets

Grommets are insulators whose main role is to lock out moisture from the connectors. You can attach grommet with the terminals of the cable and harness assembly it can be component of the connector.

  • Ties

Clamps and ties retain the wires of the cable and harness assembly attached in a specific direction. You can also use them to fix to a support at designated locations to reduce movement.

Cable and Harness Assembly Ties

Cable and Harness Assembly Ties

  • Locks

You insert locks in connectors to avoid pulling out of the terminal connected to the cable from the connector. Moreover, it can equally ensure complete terminal insertion into the connector.

How Many Wires Are In A Cable And Harness Assembly?

There is no standard number of wires within a cable and harness assembly. The selection of the wires depends on application and the different systems that you will connect the cable assembly to.

A basic system might need a cable and harness assembly having 5 to 7 wires, whilst larger assemblies might include more wires.

The selection of the cables is dependent on the type of data you will be transmitting through them. The wire size, insulation material, power capacity, and length are all determined depending on the application.

What Are The Factors That Influence Cable And Harness Assembly Design?

Based on the specific requirements of an applications, you can create different types of cable and harness assemblies. Most can support up to 3000 volts (military) or 600 volts (UL), with great performance at -65 to 250 degrees Celsius temperature range.

When determining a new cable and harness Assembly design, you need to thoughtfully consider the following:

  • Whether the cable and harness assembly will be subjected to continual flexion
  • If their application will be outdoors or indoors, and at what particular conditions
  • The number of conductors and circuits needed for the assembly together with their features
  • The voltage level to be conducted
  • Potential exposures, consisting of corrosive fluids, moisture, weather conditions, and chemicals
  • Minimum, average, and maximum operating temperatures in addition to fluctuations
  • Local environmental and safety regulations that may influence component choice, installation, and evaluation
  • Overall shape of form, breakouts, and routing

How Do You Determine The Minimum Bending Radius Of Cable And Harness Assembly?

The cable and harness assembly bending radius refers to the minimum radius you can bend the cable without damaging it.

The following are the key factors that impact the minimal bending radius:

  • Cable construction
  • Cable size
  • Conductor type
  • Insulation and sheathing types used

Normally, bending radius is denoted as a derivative of the general cable assembly dimension. For instance, 6x or 6D the external cable and harness assembly diameter.

Bending Radius of Cable and Harness Assembly

Bending Radius of Cable and Harness Assembly

How Do You Determine The Correct Conductor Size In Cable And Harness Assembly?

The electrical needs of your project are crucial to the selection of conductor size. You should choose the conductor size depending on your application’s needed power load.

It is crucial to always consider ambient temperature during selection of conductor size selection of the cable and harness assembly. You define the ampacity and correction factor of the conductor depending on number of conductors and ambient temperature.

What Types Of Cable Assembly Designs Are Generally Offered By Manufacturers?

You can design cable and harness assemblies in many different ways. Let’s look at some of the popular designs of cable and harness assembly:

  • Point-to-point Assemblies

These types of cable and harness assemblies comprise of terminal strips that are utilized to form interconnections between 2 independent points.

  • Multiple-Termination Type Assemblies

These comprise of multiple pre-terminated fiber cables. This implies that you add every fiber cable prior to creating the cable and harness assembly.

Multi-termination Fiber Cable and Harness Assembly

Multi-termination Fiber Cable and Harness Assembly

  • Ribbon Assemblies

Ribbon assemblies derive their name from the insulated wires that are linked together to create a flat ribbon. You can group ribbon assemblies into split, multi-branch or high-speed, protected and jacketed non-PVC cable assemblies.

  • Radiation Tolerant Designs

These cable and harness assembly designs are made to retain their efficiency in applications having high radiation amounts. Overall, radiation tolerant cable and harness assemblies possess a tolerance spanning from 5-200 Mrad.

  • Crush Resistant Designs

These types of cable and harness assemblies can endure immense quantity of pressure. There are crush resistant cable assembly with the capability to sustain above 250 lbs/inch.

Can You Make Custom Cable And Harness Assembly?

Yes, we can craft cable and harness assembly with almost infinite style and material choices, including:

  • All types of insulation materials
  • Heat-shrink coatings
  • Lacing
  • Custom shielding
  • Wire ties
  • Custom colors
  • Individual tagging
  • Custom barcoding or labeling
  • Independent circuit IDs
  • Nylon, paper, and polypropylene fillers
  • Four-color ink stamping

We employ a strategic engineering technique to choose the most perfect connectors and shielding for your application. Still, we consider all the relevant regulatory standards to make sure your final cable and harness assembly is safe, authentic, compliant and efficient.

Why Should You Choose Custom Cable And Harness Assembly?

Here are some of the benefits of cable and harness assembly:

  • Suitable Materials

You will have a better end product by choosing a better material. Going for custom cable and harness assembly offers you more control of the construction material used.

For instance, you can specify the jacketing, shield and insulation material to fit the application. The cable and harness assembly manufacturer will be in a position to shop for the most suitable materials to make the product.

Being able to control the material origins and production process is particularly critical when the product is to be used in sensitive applications.

  • Accuracy

Getting an off the shelf cable and harness assembly to suit your exact project needs may prove challenging, if not impossible. However, custom cable assembly are produced according to the design specifications.

For instance, you may color code or label the cables. This minimizes the possibility of incorrect installation and ensuring a faultless fit from manufacturing through to application.

Moreover, you can manufacture the length of every cable exactly according to the project requirements. This guarantees a clean setup and eliminates the necessity to conceal extra wires and cables.

  • Quantity

With custom cable and harness assemblies, you can order the precise number of cables needed for the project. You can also optimize the exact count for the stranding, conductor and size during design stage.

By utilizing the right amounts, you will keep away from wastage and will not have any excess cables remnants after completing assembly.

  • Quality assurance

Premature failure is not acceptable in crucial cable and harness applications. Custom cable assembly will go through more thorough quality testing compared to of-the-shelf types to guarantee high quality and performance.

  • Higher Performance

Due to the strict manufacturing operation, custom cable and harness assemblies usually provide greater performance in comparison to conventional types.

They are designed as per your exact specifications and produced to be compatible with your appliance and environment. This implies that they are rigorously evaluated factoring in those specifications to guarantee effective end product that will work and last as desired.

Additionally, you can manufacture custom cable assembly to include multiple functions, like cable, video, power and signal shielding into a single cable.

These custom features are designed for unrivalled performance and consume minimal space. This makes them perfect for specialized uses like in surveillance systems.

  • Save Money And Time

Though the initial custom cable and harness assembly cost may be high, you will save money ultimately due to better performance and durability. This is because there will be no need for frequent replacement of the cable assembly.

Most cable assembly manufacturers will as well offer extra services like laser marking in addition to design support. This could act as a major cost-saving factor.

How Do You Choose The Best Connector For Cable And Harness Assembly?

After selecting the cable assembly, it is turn of choosing the appropriate connector. During specification, opt for a connector version that conforms best with your application.

Types of Cable and Harness Assembly Connectors

Types of Cable and Harness Assembly Connectors

Furthermore, remember to factor in correct usage and environment. The easiest way to go about this is through working with a manufacturer that also produces connectors, with a broad scope of options.

A connector supplier having ability to design and assembly cable and harness assembly in-house is the best choice. This is due to the fact that they will offer you custom end-to-end service rising from several years of firsthand experience.

Which Are The Preferred Insulator Materials For Cable And Harness Assembly?

Apart from ensuring optimal organization, top-quality cable and harness assembly will give reliable protection and insulation for the conductors inside. There exist several options for long-lasting cable and harness assembly materials.

It is crucial to choose a material that is highly suitable for your needs. Some of the popular insulator materials for cable assembly include:

and it is crucial to choose one that is highly beneficial for your specifications.

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Cellular polyethylene
  • Semi-rigid polyvinyl chloride (SR-PVC)
  • Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM)
  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE/TPR)
  • Foam, or Cellular polyethylene
  • Both high- and low-density polyethylene (HPDE and LDPE)
  • Low-smoke plenum copolymers
  • Fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP)
  • Polyurethane (PU), as well as nylon and polyurethane blends
  • Tetrafluoroethylene (TFE)
  • Polypropylene (PP) and foam (cellular) polypropylene
  • ETFE Tefzel
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
  • Vinyl
  • Irradiated polyvinyl chloride (IRR/PVC)
  • PVDF Kynar
  • Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE)
  • ECTFE Halar

When choosing the right cable and harness assembly material, it is vital to consider environmental factors like moisture and operating temperature. Moisture presence, for example, will need a water-resistant material such as polyethylene to prevent conductors damage.

How Can Do You Reduce Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) In Cable And Harness Assembly?

EMI describes a disturbance produced by an exterior source that impacts an electrical circuitry. It can degenerate the circuit performance or halt it from working.

The three most popular techniques applied to lower the EMI effects in cable and harness assemblies include:

  • Utilizing shielded multiple conductor jacketed cable
  • twisting together hookup/lead-wires pairs
  • Sheathing the wire bundle within shielded tape

Which Are The Industry Quality Standards For Cable And Harness Assembly?

Though highest priority is given to your specifications of cable and harness assembly. However, IPC standards for minimal minimum requirements for cable assembly come into play in case you do not specify your needs.

The cable and harness assembly IPC standards differ depending on the classification of product under one of the 3 defined classes including:

  • Class 1: Common Electronic Products, where the efficiency of the end product is the primary requirement. This can consist of devices like toys and other gadgets that don’t play a vital role.
  • Class 2: Exclusive Service Electronic Devices, where stable and prolonged performance is required, yet undisturbed service is not crucial. There will be no major danger or failure as a result of breakdown of this device.
  • Class 3: High Power Electronic Devices, for gadgets that need continued and regular functioning and where you cannot tolerate instances of inoperativeness.

The conditions in which you use these types of cable and harness assembly might be “unusually harsh.” The category includes devices used in military or those incorporated in life-support systems.

Cable and Harness Assembly

Cable and Harness Assembly

How Do You Test Cable And Harness Assembly Functionality?

You can use a test board to evaluate the electrical functionality of cable and harness assembly. The test board is often pre-configured with the necessary electrical characteristics.

It is possible to individually or in multifold numbers test the completed cable assembly by plugging it into the testing board.

Which Are The Types Of Cable Ties Utilized To Bundle Cable And Harness Assemblies?

There exist two common kinds of cable ties employed to bundle cable and harness assemblies:

  • Standard cable ties
  • Push-mount cable ties

Cable ties provide a fast and durable means of bundling wires, yet push-mount ties give a second advantage. Their snap-lock property is utilized to firmly place and attach the cable and harness assembly within the final product.

Moreover, you can use the cable ties on both complex and simple cable assemblies. However, they do not give protection against abrasion.

Neither cable tie type is appropriate in case you will pull the cable and harness assembly through tight spaces. This is because the locking aspect might cause interferences.

Why Is Shielding Important In Cable And Harness Assembly?

Shielding refers to a conductive barrier that encloses the insulated wires within a cable and harness assembly. There are three types of cable shielding that you can apply:

  • Braid shielding
  • Foil shielding
  • Serve/spiral shielding

The shield helps in preventing noise released from adjacent electronics or cables from impeding signals within the cable and harness assembly. The emission of noise could be from nearby wires inside the cable assembly as well.

It equally hinders electromagnetic interference from diffusing from the cable assembly. The effectiveness of shielding is the capacity of the shield to stop EMI from radiating in/out of the assembly.

Foil blended with a Braided shield offers the best of the two techniques. It blends the shielding efficiency of foil shield and the braid shield’s flex life.

What Are The Quality Tests That Cable And Harness Assembly Should Undergo During Manufacturing?

The cable and harness assembly undergo a number of quality analysis tests before it is supplied to the market. The necessary test data include temperature performance, electrical parameters, chemical exposure resistance, and tolerances.

Testing is done during and after production operation. The cable and harness assembly are consistently assessed for parameters like overmolding, weld peel, pull and cable retention forces.

The other testing processes undertaken during and after cable assembly production include:

  • Connector separation force examination
  • Leak testing
  • Impact testing
  • Hi-pot testing
  • Mate and unmate sequence testing

Your manufacturer should also test the cable assembly to ensure that it will withstand the environmental elements where it will be used.

They can use prototypes to the product in real-life conditions to make sure the cable and harness assembly satisfy the design requirements.

Any modifications of the features of cable assembly can be performed before the manufacturing phase.

Which Industries Use Cable And Harness Assembly?

There are various different applications of cable and harness assembly. The applications span across several sectors and industries including:

  • Agricultural Industry

Most of the equipment and heavy machinery utilized in current agricultural sector sues cable and harness assemblies. The protective and organizational attribute of cable and harness assembly makes sure that heavy machinery like cultivators and tractors run efficiently.

  • Automotive Industry

Cable and harness assemblies are very vital in conducting electric signals and electricity across the vehicle.

Automobile Cable Assembly

Automobile Cable Assembly

  • Communications Systems

Global communication infrastructure and systems depend on wire and harness assembly to link the globe. Cable and harness assemblies play important role in powering the systems that make instant communication possible.

These systems range from satellite receivers, broadband networks, routers and modems.

  • Healthcare Sector

The integration of cable and harness assemblies in modern medical devices has made it possible to treat modern illnesses. Due to regular use of medial instruments, the versatility and durability o the cable assembly is key in maintaining their functionality.

  • Industrial And Manufacturing Sector

Cable and harness assemblies are commonly utilized in manufacturing and industrial control processes.

Typically, production systems and assembly line need complex wire and cable systems to ensure automation. You use cable and harness assemblies to organize these intricate connections of wires and cables to streamline the manufacturing process. This in turn helps in optimizing the much bigger manufacturing components.

Generally, cable and harness assembly is a common component of most, if not all electrical systems. Modern technology would not be as efficient without them.

Do You Manufacture Cable And Harness Assembly For Aerospace And Military Application?

Cable and harness assembly specifications differ by application and industry. For aerospace and military, there exist special considerations which you must factor in. This makes sure that the cable assembly meets or surpasses the application requirements.

Defense contracts require compliance with stringent traceability and quality control standards, as needed by several government agencies.

The following are vital US government and manufacturing standards which are relevant to military cable and harness assemblies:

  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
  • Qualified Products List (QPL)
  • Wire Harness Manufacturers Association (WHMA)
  • MIL-STD-454

In addition to complying with all applicable manufacturing standards, every application presents its unique challenges.

For instance, with military aircraft, space and weight constraints are particularly key to prevent effects on aircraft performance. You must also consider regular altitude changes and high vibrations.

Which Are Your Military Cable And Harness Assembly Capabilities?

Our cable and harness assemblies are designed, custom-built, and extensively evaluated to the greatest quality standards. They support a broad array of crucial military applications, comprising use in:

  • Military aircraft
  • Unmanned drones and vehicles
  • Military ground equipment
  • Tactical field command platforms
  • Marine systems
  • EMI-sensitive equipment

How Do You Avoid Cable And Harness Assembly Failure?

Failure of cable and harness assembly can be a devastating situation based on the application.

If cable assembly fails, it can result in an open or short circuit, which can be very frustrating. It can be extremely distressing if the cable and harness assembly supplies power to mission-crucial application.

There exist various reasons why cable and harness assembly fail, though it mostly narrows down to the initial design.

Here are the popular causes of cable and harness assembly failure:

  • Improper wire preparation
  • Poor harness layout
  • Faults during the soldering or crimping operation
  • Missing or incorrect hardware.

To prevent the possibly destructive malfunctions, it is critical to ensure the proper design and production of cable and harness assembly. You can implement this by working with a cable assembly manufacturer who observes the greatest quality standards.

What Is Your Lead Time for Cable And Harness Assembly Delivery?

Every cable and harness assembly manufacturer will give a differing lead time. The duration relies on a number of factors, including production requirements, material availability, and inspection time.

Typically, we can deliver your cable and harness assembly within 2 to 4 weeks.

For any questions or inquiry about cable and harness assembly, contact us now.

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