Category Archives: Industrial Controls Industry

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison – SJOW, SVO, and TPR

Your guide to choosing materials for your product’s coil cords.

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison
Coil Cord Design Product Comparison

A Coil Cord Design Product Comparison allows you to choose materials for your product when comparing coiled cords and the jacketing required for them. It’s likely that you encountered a string of acronyms and had to make sense of them to decide which one would be ideal for your product and its industrial needs. Interpreting these differences and figuring out which material will be ideal for your product and its cabling requirements can be a challenge. We understand how difficult making this decision can be, so we crafted this post to help you to decipher these differences and choose the right type of wiring for your product. Here we’ll cover some of the more common types of cabling, the industries that each are commonly used in, the best type of application for these wires, and more.

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison: SJOW

SJOW indicates that the cable is a junior service cable. This type of cable can withstand up to 300 volts.The jacket will be oil resistant, which is beneficial if the product will be in a harsh work environment. This type of custom coil cord is non-permeable and ideal for environments where corrosive oils could hinder the cable’s functionality. The jacketing is also weather resistant and is rated for indoor and outdoor use. This combination of features makes this jacketing ideal for custom cable that will be used with small-scale machinery. The product’s low weight combined with its resistance to abrasions makes it ideal for use with portable products.

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison: SVO

This is a lighter duty vacuum cable and, as the name suggests, it is often used in household appliances. Up to 300 volts can be transmitted through this type of cabling though, so it is capable of handling quite a bit of power. Despite this, the product is best suited for smaller household machinery that is likely to encounter light household use. These cables are typically made of neoprene, so they can be useful for products that will encounter a broad range of temperatures. The use of neoprene means that the product is fairly resistant to UV rays and can handle everyday use.

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison: TPR

This type of thermoplastic rubber is durable and heat resistant, making it perfect for a product that will have to work effectively in a variety of temperatures. This plastic can also be colored easily, making it great for products that require a certain aesthetic. This capability is also beneficial for wiring that needs to be clearly differentiated for installation purposes. As with most plastics, this product is durable and can withstand wear and tear while remaining flexible.

These are just a few of the options to discuss with your cable designer during the design and manufacturing process. Custom cabling is an extremely difficult product to manufacture as a result of the geometry, vast knowledge of manufacturing materials, understanding of cabling machinery, and more that all go into producing quality cable. Because of this level of complexity, it’s often best to have cords designed for your product rather than hoping that off-the-shelf options will be suitable. With wires, cable cords, coil cords, and other vital components of your product – it’s often best to have an experienced designer guide your team through the design, production, and manufacturing process.  

A Cable Manufacturer’s Confirmation of Quality

Cable Manufacturer

A Cable Manufacturer’s Confirmation of Quality

When looking for a manufacturer, every client searches for the one that can produce the highest quality product and researches every Cable Manufacturer’s Confirmation of Quality . But when it comes to cables and wiring, quality is not only important to the longevity of the product – it’s also a safety concern. When working with a manufacturer to produce wire harnesses or cable assemblies, it’s important to ask about the steps and assurances they take to produce safe, high-quality goods.

Cable Manufacturer's Confirmation of Quality
Cable Manufacturer’s Confirmation of Quality

Qualifications to Look for When Choosing a Wire Harness and Cable Assembly Manufacturer

It’s hard to know where to begin when looking for qualified cable assembly manufacturers. Fortunately though, there are several quality assurance groups and certifications that respected manufacturers associate themselves with. Asking manufacturers about their qualifications and the industry groups they belong to will help you determine which manufacturer will be able to meet your needs based on your product’s scale and intended market. Certifications and qualities to look for when choosing a qualified manufacturer include:

UL (Underwriters Laboratories)

Ask potential manufacturers if they are capable of producing products that will meet the various compliance standards put in place by UL. If you’re not familiar with UL, it’s an independent body that is known for testing, inspecting, verifying, and certifying that products meet various international safety standards. Working with a manufacturer who can meet the necessary requirements to certify your product will ensure that it’s safe. This will also help your product to succeed in competitive markets where this group’s seal of approval bears a great deal of weight.

ISO 9001:2008

This rather lengthy series of letters and numbers is actually a manufacturing certification issued by ISO. ISO is a globally recognized organization known for setting the standard for quality management. Manufacturers with this certification are trained in the best practices for ensuring that customers receive consistent, high-quality results. This system is focused on making the manufacturing process as efficient and streamlined as possible, which will ultimately save everyone time and money. Looking for a manufacturer that understands and utilizes these practices is a great way to guarantee that you’re working with a group capable of producing great results in an efficient manner.

Experience

Choosing a manufacturer with years of experience may be one of the best ways to ensure quality and ingenuity. Talk to potential manufacturers about the work that they have done in the past to get a sense of their niche and the scope of their work. Some questions to consider are:

  • Do they have experience in a similar industry?
  • How long have they been operating, and are they capable of producing custom parts?
  • Where does this company manufacture their goods and how do they source their materials?

These questions will give you a sense of the manufacturer’s organizational process and workflow. It’s important that your manufacturer’s scale and capabilities align with yours and the goals that you have for your product.

Testing Procedures for Cable Assemblies and Wire Harnesses

Aside from asking about credentials and experience, ask the manufacturer how they test their products. What protocols are in place to guarantee that their products are capable of withstanding expected conditions, voltages, and frequent use? Visually inspecting products and using prototypes are helpful steps that should be incorporated into the testing process. However, there are quite a few additional tests that can be used to gauge the quality of your wire harnesses and cable assemblies. Ask your manufacturer about the following testing options for your product:

Advanced Life Testing Labs

Simulating the everyday wear and tear that products undergo is one of the best ways to ensure that they meet your quality expectations. Your manufacturer should be able to design a series of tests to see how durable the final product actually is. This is particularly beneficial for new product designs, giving you a feel for the way that they function during everyday use.

Third Party Test Systems 

Bringing on a third party to test your product and ensure that it’s working exactly as planned is an effective way of testing it. Third party testers can detect and troubleshoot issues like shorts or mis-wires, if conductors were contaminated, and a variety of other issues. Having an independent party test products gives both the client and manufacturer peace of mind.

There are several steps that can be taken by the manufacturer to produce wire harnesses and cable assemblies capable of handling anything from office use to arctic conditions and polar bears. Meridian Cable possesses the certifications and experience necessary to produce quality, specially designed cords that meet your product’s unique needs.

What You Need to Know About Electric Cable Assemblies

What You Need to Know About Electric Cable Assemblies

Electronic Cable Assemblies

Electric cable assemblies are found on medical products, military equipment, industrial controls and machinery, and all kinds of consumer electronics. Electric cables can be defined as cables that transmit control signals or information, or that supply low current power typically below 5 amps. Often the power is DC by sometimes it can be AC, but in either case for electronic cable assemblies the power is low.

Electric cable assemblies are used on a wide variety of equipment they often experience wide ranges of movement, or flexing. Regardless of how much movement the assembly experiences it is critical that it be designed correctly to withstand any flexing. This is important for two reasons. One, a failed cable assembly means the data or power stops and this can have bad consequences. Two, a wrong design can increase costs beyond what the application truly needs.

Some applications require a lot of flexural capability. Examples are medical cables, military cables or industrial control cables where failure is not an option or the equipment runs quickly for long periods of time. Other applications don’t flex much at all. Examples are vending machine cables, security cables or box build wire harnesses that are installed one time and never move again.

Flexural requirements for wire assemblies can range from 1, in the case of wire harnesses, to hundreds of thousand for industrial cables. Some products need hi-flex cables to ensure they never fail, which is the case for medical cable assemblies and military cable assemblies.

How many flexes a cable can withstand is a direct function of the materials used in construction and the process employed to make the product.

In regards to electronic cable assemblies, there are really only 3 types of materials in any cable or wire, metal, plastic and fillers.

  • Typically the metal used is copper in some fashion. The copper can be bare, plated with another metal such as tin, or in some cases clad around another metal such as silver.
  • The plastic can be any combination of polyvinyl chloride, PVC, polyethylene, PE, polyurethane, PU, or thermoplastic elastomer, TPE.
  • Fillers are used to ensure the cable’s cross section is uniform in shape, whether round, oval or square a uniform cross section is critical.

At the heart of all cables and wires is metal, typically copper. Metal as we all know comes in many varieties and copper, for most applications, has the best attributes to make a cable or wire. As we also know most metals don’t like bending. This is especially true of larger pieces, which is why most electronic cable assemblies use stranded wires. This means to make a certain gauge conductor many smaller strands of copper are used. The amount of copper doesn’t change it is just spread across many conductors. As we all know small things bend easier than large things so a wire or cable made with a high strand count will have a long flex life than a wire or cable made with one conductor.

Around the conductors is most often plastic of some kind. We all experience and use plastic every day and the variety is quite amazing. From the rigid bodies of cell phones, to the semi flexible sides of a milk or water container, to soft pliability of a rubber band plastics used in custom cable assemblies come in even more varieties than copper. Some custom wire assemblies can accept very rigid constructions, but for custom electronic cable assemblies usually a high degree of flexing is required. For these applications it is best to use plastics capable of handling repeated bending. These can range from PVC all the way to PTFE.

Obviously with all these factors designing a custom electronic cable can range from simple to very complex, so finding a qualified cable and wire vendor is critical for many companies. Meridian Cable recently designed, manufactured and cycled a cable assembly to over 200,000 cycles without any failures. If you need custom electronic cable assemblies, Meridian Cable can design and manufacture just what you need. Contact us today for any custom cables needs or view some of our cable assembly designs.

Coiled Cable Life Testing

Coiled Cable Life Testing

coiled cords life testing

Coiled cables are used by many industries, medical, industrial controls, aerospace, public safety and telecommunications. Regardless of the industry coil cords are used because they extend. This ability to extend allows a coiled cord allows connections between devices where one device or the other moves. Having the ability to extend means coiled cables are much better solutions in dynamic applications than a fixed wire harness, which can fail easily in these environments.

Since coil cords are a dynamic component in any system testing their ability to withstand repeated extensions and retractions is critical. Meridian Cable, a leading coiled cable designer and manufacturer, has been designing, manufacturing and testing coiled cords for over 30 years. Recently we designed, manufactured and tested a 23 gauge, 7 conductor, polyurethane jacketed, medical coiled cord for repetitive extension fatigue.

The cable used to make the coiled cord tested was designed by Meridian Cable with the following elements.

  • The 23 gauge conductors were each composed of 21 strands of tinned copper with each strand having a diameter of 0.127mm.
  • Each wire was insulated with polypropylene and had an outside diameter of 1.28mm.
  • Finally 7 conductors of 23 gauge each were bundled together and polyurethane was extruded over the bundle.

The raw cable was then made into a coiled cable. To see a video of this process go to our coiled cable video at Meridian Cable’s YouTube channel. To make a coil cord the raw cable is wrapped around a metal rod, put in an oven for heat treating and then removed from the rod.

Once the coil cords were complete Meridian Cable tested them using our custom testing machine that extends and retracts the cable continuously. The electrical and mechanical integrity of each unit is monitored continuously too to determine the exact point of failure. Also, after a set number of cycles the coiled cable is removed from the test machine and its new state is measured and compared to its original mechanical specifications.

The testing process is quite simple actually, but does require custom equipment. The coiled cables are attached to a machine with two arms. One arm is fixed and the other moves up and down. Meridian Cable has several of these machines since we make coil cords with extension lengths from a few inches to over 30 feet! Each cable is connected to electrical test equipment to determine the exact moment any failure occurs. If a failure happens then the test is automatically stopped. The test equipment has a counter to count each cycle, so when that machine stops we know the precise number of extensions and retractions the coiled cable has experienced.

This medical coiled cable passed 400,000 cycles without failure! As you can imagine and medical coil cord or cable assembly must be able to function without failure, and this coil cord designed and manufactured by Meridian Cable exceeded specification by over 4 times! While wire harnesses are great, certain applications demand a cable that can extend and retract, without failure. And as our data is proving we make a coiled cable that can live up to a demanding environment.

Should you need a standard coiled cable or a custom design coil cord Meridian Cable can help. Meridian Cable has over 30 years of experience designing and manufacturing coil cords, coiled cables and cable assemblies. Designed – Built – Delivered, Meridian Cable is ready to help create a solution for you.

3 Reasons Why Coil Cords are Important in a Wireless World

3 Reasons Why Coil Cords are Important in a Wireless World

28-gauge 30-gauge coil cords

Coil cords are everywhere, from the back of a semi truck, to a camera’s flash strobe to the arcade games where you manipulate a claw to pick up a toy. Coil cords are used in a wide variety of industries too. Coiled cables are used by the medical industry, security industry and industrial control industry to name but a few. And in this age of everything wireless a good question is why would anyone use a coiled cord? So no matter what you call it, a coil cord, curly cord or coiled cable this article will give some reasons why a coil cord is still the right solution for many applications.

1) There are three main reasons to use a custom coil cord instead of wired solution. The first is power. While wireless solutions exist for many application when electrical power needs to be supplied it almost always is done with wire or cable. When something is wireless it means the product uses radio waves of some sort. Radios that we listen to are one example of just such a product. We could connect all radios with coil cords and send the signal along the cord, but that isn’t practical for long lengths of distances, so radio waves are used to send the signal. When radios waves are sent they move in all directions and don’t really care what they hit, and don’t react with anything but antennas “tuned” to their frequency.

Power is different. If power was transmitted like radios wave it would interact with anything metallic in its path. And if the metallic object was connected to something the power would transfer from the metal to the object. This would act as conductors, and could be very bad as in the extreme case of lightning, which is a very powerful wave of energy. So cables, and coil cords, are used as a part to transfer power for obvious safety reasons.

2) The second reason coiled cables are used instead of wireless is to avoid electronic noise. We live in a world filled with radio waves all around us. Often custom coil cords are used instead of radio waves because the items needing the signal would be damaged or impaired by other signals. A classic representation of this is again a radio, only the old AM kind. We have heard static and other stations fade in and out on radios. The static we hear is noise. If a coiled cord was used instead of radio waves, and the radio was shielded from outside waves, we wouldn’t hear static. However connecting all radios with coil cords is impractical, but in an operating room it isn’t. This is why cables and coil cords are often used in hospitals.

3) The third reason to use a coil cord instead of wireless signal is security. In the early days of cell phones, it wasn’t unusual to be talking with someone one moment and the next be speaking with someone else. This was because the cellular phone systems and their suppliers at that time were not as advanced as now. For most people this is not an issue, but if you are in the military it can be a matter of life or death. Having a coiled cable transmit signal or power ensures there will be no interruptions. Imagine a surgeon in the operation room losing power at a critical point in surgery. This is why where failure is not an option coiled cords are often used.

Wireless products are great, and they have made our lives much more mobile and easy. However as the above points show custom coil cords and cables are still very necessary. If you need power, a clean signal or security of transmission a coiled cable is a great solution. Meridian Cable manufactures and designs coil cords for any coiled cable need you have.