Category Archives: Telecommunications Industry

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.

Molded Cables: What You Need To Know

Molded Cables: The Facts

Molded cables are extremely important but are rarely noticed by those using them. According to Meridian Cable’s owner and resident molded cable assemblies expert Bud Kinzalow, though they can be small, these cables serve large and important purposes.

Molded cables derive their name from the fact that plastic is typically molded onto cable, and their purpose is to mechanically attach connectors to cables. Kinzalow notes that custom molded cables are created through a specialized process that allows for maximum protection of important parts. “First,” he says, “the connectors are attached to the cable and are subsequently placed into a mold. Next, the mold is closed and the plastic is injected into the cavity that surrounds the cable terminal or connector interface.”

What results from this process are quality molded cables that can stand the test of time. Kinzalow adds, “People use these protective molded cables every day when they grip the plastic on their headphone jacks, plug something into the computer or plug a power cable into the wall.” Created to protect the connection between wires and connectors, molded cables have become ubiquitous not only in the wire and cable industry but also in everyday life. People are able to charge their computers, listen to music and perform other everyday tasks thanks to molded cable assemblies.

Molded Cables: Typical Uses

One purpose that custom molded cables serve is protection of connectors and cables from the elements. According to Kinzalow, “In years past- and still sometimes today – many connections between wires and connectors were soldered, meaning they were welded at a low temperature and one metal was used to hold together two other dissimilar metals. The resulting soldered connection often needed to be covered so that water, other pieces of metal or environmental elements couldn’t damage or short the connection between the wire and the connector. The over-molding was likely created to provide this protection and ensure a longer lifespan for the soldered cable.”

These days, molded cables are rendered to fit varying types of connectors and serve many different purposes. These numerous everyday uses emphasize the importance, in today’s technologically advanced world, of molded cables. You can find molded cables in:

  • Stereos
  • Headphones
  • Computer chargers
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Power cords
  • USB cables
  • Many more everyday devices

Molded Cables: Who Makes Them?

Since molded cables have so many uses, there are numerous manufacturers that can create them to suit varying situations. These manufacturers may turn to custom cable assembly companies like Meridian Cable to design and create custom molded cables for them.

“Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) looking to design and sell molded cables should ensure that the vendor that they turn to is UL, ISO, FDA and even military cage code certified,” Kinzalow advises. For example, if an OEM turns to Meridian Cable to build custom molded cables, they will find that Kinzalow’s company has all the necessary certifications in addition to the design expertise to be able to create a design that is unique to each OEM’s performance specifications. “Also important,” he adds, “is having the manufacturing wherewithal to make the product that the customer needs, the logistics capability to deliver the molded cables anywhere in the world, and the integrity to follow through on what was promised.”

It is extremely important to trust the vendor who is designing and making the cables because, though these molded cables can be small and seemingly easy to make, there is in fact a great deal of work that goes into creating perfectly fitted and useful molded cables.

Molded Cables: Who To Contact

If you are an Original Equipment Manufacturer looking for custom molded cables, contact Meridian Cable (www.meridiancable.com) for service from a UL approved manufacturing facility and UL approved distributor of over 50 different types of wire and cable. Meridian Cable is also ISO 9001:2008, cage code and FDA certified. Call us at 1-866-866-0544 to speak with one of our designers and discuss how we can meet your performance specifications for custom molded cable assemblies or view some of our molded component designs.