One of the ways that we have begun to innovate how we create custom cable assemblies and wire harnesses is through the advancing technology in 3D printing. We’ve acquired three 3D printers and have been putting them to good use in creating unique cable solutions for our clients.
How exactly have we been using this new technology? That’s what we’ll explore and explain in this edition of Livewire News.
Let’s Talk About 3D Printing
Recently, Meridian has invested in the cutting-edge technology of 3D printing. Because this tech has revolutionized the manufacturing industry, we wanted to take advantage of its ample opportunities. Now that 3D printing is becoming a significant part of the industry, we are integrating it into our production processes.
As a 3D printer can create nearly any object from plastic or resin, it is an excellent opportunity for manufacturers like Meridian. The simple construction that 3D printers can produce lends itself to building components for cable assemblies and wire harnesses.
As the popularity and ability of this technology grow we plan on implementing 3D printing into more of our products over the next several years. In fact, we have already seen great success in using our different 3D printers to create all kinds of components.
The versatility that comes with 3D printing our components in-house means that we can build pieces like:
- Connector housings for cable assemblies
- Molds for wire harness components
- Outer shells for connectors
As technology and computer-aided designs (CAD) advance, we will be able to create more components in the future. The possibilities are virtually endless.
A Brief Look at our Printers
Because we have many different components we make with our 3D printers, we needed several types of printers. We have three different types of printers from world-renowned Formlabs. These printers are the best of the best and the industry standard for manufacturing firms. We knew that 3D printing would be the future of the industry, and we dove head first into the visionary opportunity.
Our three types of printers serve to create a myriad of parts, housings, fixtures, and other elements. We use each printer to the best of its ability to create everything from the tiniest of fixtures to the larger molds for wire harness components.
- Form 1 Printer: This printer uses the process of exposing the liquid resin to ultraviolet light to harden it. Within the printer, the staging floor raises and lowers the resin into the light to solidify the liquid into shape. We use this printer for small batches and prototypes.
- Form 2 Printer: The one that sets the industry standard. Our Form 2 printer uses the same process as the Form 1 but can provide more minute details. It also has the unique function of using different materials to print, which can come in handy for more complicated projects.
- Fuse 1 Printer: Our final printer is the big boy of 3D printing. This printer was designed to create larger batches of components, which is excellent once we move to the full-scale production of an order.
3D Printed Connector Housings
As one of the leading cable manufacturers in the world, Meridian Cable is dedicated to staying on the cutting edge of technology and improving our process. We believe that the best way to serve our clients is to explore new methods of innovation without compromising quality. Recently, we have begun to find that purchasing connector housing for cables has come with certain risks and costs.
Because of the issues we have experienced with purchasing connector housings, we decided to start printing our own via our in-house printers. Side note: the connector housing is the plastic component at the end of every cable that helps contain the connectors.
We have found that by printing our own components, the whole world of customization options is open to our customers. With the possibilities being virtually limitless, we can create the exact housing component that you need for your cable assembly project.
3D Printing Molds for Wire Harness Components
With the way we build wire harnesses using 3D-printed molds, we can quickly create unique and customizable elements. We use the Fuse 1 3D printer to make larger items and higher volume orders. The molds we build help streamline the production process and keep the entire process under Meridian’s close supervision.
As a leading producer of wire harnesses worldwide, Meridian Cable is committed to making our production process as simple and streamlined as possible. This trickles down to everything we make and every product we craft.
3D Printing Fixtures
We have begun 3D printing our smallest components, like fixtures. Fixtures are tiny plastic components that hold the wires in place. Using our Form 2 printer, we can create some of the smallest components of our cable assemblies and wire harnesses.
Benefits of 3D Printing Cable Components
There are a number of benefits to implementing 3D printing in cable production. Not only does this let Meridian have complete control over the entire production process, but it allows us to provide a stellar customer experience as well. As we continually progress the way we make cables, we learn more about the opportunities and benefits of 3D printing.
The main advantage of 3D printing is that we have complete control over the quality, design, and cost of materials. Some of the most noteworthy advantages we have experienced with
3D printing is as follows:
- Quality control: When we have our eye on the entire process, we can ensure that our connector housing components are top-notch. We take the quality of your cable assemblies very seriously and will do all that we can to ensure they are the best available. When we 3D print our own components like the connector housing, we gain the ability to carefully scrutinize each step of the process to provide the highest quality finished product for our customers.
- Cost-effectiveness: When we create connector housings in-house through 3D printing, it can be more cost-effective. When we purchase components for cable assemblies, there is the initial purchase cost, any applicable fees or taxes, plus shipping and handling. We can eliminate several of the additional costs.
When we make our production process more cost-effective, it not only benefits us but also our clients. We pass on the savings to our customers.
- Customization opportunities: We have been in the cable production industry for quite some time now, and if there is one thing we have learned, it’s that a cookie-cutter solution does not work for everyone. Whether you are in the medical field, military, or telecommunications, there are nearly infinite possibilities for cable assembly specifications.
By 3D printing the connector housings for custom cable assemblies, we can build the specific component you need for your project. Our on-campus engineers will work directly with our customers to design the ideal cable solution for their projects. Our printers can build components that are both highly detailed and completely customizable.
- Faster production times: A natural advantage of using our in-house 3D printers to create connector housing for cable assemblies is that we can produce them quickly. In opposition to purchasing these components, if we make them, it significantly decreases the total production time.
Not only can we have the finished product out the door more quickly when we print them, but we can also have the prototypes completed and tested in next to no time. This means that your cable solution can get through the rigorous testing phase as soon as possible to ensure a quick turnaround time.
- Discontinued components: One issue we have run into is that some connector housing pieces have been discontinued. When this happens, it can dramatically increase the difficulty of finding replacement cable assemblies. That’s where our 3D printing team comes in clutch. The near limitless possibilities that 3D printing affords us means that we create components that have been discontinued.
In an ideal world, the components you need for your cable solutions will always be available. With our innovative adoption of 3D printing technology, we have made that dream a reality. Our team can either create the components that are no longer available or design a solution that will work with your equipment.
Technological advances have made it possible to bring back connector housings that were previously unavailable. This opens up a new world of opportunities to design and build custom cable solutions for our customers.
- Streamlined production: Because we are able to keep every step in the production process in our facilities, we can simplify the production process. Eliminating the extra steps of production that come with purchasing components means that your order goes through the process as quickly as possible.
Using Meridian for Custom Cable Solutions
As 3D printing technology evolves, you can trust that we will be at the forefront of using it to create custom cable assemblies and wire harnesses for many different industries. If you have a project in mind, contact our team to learn how to get started. Let us put our cutting-edge tech to work for your business.