The finest details are often the most important. A lot goes into crafting top-notch quality cables, and Meridian Cable is committed to providing excellent custom cable solutions for nearly every industry. Over the last several decades, we have continuously improved our process to build reliable, high-capacity, and long-lasting custom cable assemblies.
With our experience building cable solutions for a wide range of industries, we have the inside knowledge to help with any cable project you may need. We’ve created this guide as a starting point for building a custom cable solution for your business. Here’s what you’ll need to know to get started on your own custom cable assembly.
Extruding Conductors: Where it All Begins
The first step in building custom cable assemblies is to extrude the conductors. This process involves transforming raw metals into long thin strands by pulling and spirling them into wires. This creates the conductors which transfer electricity, data, and/or signal between connections. These conductors are at the heart of every custom cable assembly.
When extruding the conductors, precision and accuracy are essential. The exact size of the conductor will determine its capabilities and functionality. Depending on your industry and the purpose of your equipment, you will need to select the correct conductor size. Getting this part of the process wrong can lead to equipment malfunctions or potential disasters.
We offer a wide range of conductor sizes to build precisely what you need. Our team of in-house cable engineers can help you determine the precise conductor size your custom cable assembly needs and incorporate it into your design. We create cable solutions down to the most exacting details to bring you the quality our clients have come to expect from Meridian.
Making it Easy on Yourself: Custom Conductor Color
As is the case with most of the custom cable assemblies we create, it is common to have multiple conductors in one assembly. Keeping the specific conductors organized with custom conductor colors will save you the frustration of checking each individual connection. By color-coding your custom cable solution, you can stay organized and efficient as you connect your equipment.
With over 25 custom conductor colors, striping, and spirling to select from, you can have a unique conductor color for each connection in your assembly. Ensuring the correct connection is vital no matter what equipment you are using. If you are in the medical field or military, it is crucial to have the proper connection with each conductor. By maintaining the organization and efficiency of your custom cable assembly, you can ensure the sensitive data your equipment processes is secure and transferred correctly.
Increasing Efficiency with Custom Stranding
Stranding a cable is the process of spiraling multiple wires together to form a multi-conductor cable. This increases the cable’s efficiency in transferring data and processing electricity. Combining multiple wires allows the cable to function more rapidly than a single wire. Here at Meridian, we can create custom stranding sizes and use a range of metals to optimize functionality.
In addition to improving efficiency, stranding a conductor will give the cable increased flexibility and maneuverability. We offer custom stranding sizes from 0.002” to 0.023”.
Better Shape Up: Selecting Fillers and Insulation
After extruding the proper conductor size, selecting the color, and stranding, the next step is to add filler and insulation. These are essential components of every custom cable assembly and a key part of the production process. The insulation in your cable has a two-fold purpose: it protects the conductor from outside elements and helps contain the electronic pulses.
As our cable assemblies are often used to transfer highly sensitive data, it is important that the electricity is well contained in the cable. Insulation aids in keeping the electricity where it should be without compromising its integrity. Depending on the equipment you are using, we can create your insulation from a variety of materials, such as
- Natural rubber
While each of these will essentially provide the same function, there are slight differences that can work better for different equipment.
Adding filler to your cable is what gives it a uniform appearance. While it does not function in the same way as the insulation, filler still plays an essential role in a custom cable assembly. Without the filler, the cable would have an odd and lumpy shape. We can use materials like cotton, nylon, kevlar, PVC, or fleece as a filler for your cables.
Protecting Your Data with Shielding and Wrapping
One of the worst obstacles data faces is electromagnetic interference (EMI) from increased electronic activity. EMI in a noisy environment can cause the data to be corrupted or lost entirely while transferring between connections. In every industry, protecting your data from EMI is of the utmost importance. That’s where shielding comes in.
Adding shielding to a custom cable assembly can help decrease the chances of EMI damaging or destroying your data. A shield serves two principal functions; reflecting energy away from the conductor and grounding energy to keep it from interfering with the cable. While nearly any industry can benefit from the protection of shielded cable assemblies, it is especially important in areas that involve highly sensitive data, like the medical field, military, or telecommunications.
Meridian offers several options for shielding solutions for custom cable assemblies. When we build a cable solution for your business, you select from any of the following options:
- Foil shielding: Foil shielding is among the most effective protection options for cable assemblies. Using this method, the conductor and insulation are entirely covered in a metallic material in a thin spiral. Foiling is typically done with aluminum foil or very thin copper. Foiling is often the preferred choice because it completely envelops the conductor and is the most efficient at defending against EMI.
- Braided shielding: Braided shielding is another popular method of protecting cable assemblies that involves weaving metallic materials around the conductor and insulation. A braided shield is more durable and weighty than a foil shield. While it is still effective as cable protection, a braided shield does not cover the conductor entirely. This could potentially allow EMI to interact with your data. However, the chances of damaging your data are minimal with a braided shield.
- Combination shielding: The third option combines foil shielding and braided shielding to cover the conductor and insulation thoroughly. This method gives the cable flexibility and complete coverage. Combination shielding is best suited for environments that have elevated electronic noise, such as medical facilities, server rooms, or industrial switchboards.
- Spiral shielding: The last option we offer is spiral shielding. The protective metal is coiled around the conductor and insulation to block high-frequency EMI. This type of shielding is typically used for sound equipment or musical instruments.
Jackets: Rounding Off the Cable Assembly
The final step in the process of building a custom cable assembly is to add the jacket. The jacket on a cable is the outermost defense against the elements and helps to contain the inner components of the cable. We can make the jacket from a range of materials to best fit your equipment and environment. Whether you need moisture protection, increased flexibility, or durability, we can add the ideal jacket for your custom cable assembly.
Adding this final element to your custom cable solution completes the design process. Once the design is complete, our team will move on to the next phase of production, which is prototyping and testing.
Working with Meridian’s Engineering Team
One of the benefits of working with Meridian Cable for your custom cable assembly is that you get professional help from our in-house cable engineers. Our team has some of the most brilliant minds in the industry and can walk you through every step of the process. We have designed custom cable assemblies for every sector imaginable and know what it takes to build quality, reliable cables. The engineers at Meridian have a combined experience of multiple decades under their belts and are capable of creating any cable solution.
With our experience and impeccable design team, we are sure to create a cable solution that works for you. If you need help determining what you need, we can help you choose the proper elements in your custom cable assembly. Leave it to our team, and we will have your design and cable ready before you know it.
Since 1994, Meridian Cable has been a leading provider of dependable cable solutions. Time and time again, our products have proven themselves in a wide range of industries. We take quality seriously and strive to build custom cable solutions that our clients can depend on for years to come. When a cable assembly is ready for mass production, we put it through multifaceted tests and assessments to ensure functionality and reliability.
We know how important our cable solutions are to our clients. That’s why we do everything we can to ensure their quality and longevity. If you are ready to work with our team to create a custom cable assembly, contact us today to get a quote.