Author Archives: Chris Olberding

Conductor Gauges for Custom Design Cables

Conductor Gauges for Custom Design Cables

The right gauge conductors are key to making your custom design cables as effective as possible.

It’s no secret that creating custom design cables is the best way to ensure your product or equipment meets all of your specifications. Because the conductor gauge directly affects the flow of electricity or signal through the final product, the choice you make is extremely important. Choosing the wrong gauge can result in a less efficient cable that might lead to unnecessary costs. A reputable custom cable manufacturer will help you make the right choice and get the most successful outcome.

Cable Conductor Types

There are two main types of wire: solid and stranded. Solid conductors are a single, solid strand, usually made of copper. Stranded conductors are made up of smaller strands of copper that are twisted together to create a larger conductor. The main difference is that a stranded conductor is better able to withstand bending than a solid conductor. Additionally, solid conductors are less expensive to produce than stranded.

Why Size Counts with Custom Design Cables

custom design cable

For both types, the overall size of the conductor affects the flow of signal and electricity. Signal or electricity flows through larger gauge conductors more easily than it does smaller gauges. We refer to how easily the signal flows through the conductor as resistance. A wire with a conductor gauge that is too small is not providing the right amount of signal to the equipment it is powering. This could result in the equipment not functioning as it should. A too-small conductor gauge could also cause the wire to overheat, which may cause it to fail.

So…Larger Gauges Are Better?

While working with a larger conductor gauge seems like the safest bet, it’s not always the best option for your project. Larger gauges are able to accommodate more current, but they can be more expensive than all but the smallest gauges. In the end, the best gauge for your project is the one that closely matches your equipment specifications. Having an in-depth discussion with your cable manufacturer’s design team about the needs of your product is the most effective way to make sure you end up with a custom cable that functions as expected.

Gauge & Wire Length

When determining the gauge of conductors for custom design cables, the circumference isn’t the only consideration. The final length of the wire also affects the amount of resistance the current experiences. The longer the wire the more resistance there is, which weakens the signal. For longer cables, it may be necessary to use a larger gauge to counteract the resistance caused by the length.

Conclusion

Choosing the right gauge can be a complex process that includes a thorough understanding of the final cable’s uses, length, voltage, and signal type, as well as many other considerations. Working with a cable manufacturer you trust can make all the difference to the success of the final product. The Meridian Cable team has extensive experience with a wide range of custom cable design projects. When you are ready to discuss your next custom cable, please contact us. We look forward to talking with you.      


5 Benefits of Custom Cable Assemblies

5 Benefits of Custom Cable Assemblies

Custom cable assemblies offer many benefits over off-the-shelf products…including cost.

It’s possible there’s a standard cable that matches the needs of your equipment perfectly. However, it’s much more likely that you will have to make do with something that is almost right, which can lead to technical issues that can cause bigger problems down the road. This is especially true when your project’s requirements are specialized or complicated. While an off-the-shelf cable might seem like a quick and cheap option, custom cable assemblies have many advantages…and cost is one of them.

Cost Saving

Your first impression may be that custom cable assemblies are automatically more expensive than standard cables. This is not always the case. While a custom solution might be more expensive up front, better performance and longevity can save money because you don’t need to replace the assembly as often.

Time Saving

At first glance, you might think it’s faster to pick a cable up off the shelf and simply connect it to your equipment. Unfortunately, it’s usually not that easy. In many cases, it’s a struggle to make off-the-shelf cables work for any but the most simple applications. Trying to retrofit standard cables takes time and money that could have been saved by working with a manufacturer to create a custom cable assembly.

Better Performance

This one seems obvious, but custom cable assemblies are designed to work with your equipment and environment in mind. This means that they can not only take all of your requirements into account, but also be extensively tested with those requirements in mind to ensure a successful finished product. Because of this, you get a cable assembly that will function and last as expected.

Customized Appearance

custom cable assemblies

With an off-the-shelf cable, what you see is what you get. When producing custom cables, you are able to specify color, texture, and whether you need any type of labeling. This allows you to brand the cables or choose a color that makes it easier to identify. Color coding not only creates a more professional appearance, but also makes installation easier and repairs safer.

Availability

We’ve covered some great benefits that custom cable assemblies offer over standard cables, but the most significant is that you have a product that does what you want it to do. There are applications that are too specific or complex to be adequately served by an off-the-shelf cable, but with a custom product the options are nearly limitless.

Conclusion

There is certainly a time and place to use standard cables. However, there are also circumstances that call for a more custom option. With custom cable assemblies, you can be sure that your solution will meet the needs of your equipment and function how you expect. Working with a reputable, experienced cable manufacturer like Meridian Cable gives you even more peace of mind that you will get the performance you need. When you are ready to discuss your next custom cable project, don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to talking with you. 

The Quality Control Process of a Cable Assembly Manufacturer

The Quality Control Process of a Cable Assembly Manufacturer

A reputable cable assembly manufacturer ensures reliable products with a solid quality control process.

The quality and reliability of the wires and cables a cable assembly manufacturer produces is often of paramount importance. This is especially true of cables and wires designed for military or medical applications, where the safety and longevity of the product has serious consequences. By working with a cable assembly manufacturer that has a thorough quality control process, you can rest assured that your finished cable is safe and functions properly.

Cable Assembly Manufacturer Qualifications

When selecting a cable assembly manufacturer, one of the first things you should look for is what certifications they hold. While there’s no certification that’s right for every manufacturer, it’s important that a manufacturer has the necessary qualifications to meet the needs of your project’s scale and intended market.

ISO 9001:2015

ISO is an organization that sets standards for quality management that focuses on training manufacturers how to provide their customers with consistent, high-quality results. A manufacturer with an ISO certification has an efficient manufacturing process that will ultimately save you time and money while still producing a reliable product.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL)

While the ISO certification indicates a company has an efficient manufacturing process, the UL certification focuses on safety. As a globally recognized independent organization, UL is known for inspecting, testing, verifying, and certifying that specific products meet international safety standards.

Industry Experience

Working with a cable assembly manufacturer that has extensive experience in your industry or with projects similar to yours can really make a difference when you want to produce a reliable, high-quality product. Because they have a better understanding of industry requirements and expectations, they are able to ensure quality and come up with inventive solutions to common issues your type of project may face.

Thorough Testing

No quality control process is complete without comprehensive testing procedures. Don’t be afraid to ask your cable assembly manufacturer about their testing protocols. They should be willing and able to walk you through the types of testing they do as well as any additional testing that may be appropriate for your project.

Visual Inspections

cable assembly manufacturer wires

The first and most basic type of testing is the visual inspection. A visual inspection can be helpful and shouldn’t be overlooked. However, it’s scope is fairly limited, and it shouldn’t be the only type of testing performed.

Prototypes

Creating a prototype is a great way to ensure the finished product functions as expected. A cable assembly manufacturer is able to use a prototype to identify major design flaws and correct them before they become costly.

Accelerated Life Testing

Accelerated life testing simulates the normal types of wear and tear that happens to a product when in normal use. A manufacturer is able to design a series of tests to determine how resistant the product is to stress, strain, temperatures, pressure, voltage, vibration, and many other factors.

Third Party Testing

Sometimes the most effective way to properly test a product is to bring in a third party. An independent tester can often bring a fresh set of eyes to the quality control process. A reputable cable assembly manufacturer should be open to this type of testing when appropriate.

Conclusion

A custom cable assembly that falls short of requirements or fails before expected can be a costly or even dangerous mistake. Ensuring a reliable, high-quality finished product relies on working with a cable assembly manufacturer that has a strong quality control process in place. Meridian Cable has the necessary experience and qualifications to produce wires and cables that perform as expected. When you’re ready to discuss your next project, contact us. We look forward to talking with you.


Wire Harness 101 with a Wire & Cable Manufacturer

Wire Harness 101 with a Wire & Cable Manufacturer

Wire harnesses can be tricky without the help of an experienced wire and cable manufacturer.

At its most basic, a wire harness is an effective way to organize wires or cables by grouping or bundling them together in order to transmit signal or electrical power. They can be used in almost any application that requires multiple wires or cables. While many of these harnesses are complex with multiple wires and components, they don’t have to be. A wire and cable manufacturer is able to design and produce a wide variety of complex or simple wire harnesses that are truly tailored to the needs of your project.

Benefits of Wire Harnesses

Complex equipment and machinery often require a great deal of wiring to function. Running each and every one of these wires separately can be time consuming. Additionally, that many wires can be bulky if there are space constraints, and keeping multiple wires organized and running in the right direction can be challenging. Integrating the component cables and wires into a single harness allows for faster, easier installation that doesn’t take up more valuable space than necessary.

However, there’s more to it than just a neat and tidy wiring system. In some cases, it is extremely important to prevent certain wires from coming into contact. Designing a wire harness instead of running individual wires allows a wire and cable manufacturer to better protect the conductors from environmental issues like vibration, moisture, heat, cold, and abrasion. Bundled wires can also be further protected from shorts and electrical fires by using non-flexing or flame retardant jacketing materials.

Manual Assembly

Believe it or not, a wire harness is more efficiently manufactured by hand. There are steps during the pre-production stage that can be automated, but the assembly process can be complex. Depending on the needs of the project, production can include multiple steps, such as:wire harness

  • Taping Breakouts
  • Binding Components with Tape, Cable Ties, or Clamps
  • Conducting Multiple Crimps
  • Routing Wires through Sleeves

This makes manual assembly more economical, especially when working in small batches. The manual assembly process also means wire harnesses can take a little longer to produce than individual wires. It’s vital to work with an experienced wire and cable manufacturer that understands how to keep the production process on schedule.

Testing Performed by a Wire & Cable Manufacturer

No reputable wire and cable manufacturer would deliver a wire harness that has not been fully tested. However, the sheer number of cable and wire components makes this process a little more involved than testing individual wires. That’s where a pre-programmed test board comes in. By programming the test board with the required electrical characteristics for the project, we are able to plug in the finished wire harness and test the components individually or in groups as needed making for a safer, more stable final product.

Conclusion

An experienced wire and cable manufacturer is a valuable partner when you need a well-designed wire harness. Not only are they able to design a harness that meets all of the requirements of your equipment, but they are also knowledgeable enough to understand the time and budgetary challenges involved in producing a complex solution. When you’re ready to start your next project, contact the team at Meridian Cable. We look forward to talking with you.

Ask a Cable Assemblies Manufacturer: Solid vs. Stranded Cable

Ask a Cable Assemblies Manufacturer: Solid vs. Stranded Cable

Choosing between solid and stranded conductors is one of the first decisions made in a custom cable design.

There are two main choices a cable assemblies manufacturer has for the conductor when designing a custom cable: solid and stranded. The most basic difference is obvious when you peel back the jacketing and look at the conductors. A solid conductor is made of one solid wire that is usually made of a single metal like copper. A stranded cable is made with many small wires (or strands) that are bundled together to create a larger conductor. There are pros and cons to using each type of conductor. We’ve listed a few of those below.

Why would a cable assemblies manufacturer use a solid conductor in my custom cable?

Solid conductors are simpler to produce which can translate to a more affordable custom cable. They are also more resistant to corrosion, which makes them more durable than stranded cables in certain conditions. This means they can be used in some applications that require heavy duty wires. In addition, these conductors can be smaller than stranded versions without compromising the ability to carry current. Their larger wire diameters mean they have a lower DC resistance and lower susceptibility to the effects of high frequencies. Because of this, they support higher data rates and longer distance transmissions than stranded cables.

Are there any drawbacks?

Solid cables are less flexible, which makes them more likely to fail if they are moved or bent frequently. This means they are not a good choice for applications where they will be required to bend or move often.

What are the benefits of a stranded cable?

One of the most obvious benefits of a stranded cable is that it’s more flexible than the solid counterpart. Any stresses that come from being bent or twisted are distributed to all of the strands. This makes a stranded conductor a good choice for cables that are frequently moved, bent, or twisted because they tend to be more resistant to damage and failure in these situations than solid conductors.

If stranded cables are more durable, why not use them for everything?

Cables with stranded conductors are not the best choice for every application. It’s important to work with your cable assemblies manufacturer to make sure the right components are used in your custom cable. For example, stranded conductors are more costly to produce so they may not be the right choice for your budget. However, in certain situations, their flexibility can make them a more economical choice in the long run because they will not have to be replaced as often. They can also be more susceptible to corrosion. So, it’s important to look at all the pros and cons to make the right decision.

Conclusion

There are many choices a cable assemblies manufacturer makes when designing a custom cable. Because the conductor is the component that actually carries the current or signal, it’s important to make the right choice regarding type and materials. You can do your part by being very clear about all of the requirements of your equipment as well as the environment where the cable will be functioning. Armed with this information, your cable assemblies manufacturer will be able to make the best choices for your project. When you’re ready to discuss your next custom cable, contact the team at Meridian Cable. We look forward to talking with you.

 

Talking Materials with a Coil Cord Manufacturer

Talking Materials with a Coil Cord Manufacturer

The right materials can make or break the function of a custom coil cord.

A coil cord manufacturer does more to create a custom coil cord than just curl a straight cord into a spiral. Because they are meant to extend and retract, materials must be somewhat flexible in addition to the technical requirements dictated by the application. With the number of materials available, it’s difficult to choose the right one. Working with a cable assembly manufacturer can help you take the guesswork out of selecting materials that meet the needs of your project.

Conductors Used by a Coil Cord Manufacturer

At its simplest, a custom coil cord has the same basic structure as a standard straight cord: a conductor and some form of insulation and jacketing. The conductors are mostly metals like copper, tinned copper, and – in very special cases – alloys or composites can be used. However, unless you’re launching a satellite, running cable for the power grid, or implanting a gizmo into a human body, basic copper is what will be used.

Copper conductors (or stranding) start life as a rock. Then with the help of a lot of energy, they end up as a rod about the size of a Sharpie®, which is way too big for a coil cord. The majority of copper falls into two groups: those that contain oxygen and those that don’t. Copper with oxygen has improved abrasion and corrosion resistance so it is mostly used in power distribution and transmission. Copper without oxygen is more resistant to embrittlement which can occur when the Sharpie® is reduced to the size of a human hair. So oxygen-free copper is used extensively in cables that need to flex. Coil cords flex a lot, so most conductors or stranding used in them are made from oxygen-free copper. Copper with oxygen can be used to make coil cords, but, even though it’s lower in cost, Meridian will never use it because it fails much more quickly.

Once the copper stranding is the right size, the next step is to decide if it should be plated or not. Below are some choices for plating.

Bare Copper Conductors copper conductors

Copper without any type of plating is an inexpensive conductor material that can be a good choice if time and cost are considerations. However, this type of conductor is susceptible to corrosion and oxidation, which can hinder the connectivity. Since it is not as likely to corrode or oxidize, plated bare copper is more flexible. However, this type of copper is also harder to process after being made into a wire. Since it is bare, and oxygen is almost everywhere on Earth, this type of conductor oxidizes. An oxide layer on copper greatly reduces its conductivity and ability to bond with solder. So while bare copper can be used, and is more flexible, its service life is much shorter. If cost overrides quality/longevity in your application, then bare copper is an option, but the part will have a much shorter life, and that “life” starts the moment it leaves the wire drawing facility.

Plated/Coated Copper Conductors

Coating a copper conductor with a thin layer of “stuff” can offer additional benefits. However, it is also more expensive since it adds an extra step and more material is used. The most common coating on copper stranding is tin. This means the vast majority of copper conductors used in the electronics/telecommunications industry are tinned. Adding tin on top of the copper increases stiffness slightly but vastly improves its resistance to oxidation and corrosion. This improves the life of the resulting conductor greatly and makes processing much easier. The additional protection is especially useful in cables that are used near saltwater or are immediately exposed to air and not covered by some material.

Copper can be coated with other metals besides tin. For serious applications these coatings can be either silver or gold among others. Obviously these can add significant cost, but for some applications they are mandatory. Many medical, aerospace and military applications must have stranding with these types of plating since failure is not an option and extremely long life is required.

Aluminum Alloy Conductors

Aluminum alloys only have about 61% of the conductivity of copper, but they are less expensive and significantly lighter. In general, aluminum has greater endurance fatigue (ability to be bent back and forth without breaking) than copper. So based on its great fatigue resistance, one would think it would be a great choice for a coil cord. However, as noted, aluminum is much less conductive than copper. This is okay if you’re pumping kilowatts of power across a grid, but in most applications, this decrease in conductivity means too much loss of signal or power to make it a good choice for most coil cords.

Coil Cord Jacketing Material

Cable jacketing in a coil cord has two key roles: protection and memory. The jacketing protects the conductors from moisture, flame, chemicals, and other environmental factors. It’s also what gives a coil cord memory and makes it act like a spring. Copper is a “lazy” metal, meaning unlike spring metals, it is perfectly happy to stay where it’s put once bent. So, the jacketing is used to offset the copper’s desire to stay put. 

Coil cords have jacketing on the individual inner conductors and then an outer jacketing that covers all of those the inner conductors together. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), and polyethylene (PE) are all good options for inner jacketing material. While PP and PE are a little more expensive, they allow conductors more movement which enhances the cord’s retractability. For coil cords that require high retracting performance, the jacketing on the inner conductors can be polyurethane (PU), thermoplastic rubber (TPR), or thermoplastic elastomer (TPE).

The outer jacket of a coil cord is a little more important since it is the first line of defense from environmental hazards and adds the most to the coil cord’s ability to extend/retract over many cycles. Materials commonly used by coil cable manufacturers include high-elastic PVC, PU, TPR, and (TPE). Each of these has strengths and weaknesses that should be evaluated carefully for the best performance.

Conclusion

A reputable coil cable manufacturer is an indispensable resource when choosing materials for your custom coil cable solution. Make sure you communicate all the requirements for the cable as well as any time or budgetary constraints. The design team should be able to make recommendations for materials that meet your needs while taking advantage of the unique properties of coil cords.

When you’re ready to discuss your next custom coil cord project, contact the team at Meridian Cable Assemblies. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Discussing Filler Materials with Your Cable Assembly Manufacturer

Discussing Filler Materials with Your Cable Assembly Manufacturer

Your choice of filler materials can affect the sequence of components, the strength, and even the appearance of your custom cable.

When meeting with a cable assembly manufacturer, filler materials might not be at the top of your list of subject to discuss. However, filler material is an important component of your finished custom cable and should receive serious consideration. While filler material can certainly be used to fill gaps and create a better appearance, there are other practical uses like enhancing the strength of the cable and/or reducing friction.

Appearance Counts with a Cable Assembly Manufacturerfiller material used by cable assembly manufacturer

In many cases, designing a custom cable assembly requires engineers to use multiple wires with different diameters. While it is possible to leave spaces between the larger wires to accommodate smaller wires, it is still sometimes necessary to use fillers to maintain the round shape of the cable. Maintaining the shape produces a more professional appearance while providing support for outer layers of the cable. Depending on the requirements of the finished cable, these filler materials can be foams, tapes, or even spare wires that are not carrying current.

Filler tapes are often used to bundle wires to maintain shape, but they also prevent tangling and are specifically good for expelling air pockets that are trapped between the wires. They can even be used to group specific wires inside the cable, which can help in processing and ultimately make it easier to attach components.

Filler Materials for Stronger Custom Cables

The appropriate filler material is one of several components that must be taken into consideration when a client requires more strength in their custom cable. Depending on the level of strength needed, there are a wide range of filler materials that can be used — including aramid fiber and steel.

Aramid fiber is a type of synthetic fiber that is strong, flexible, and resists abrasion. It can be used in a wide variety of applications, including clothing and lightweight protective armor (Kevlar™ is a commonly known commercial brand). Aramid fiber also offers additional heat resistance, which may be appropriate for some applications.

Reduce Friction with the Right Filler

Over time, friction can degrade cables. The good news is that there are several steps a custom cable manufacturer can take to reduce friction and extend the life of the cable. One of those steps is to choose the appropriate binder material.

PTFE tape is a great choice for custom cables when friction and heat are concerns. PTFE (or polytetrafluoroethelene) is resistant to heat and friction, and is also a good insulator due to excellent dielectric properties. You may have heard of PTFE referred to under the brand-name Teflon™.

Conclusion

While not every cable requires them, a cable assembly manufacturer can use filler materials to add strength, support, and friction resistance to custom cables. Their use allows the cable to function as effectively as possible while helping to protect it from environmental conditions. Work closely with your cable assembly manufacturer so they are able to select filler materials that fulfill the technical requirements of your equipment while fitting your budget. When you’re ready to talk about your next custom cable, contact the team at Meridian Cable. We look forward to discussing your project.

Determining Custom Coil Cord Quality

Determining Custom Coil Cord Quality

There are a few things you can ask about to ensure your custom coil cord has the quality you require.

Many manufacturers are able to produce a custom coil cord to a wide variety of specifications. However, it can be difficult to tell you have a quality product with a quick visual inspection. Each element, from the conductor to the jacketing material, plays a critical role in the performance of the finished product. In addition, some cable manufacturers may attempt to offer a more attractive bid or increase their profits by cutting corners. To make sure you are paying for a quality custom coil cord there are a few things you should be aware of.

The Right Custom Coil Cord Materials

With any type of custom cord, choosing the highest quality materials for the job is key to an application that successfully meets your requirements. But even more important is choosing material that is right for each component.

Coil cords have many of the same requirements as other types of custom cords when it comes to voltage, shielding, and durability. However, the fact that they are designed to extend and retract means that there are materials that would be perfectly acceptable in a standard cord that are not suitable for these applications. For example, braided copper shielding would not be a good choice for a custom coil cord project due to the fact that it would adversely affect the cord’s retractile properties.  Make sure you are asking questions about the materials chosen by the design team, and do your research.

Designing a Coil for Performanceblack custom coil cord

The diameter of a custom coil cord is an extremely important consideration for the performance of the finished product. The size of the coil, specifically the outer diameter size, directly affects the cord’s extended length. In addition, a coil cord with a larger outer diameter is more likely to be able to carry a wider array of signals as well as higher voltages. The inside diameter affects the spring action of the cord. A smaller inside diameter has more “spring,” and a larger inside diameter has less.

Because these physical features of the cord have real consequences when it comes to performance, the quality of the cord depends on how well they match your specifications. Have in-depth conversations with your cable manufacturer, so they know what you need and are able to explain their choices clearly.

Conclusion

Custom coil cords can be the perfect solution for equipment that requires a cable that stretches, retracts, bends, and twists without putting additional stress on the wire. They are also able to carry electricity, data, and signal. Because of their versatility and durability, they can be good options for applications that are too rough or space-constrained for non-coiled cords.

The team at Meridian Cable has extensive experience designing and producing custom coil cords that are tailored to our clients’ specific needs and equipment. If you’re ready to talk about your coil cord project, contact us today. We look forward to talking with you.

Wire and Cable Manufacturers: The Design & Manufacturing Process

Wire and Cable Manufacturers: The Design & Manufacturing Process

Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the wire harnesses that are literally all around them.

In many cases, these wire harnesses are powering or carrying information to equipment we use every day at home or at our jobs. Since they tend to be hidden away, we often don’t realize how important the design and manufacturing process is to the proper function and safety of our equipment. Luckily, reputable wire and cable manufacturers take their processes very seriously.

At its most simple, a wire harness is a group of wires or cables that have been covered by an exterior sheath. In many cases, they also have their own coverings. In general, they are used to organize a wiring system as opposed to providing protection from factors that could cause damage to the wires.

Wire Harness Design

The first step to manufacturing a wire harness is to identify the problem it is meant to address. Each piece of equipment has certain electrical and geometric requirements. For example, wire and cable manufacturers may be required to design a wire harness that fits into a limited space and meets certain electrical safety requirements. At Meridian Cable, we like to gather as much information as possible at the beginning of the process to ensure the finished harness is tailored perfectly to each piece of equipment.

Assembly Process of Wire and Cable Harness Manufacturers

Once our engineers have a design in hand, we gather the components and begin cutting the wires to the appropriate lengths using a special wire-cutting machine. The next step is to strip the wires and fit them with terminals and connector housings. Then we set up a workbench or assembly board to the design specifications. An assembly board is a full-sized diagram of the harness that shows all components as well as their locations. Only then can we get to work assembling the wires into a harness…by hand.electrical-wires

Since there are many processes involved in assembling a wire harness, it is often more efficient for wire and cable manufacturers to complete it manually, especially for small batches. However, depending on the specifications and complexity of the design, wire and cable harness manufacturers may be able to automate some of the steps in pre-production.

Safety First

Because safety is one of the most crucial considerations for any wire harness, assembly isn’t the end of the process for a reputable wire and cable harness manufacturer. It is important to put the harness through multiple safety checks. Not only are Meridian’s manufacturing facilities UL-certified, but we are also committed to designing only the highest quality products for each and every client.

Conclusion

No matter how simple or complex a wire harness, it must be safe and function as expected. By working with an experienced wire and cable manufacturer, you can ensure your finished wire harness is both safe to install and use, and meets all of your electrical and geometrical requirements. The team at Meridian Cable works hard to make sure all of our clients get a custom harness that fits their needs. Contact us when you’re ready to talk about your next wire harness project.

Ask a Cable Assemblies Manufacturer: Prototyping 101

Ask a Cable Assemblies Manufacturer: Prototyping 101

There are many reasons to create a prototype for your custom cable assembly, but one of most compelling is that it helps you ensure your finished assembly will function as expected.

Prototyping makes it possible to extrude a cable with the appropriate voltage, required wire gauge, and optimal heat rating without any guesswork. Even further, creating a prototype can help you simplify the production process because your cable assemblies manufacturer can work all the kinks out and address any issues before they produce the full run of the final product.

When working with clients, we have run into a few general questions about prototyping that we wanted to take a moment to address.

Is working with a cable assemblies manufactuer on a prototype expensive?

While there is certainly a cost associated with producing a prototype, doing so can help you save money overall. Creating a prototype also helps save time when it comes to choosing the right materials. If you don’t create a prototype, you may be in the position of experimenting with different types of products and wiring systems to determine what will be the best solution for your application. The cost of these experiments can add up.

An experienced custom cable assemblies manufacturer is able to produce a full-scale, fully functional (in most cases) prototype that allows them to determine whether the assembly is feasible and practical from a technical and financial standpoint. If design flaws are discovered, it’s much easier and cheaper to address them at this stage.

Will a prototype be an exact representation of the finished cable assembly?cable cross section

Yes and no. While it is possible to produce a prototype that looks and functions exactly as the finished product, it’s not always necessary. Each prototype is produced to have the level of functionality that is necessary for each project. This allows the manufacturer to isolate the specific design or manufacturing issues for each application. Your project may or may not require a fully functional prototype, but it is certainly possible to create one if necessary.

Are there any drawbacks to prototyping?

Producing a prototype gives a cable assemblies manufacturer the opportunity to test an assembly design in real-world conditions. While you may be focused on a few potential issues, it’s important to remember to test the prototype’s functionality in every way so design flaws can be addressed immediately.

It’s also a good idea to address any issues with ownership of intellectual property in the prototyping phase. In general, it’s much easier to clear up any issues with intellectual property before you have produced the final cable assembly.

Conclusion

Prototyping is a critical stage of the process when working with a cable assemblies manufacturer. Not only will producing a prototype allow engineers to refine their design, but they will also be able to get a handle on any manufacturing issues and test the cable assembly’s overall functionality. This can help you save money and time, and achieve more success over the long term. If you are ready to discuss producing a prototype of your next custom cable, contact the team at Meridian Cable. We look forward to hearing from you.