Creating custom solutions is what Meridian does best. In fact, well over 70% of all the products we produce are custom-built by our brilliant in-house design team. One of our greatest strengths lies in the ability to pick up wherever in the manufacturing process you find yourself - whether that is still in concept or you have already produced a few iterations and wish to capitalize on our industry expertise to deliver your final product, we have the capability to present a turn-key solution for your system.
The Design and Engineering Process
Utilizing state-of-the-art computer-aided design programs, our engineers have the capability to completely construct the smallest details of design for your product and even test them in virtual situations - all before the first wires ever come together to form a cable. The cable assembly will be used to transmit data, power, and/or signals within an electronic system. To accomplish this task, each component plays a critical role in the effective function of the finished product. When these finished products are the crucial electrical systems behind the vehicles we all drive to work, or the military hardware that our men and women in harm’s way depend on, or a part of the lifesaving equipment hospital staff depend on to deliver effective care, failure of any component prematurely simply cannot happen. And so design components are chosen very carefully, tested, and retested. Get started with the custom design and engineering for your cable assembly.
Prototyping Custom Cable Assemblies
Extremely rare is the product that goes from concept to assembly without a prototyping phase. For our clients custom cable assembly projects, our engineers will generally design a few iterations to be tested. This definitely includes key elements like the functionality of the cable assembly in real-world situations but also provides the opportunity for our design team to connect with our manufacturing team to iron out logistics pre-assembly. Our production facilities run on strict lean manufacturing principles including kanban and just-in-time ordering. This fastidiousness pays off in the form of faster production runs, which saves time and our client’s money.
Advantages of Having a Full Tooling Inventory in Production and Assembly
Custom cable assemblies requires custom tools. After decades as leaders in custom cable assembly design and manufacturing, we have amassed more than 5,000 tools available at our disposal during the manufacturing process and have the ability to create a completely new tool when the custom creation calls for it. Considering all of the different connectors, overmolds, junctions, housings, and many other components that go into a cable assembly, our team needs a variety of tools in order to combine automation, semi-automation, and skilled hands-on craftsmanship to produce an assembly that performs exactly as it is intended to do.
We maintain our own custom tool cribs so that our design team can lay out all the different tools needed for a production run and “reserve” the tool for the appropriate time in the manufacturing process. This ensures that there are not any unnecessary delays in production when a vital tool is not available when it’s needed.
Testing Your Custom Cable Assembly
Testing, by its nature, needs to be extremely precise. When your product is responsible for sending signals, data, and power through an electrical system that’s never been produced before, how do you maintain a regular testing procedure? The answer is, typically, you don’t. Custom cable assemblies often require custom testing solutions. While we do employ automated testers like our venerable Cirrus units, we also have produced many entirely custom testing units to test our custom creations in the areas of functionality, safety, and durability.
At Meridian, QA/QC is integral to our total product design. In order to maintain our ISO 9001:2015 certification, we have to have demonstrable, continuous improvements to the quality assurance of our products, production methods, and overall customer service. We even created our own advanced life testing lab just so we could see exactly how our custom cable assemblies would perform under real-world conditions. Some questions that need to be answered are basic like, “was the wire crimping performed correctly such that no air pockets remain?”. Others are more complex and may sound like a chemistry experiment as engineers determine if the proper materials were used in the jacketing so that they will protect the assembly from a given outside force such as water, electronic interference, or extreme temperatures.
The assembly must also be able to withstand the flexing or bending required of it within its intended environment. Flexing tests may sound simple but the type of flexibility testing is quite specific depending on the type of motion the cable assembly will encounter. Rolling flex movements, bending flex movements, and random motion flexure tests are all possible tests for our quality assurance team to employ.
Certifying a Custom Cable Assembly
By utilizing Underwriters Laboratory (UL)-certified components in our manufacturing process, our design staff can already know the exact specifications of a given piece of a cable assembly. UL-certification is recognized worldwide. The organization is one of only a handful of companies authorized by the U.S. Government to certify products, services, and processes as having met a certain threshold in terms of quality, functionality, and safety.
Our manufacturing facilities are both UL-certified and recognized for producing quality products that stand the test of time and continue to produce their given function through many different cycles. Because we maintain this UL-certification for our facilities and use mostly UL-certified components in our design, we are able to easily provide our customers with assistance in getting their products certified through certification agencies like UL and other health and safety organizations.
Real-World Applications for Custom Cable Assemblies
Almost every electrical system in existence has some kind of cable assembly helping to transmit power and signal within a confined area. We are proud that our custom cable assemblies are being depended upon in some of the most demanding situations on Earth. Industries like:
- Industrial Controls: powering the machines that, well, power our way of life. Think the automated control systems for your city’s utility services or a large-scale production facility like a bottling plant. Failures within a municipal system not only prove costly but could greatly affect public health when vital systems go down. Our cable assemblies are built to the exacting specifications needed to run thousands of iterations within these systems’ critical processes in order for them to remain in optimal performance.
- Military/Defense: helping power the vital electronic systems that our brave men and women in uniform depend on to do their jobs effectively. To be any good at what we do, our design team has to be intimately knowledgeable on how to fulfill the needs of our clients. When it comes to military applications, we know these systems will usually be employed in harsh conditions, will need to protect against radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI), and will need to work through an incredible amount of cycles. Additional safeguards like aluminized mylar sheathing which helps protect against interference and considerations like using a Kevlar® filler, our assemblies can be constructed with the necessary elements to be able to confront anything the modern battlefield can throw at it.
- Telecommunications: a globally-connected society requires extreme amounts of data infrastructure to remain so. In an industry like telecom that is exponentially growing, our design engineers stay avant-garde with new and better technology and processes to create the custom cable assemblies required. In fact, we proudly maintain our ISO certification which requires a dedication to continuous improvement.
- Medical: cable assemblies provide crucial functionality within the electronic systems used in the health field. After decades in the industry, we have solved some pretty incredible challenges in this field. One medical cord a client needed had to be strong and retractable while it was hooked up between patient and monitoring device. It also needed to have very little “pull” on the patient. Through designing, engineering, prototyping, testing, and retesting, we were able to produce the perfect solution for our client with components like completely customized strain reliefs in place to minimize the amount of pull on the patient.
- Consumer Goods: the transmission of data, power, and/or signals in everyday systems like TVs, cellphones, and automobiles is made possible with custom cable assemblies. Custom coax cable assemblies for WiFi have become something of a necessity in modern society. Our design team is incredibly adept at creating the most efficient custom assembly possible that meets the needs of the project, meets production milestones, and stays on budget.
Distinguishing Between Custom Cable Assembly Manufacturers
A quick Google search will turn up plenty of options for custom cable manufacturers. Many will present off-the-shelf assemblies as a viable solution for all of your system’s cable needs. We do things differently.
At Meridian, we don’t build “okay” or “should-be-fine” systems. We build critical custom cable assemblies that we verify will satisfy our client’s unique demands, cycle after cycle. We know this because we are fanatical in our approach to quality. Each product that rolls off the line at Meridian is tested and retested for safety and functionality before it ever gets the approval of our stringent QA engineers. We do this because our products provide critical function. Anything less than perfect is simply unacceptable. Ready for a completely new experience for developing your custom cable assembly? Give our team a chance to review your project specifications and we’ll walk you through all your options for creating the perfect solution.