At Meridian, we’re all about designing and producing some of the very best custom cable assemblies and wire harnesses on the market today. We do this with a near fanatic level of quality built into each aspect of the manufacturing process. This is especially true of our efforts as a custom industrial control cable assembly manufacturer.
No matter what blend of specialized components are required to get the job done right, we have the expertise, tooling inventory, and advanced capabilities to produce industrial cable assemblies that make some of the world’s most sophisticated industrial processes possible.
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What is an Industrial Control System?
Industrial control system is a broad term that applies to a lot of different applications and encompasses many different technical aspects. There are individual devices and systems, networking and instrumentation, as well as the connection to make all these components “talk” to one another in order to automate a process.
Industrial control systems are present in just about every industry. From the automated system at your city’s water treatment facility to the manufacturing plant at a giant bottling facility, industrial control systems are relied upon every day as mission-critical pieces of modern infrastructure and society. cable assemblies make these systems possible by effectively transmitting data, signal, and power throughout the system.
As the world moves increasingly towards even greater automation, especially in warehousing, automotive manufacturing, and a wide variety of other industries, the demand for high-quality industrial control system cable assemblies will increase in lock-step.
Cable Assemblies Used in Industrial Control Systems
There are two general types of upper-level industrial control systems, each with its own unique set of responsibilities when it comes to automating processes. However, there are hundreds of ancillary systems that can all be engineered to meet the demands of a specific application. The two, broad types of control systems include:
Supervisory Industrial Control Systems
A supervisory control system is one that provides a centralization for the purpose of monitoring and controlling a long list of different processes within a larger system. These supervisory industrial control systems rely on human interface in order to keep a watchful eye over all of the inputs and outputs of the system. The supervisory system is in charge of monitoring, usually over a separated geographical system, where large amounts of data are pouring into a centralized command center.
Thinking back to a municipal water facility, think about all those miles of pipes, control valves, circuit breakers, and other crucial components that keep clean water flowing in a community. The supervisory control system allows water engineers to keep a close eye on the entirety of the operations, spotting issues before they become major and ensuring efficiency throughout the process. A similar application can be found in private and municipal electrical transmission, where these crucial systems literally make sure the lights stay on.
Distributed Industrial Control Systems
These are the individual systems that help control the valves, circuit breakers, actuators, and other components in their role in the larger system. The data that’s sent to the supervisory control system is processed and used to make decisions in real-time via the distributed controls located throughout the system. From oil refining facilities to chemical manufacturers, a vast amount of industries rely on distributed control systems to manage processes and maintain efficient operations.
With increased pressures on the system, including environmental variables, cyberattacks, and other strains, having cable assemblies that are designed with specialized considerations like strain reliefs, hermetic sealing to lock out moisture, and RMI/EMI countermeasures, the industrial cable assemblies we produce at Meridian are counted on to keep these systems operational no matter what. Moreover, these features are all engineered and tested to ensure a perfect fit within the application and environment.
Customizing Your Industrial Cable Assemblies
When it comes to making a cable assembly that’s engineered perfectly for a unique set of parameters, the sky is pretty much the limit with the amount of options available to accomplish the task both on-time and on-budget. With a tooling inventory of well over 5,000 existing connectors, terminals, junctions, overmolds, and housings, there’s a high likelihood we have already tooled what the project needs. However, we also relish the opportunity to create a completely custom component made just for your unique project.
- Conductor Sizes: from teeny tiny 34 gauge conductors to beefy 12 gauge conductors, we can mix and match conductors to create whatever form of mixed gauge cable is required to get the job done.
- Conductor Colors: we’ve seen where a complex cable assembly used for industrial controls can have upwards of 50 different conductors. Making sure we have good wire management employed and ease of integration and maintenance, we can customize cables with a variety of colors and other markings, including text. From primary colors, to a variety of combinations, we can make sure the color scheme makes sense and adds value to your application.
- Stranding Sizes: we have the advanced processes that allow us to strand conductors as small as 0.002 inches, which can really come in handy when hi-flex cables are required. Standard stranding as large as 0.01 inches is common for power, and a size we provide frequently. Whether you need bare copper or plated conductors with precious metals, we can provide the exact components to meet your specifications.
- Insulation Materials: insulation adds a stout layer of protection and can range from the basic polyvinyl chloride (PVC), to thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), and polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon). Our engineers can help you decide which insulation will provide the best results for your application.
- Filler Options: to maintain the integrity of the cable’s structure and add strength, fillers offer a great many options to accomplish the task in your system. We can do everything from basic cotton through Kevlar depending on the intended application.
- Wraps and Shields to Consider: your options with wraps and shields abound to help protect against outside variables like abrasion or interference. We can utilize the best materials to meet the needs of the process including aluminized mylar and braided stranding.
- Jacketing Material Options: providing a final level of defense between the environment and the cable assembly is a wide choice of different jacket materials. The jacket insulates, shields, and protects which is why it's a crucial component for the overall assembly. From basic PVC through teflon, our engineers will recommend the perfect jacket to protect your industrial cable assembly.
- Individual Cable Types: our designers have many standard cable types, many of which start with UL-certified wire and cables. TPT, SKE, SP-1, SJTO, STO, HPN, and many other standard cables are all at our disposal to produce the one-of-a-kind assembly to meet your project’s specifications.
When it comes to custom cable assemblies, experience and tooling capability really do matter. By investing in the best talent, along with the most-advanced equipment available today, our process capability is pretty hard to beat. This helps ensure that we always have a solution no matter how complex the problems our clients need us to surmount appear to be.
Partnering with a Custom Industrial Cable Assemblies Manufacturer
Industrial cable assemblies are rarely available as off-the-shelf varieties which means partnering with a custom industrial cable assembly manufacturer is a necessary step. But how do you know if your manufacturer is qualified to produce a cable assembly that’s going to cut it cycle after cycle? Well, there’s a few key certifications you should look for and are all ones we’re proud to maintain.
- ISO 9001:2015: this is a must for custom cable manufacturers of distinction. The ISO 9001 certification centers around a commitment to quality with demonstrable process improvement for everything from customer service to product quality.
- IATF 16949: this standard applies to automotive quality management systems and can only be obtained by manufacturers who can demonstrate a superior level of quality in everything they do.
- UL-Approved Manufacturing Facility: being UL-approved means meeting the high standards Underwriters Laboratories (UL) sets for manufacturers. Minimizing defects, safe processes, and continual process improvement are all hallmarks of this coveted distinction.
Finding distinctions like these can help you narrow down an experienced manufacturer who caters to quality assurance and quality control. Testing for continuity, integrity, polarity and functionality on each and every assembly we produce is the reason why our clients know they can depend on our assemblies from the moment they arrive.
The Meridian Difference: A Trusted Choice When Quality Matters
At Meridian, quality assemblies for industrial systems is something we have done exceedingly well for decades. No matter how complex the issue or how advanced the assembly, our team has the processes in place to ensure each and every assembly we produce can be counted on no matter what. Talk over your project specs with a cable engineer today.
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