Custom Wire Harness Fabrication - It’s What We Do
Wiring harnesses are the crucial workhorses of our modern, connected society. These marvels of advanced engineering require many hours of precise design, production, and testing in order to provide our clients with a solution that works—no matter what. At Meridian, high-quality, custom wire harness assemblies is what we do and what we’ve done for decades. We’ve built an incredible knowledge center of top talent, an extensive tool crib, and a sophisticated network of fully-automated and semi-automated systems, as well as hand tools, to create some of the most state-of-the-art cable harness fabrications.
What is a Wire Harness?
At its core, a wire harness is simply a group of wires and/or cables, often with their own sub-assemblies, utilized for transmitting power, data, or signal through an electrical system. Often, the complex wire harnesses we create for different industries like telecommunications, military applications, medical, industrial controls, and more, require multiple connectors, strain reliefs, grommets, and other components to efficiently fulfill the needs of the system.
At Meridian, it doesn’t matter if there are dozens of mixed-gauge wires, scores of connectors, or dozens of terminations, we have the knowledge, skills, and ability to complete each wire harness design project to perfection on time and on budget.
How the Custom Wire Harness Assemblies Process Works
The wire harness assemblies we create here at Meridian are engineered to fit perfectly within their intended environment. That means making sure the design fits geometrically and within the specifications required of the system. Whether it's for an industrial control system in a busy bottling facility or the OEM wire harnesses required in the automotive sector, the idea of “fit” is crucial in wire harness design.
Custom Wire Harness Fabrication Process
As a UL-approved manufacturing facility, we utilize many standard UL® cable types. This allows our team to start with a cable with known specifications and utilize its strengths to our client's advantage in the assembly process. How that process is played out will vary from one project to the next as each has its own unique set of specifications based on the intended application.
However, a typical wire harness assembly can include:
- Affixing wires, sub-assemblies, and other components directly to a pinboard.
- Navigating all of these components through the necessary cable sleeves for added strength and protection.
- Make sure any cable ties, cable wraps, or other infrastructure is secured and in its right place, paying particular attention to critical branch-out locations.
- Utilizing automated, semi-automated, or even hand crimping tools for wires especially when we have multiple wires into single terminals.
By having fully-automated and semi-automated capabilities, alongside our production team’s highly-skilled use of hand tools, we’re able to blend technology and fine work craft in a single, perfect package. Hand tools are still quite necessary, even in our state-of-the-art production facilities, in order to pull off a successful project.
Some of the processes which require both hands-on attention and automated solutions include:
- Precise cutting and stripping wires.
- Automated crimping for terminals.
- Utilizing fine pitch, computer-controlled soldering.
- Ultrasonic welding.
- Overmolding to strengthen and protect connectors, strain reliefs, etc.
Wire Harness Design Starts with the Right Components
Wire harnesses are able to facilitate the manufacture of larger systems by providing the critical connections needed in a “plug and play” install. But don’t let that name fool you, while there are universal wiring harnesses, these are often generic solutions that may check some, but not all of the boxes required in a unique application. Our cable harness design engineers work hard to create the perfect amalgamation of conductors, wrapping, sheathing, connectors, strain reliefs, grommets, and all other components required.
In addition to the perfect materials, we also have to take into account the intended environment. Protecting against abrasion, caustic chemicals, moisture, dust, interference, and any number of additional environmental variables is absolutely crucial for ensuring long-term operability.
Designing in a Virtual Space Allows 3-D Renderings & Simulation
Once we examine the variables at play and have a good idea of the specs required, our design engineers get to work using our advanced computer-aided design (CAD) software. These sophisticated digital design systems afford our engineers a chance to piece together individual components with incredible precision and even test them in various simulations, all in a virtual space before the first cable is extruded. Putting in more time upfront streamlines the entire production process, which is a tenet of our ISO 9001:2015 certification, which prioritizes operational efficiency across the entire organization.
Prototyping Wire Harness Assemblies is a Huge Advantage
Once the design is just right in the digital space, it’s time to see how the components come together in the real world. We have the ability to prototype different configurations for qualification samples to help make sure we have the perfect combination of components, materials, and processes. Our wire harness engineers utilize the schematics our brilliant design team developed to map out the assembly board to be used for the wiring harness.
An assembly board (also referred to as a pinboard) is a life-size diagram for the wiring harness, showing our skilled production team just where each component is meant to go. From a process standpoint, the pinboard is basically a workbench for physically building a wire harness assembly. Each and every wire for the project is cut to the perfect length and detailed identification is used to keep everything in its proper place. From there, we’ll often strip wires to showcase the conductor beneath and make it ready for its accompanying connector or terminal. All of the necessary components are held in place by a complex network of cable sleeves, ties, and other infrastructure to make sure it's a rock-solid system.
Prototyping allows our team to analyze how several different versions compare when brought together in real-time and tested under real-world conditions. From there, we can select the most advantageous iteration to move forward with volume production, saving both time and money down the line.
Custom Wire Harnesses Fit Perfectly
We design some 70% of the products we produce. Even within the same industry, it is quite rare to have an application exactly like another. That’s because there are so many different variables out there that we have to protect a wire harness from. That’s why we offer such highly-customizable features with each and every wire harness we produce.
A few of the many choices our clients have when it comes to their custom wire harness can include components such as:
- Conductor Sizes
- Conductor Colors
- Stranding Sizes
- Conductor Colors
- UL-Certified Wires and Cables
Utilizing the best components in each application means our clients get a product they know they can depend on, cycle after cycle. When you’re operating in high-stakes industries like global telecommunications, advanced medical technology, with our military, and a whole host of other mission-critical industries, your solutions have to work, period. That’s what Meridian brings to the table with our many years of offering custom wire harnesses that are depended on to get the job done every day.
Testing is Everything to Consistently Ensure High-Quality Wire Harnesses
Once every aspect of the wire harness design process comes together, the absolutely pivotal process of testing begins in earnest. Each and every wire harness we produce will be 100% tested for continuity, integrity, polarity, and functionality before shipping to our clients around the world. We created an Advanced Life Testing Lab where we can test our products under the harshest real-world conditions imaginable.
We utilize a suite of different testing systems that can detect even the smallest irregularities in a wire harness design so our engineers can make sure it's right before it leaves our facility. Investing in state-of-the-art testing equipment means we have complete control over our quality assurance and quality control (QAQC) processes.
In the end, this attention to detail in quality stands at the heart of everything we do here at Meridian. The Advanced Life Testing Lab also helps our team qualify new designs which can help when our client desires to get their product certified through a certification agency like UL.
How to Start a Wire Harness Design Project
Offering full-scale wire harness and cable assembly design and engineering services means we can deliver the perfect solution on time and on budget, every time. We have honed our process over decades and built our capabilities to be agile enough to respond to changing project needs. The entire process starts with a detailed conversation with our clients to review the specifications required to meet their needs. This strategic conversation allows our project managers the opportunity to map out a timeline, reserve tools in the tool crib, and ensure all the pieces are in place to complete a successful project. Our team is composed of highly-experienced professionals who are skilled innovation makers. When you’re ready to get started, you can contact our team however is most convenient to fill out the quick online contact form on this page, calling us at 1-877-806-8667, or emailing our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wire Harness Assemblies FAQs
Get information on how Merdian Cable Assemblies creates a custom wire harness. We supply wire harnesses all over the USA and answer the most commonly asked questions from how we create a custom wire harness to fit your needs to providing information on what wire harness manufacturers actually do. Read on for more information and feel free to contact us directly for any questions that you might have.
Wire harness assembly entails creating a custom set-up of electrical wires and/or cables based on the task needed by our client. You can imagine this can run a pretty large gambit of different applications. As custom wire harness manufacturers, it is our job to fully understand the client’s needs, examine where the cable harness will be used, and consider a host other factors that determine the material types and attributes needed for the wiring harness to perform under even the harshest of conditions for years of faithful, continued service. At Meridian, we have the tools and experience to create just about any wiring harness application a client can think of. We usually produce a small number of prototypes to ensure our engineers have everything perfect for the unique application our client is intending before we move on to larger-scale production.
Wiring harnesses are used in everything from remote control cars to jumbo jets. For example, the desktop computer you may be using currently has a myriad of different harnesses for data and power transfer, all to let you view a page like this one. Inside your vehicle are reams of cables, wires, terminals, and connectors that have to run through the entire vehicle in order to connect all the different components that allow you to simply drive from A to B. The harness itself sounds simple, but it can be rather complex when different connections, terminations, conductor sizes, sheathing, strain reliefs, and many other considerations have to come into play depending on the needs of the project. Our engineers design a complete system around the wires and cables needed to power electrical systems, transfer high speed data, and send and receive signals. If you’re ready to discuss your project’s unique requirements, talk over your options with a knowledgeable representative now.
The different types of wiring harnesses is only limited by your imagination. As we continue to increase our reliance on electrical systems powering even simply devices, the engineering inside of these applications requires custom made wiring and cable harnesses to complete the intended application. Each project requires its own custom set-up in order to be designed and manufactured to be able to effectively complete the task required of it. As you can imagine, this will be quite different for a remote control car versus a fighter jet, yet each require exact engineering design in order to function. From military applications, industrial, medical, telecommunications, and almost every industry in between, we design custom wire harness solutions that work.
Definitely not. Unfortunately, shoddy manufacturers abound and buying a harness from a non-reputable wiring harness supplier can put your project’s assets at serious risk of failure. At Meridian, we follow strict quality assurance/quality control procedures, use and maintain UL® standards for wiring, and are proud to have received and maintain ISO 9001:2015 certification for quality. We do all of this to ensure we remain wire harness and cable assembly manufacturers of distinction, engineering the precise solutions our clients demand, and making sure these systems are robust enough to stand up to years of use.
We strive to make sourcing cable assemblies and wiring harnesses easy. That’s why we operate two manufacturing facilities both in the U.S. and in China. We own both facilities, so we stay intimately abreast of the day-to-day operations of each. We are UL®-approved for wire harness manufacturing so you can be confident in the exact requirements of your project being met by our design staff. With two, independent facilities running around the globe, we ensure your project is completed on-time and on-budget, using the best materials and methods available in wire harness manufacturing today. So no matter where your project takes place, be confident knowing Meridian can supply all the components needed to produce a top-of-the-line custom cable harness.
For any custom cable or wire harness project, our engineers and design staff first listen to our clients. By intimately understanding the “what, when, where, and how” behind the harnesses’ intended application, we can begin the manufacturing process. Often, we need to understand the electrical needs, as well as, the space constraints first and foremost and build our systems within the project’s scope concerning these dimensions. Each process is a little different for each custom harness and Meridian craftsmen have more than 5,000 tools at their disposal to get the job done. Depending on the level of precision the project calls for, we can either deploy hand tools, semi-automated machines, or fully automated machines. Even though we depend on automation to provide exact design specifications, a lot of work is still done by hand by our skilled manufacturers due to the multitude of complex steps involved. Our process engineers deploy time and money savings techniques like kanban manufacturing and just-in-time ordering to provide the very best products possible, on-time, and within our client’s budget.
After we’ve figured out the ins and outs of the project’s unique manufacturing process, we usually develop a prototype for client approval and verification that it will meet their needs. Once approved, we move to larger scale production and ship our products to clients all over the world.
United Laboratories (UL) is one of only a select few corporations that have been approved by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for testing and certifying both safety and uniform functionality of wiring and cable components. By only using UL-certified components, we can ensure our products operate the same way, within known specification ranges, year in and year out. Rather than having to design a cable from scratch each time, this allows design staff to focus on other project variables such as weight strain reduction within the harness, type and size of conductors, insulation material, etc. If you don’t see that your wire harness and cable assembly manufacturers are using UL-certified wires and cables, don’t trust your integral electrical systems to a system which could fail when you need it the most.
These often confused components are quite different and serve different purposes. A wire is either a single strand or a bundle of strands that are designed to be conductive. Wires come bare or sheathed and are usually made of copper or aluminum. Conversely, a cable has two or more conductors which are insulated which are then twisted together, usually inside of a protective outer jacket. A wire harness therefore, is the systematic support system that links wires into a cohesive unit with the necessary connections and terminations to complete the task. Think the wiring system in your automobile that requires different systems to all be linked simultaneously. While a cable assembly is similar in concept, the application is quite different and would include examples like the fairly simple cable assembly for connecting your TV and surround sound or the more complex and futuristic-looking electrode helmets used in medical brain scans.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) specifies the minimum requirements that the quality assurance/quality control plans a manufacturer has to have in place in order to be certified for ISO 9001:2015. For this system governing quality management systems, the organization needs to show that it has the ability to consistently deliver the products or services that meet both customer and regulatory requirements, as well as, show they’ve taken steps to enhance the customer’s satisfaction. This is done through demonstrating the organization has continual improvement processes in place and can showcase conformity to customer/regulatory requirements for each project undertaken. Meridian is proud to maintain this important distinction for ensuring our clients receive nothing but high-quality products.
Meridian designs products under the strictest of quality assurance and quality control guidelines, but components do sometimes break down prematurely. We want you to be absolutely confident in your decision to use Meridian as your wire harness supplier of choice so we stand behind our products with a warranty against material defects or workmanship under normal use and service for a period of one (1) year from the original date of invoice. Depending on the situation, Meridian will either repair or replace the product.