Category Archives: Cable Design

Cost Effective Custom Design Cables

Cost Effective Custom Design Cables

Generally speaking most people don’t associate custom with cost effective, but they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Most of the time, if anything is custom it costs more than a standard counterpart. However, in many cases, knowing what to ask your cable manufacturer will help you keep costs in line. It’s no different with custom design cables or custom cable assemblies.

What are custom design cables and cable assemblies?

Let’s start with the basics and define what a custom design cable or cable assembly is by defining what it isn’t. If you can find the cable or cable assembly you need in stock, it’s not custom. Companies typically don’t stock custom items because they aren’t purchased often enough to justify the cost of carrying the inventory. So, if you’ve searched and can’t find the cable or cable assembly you need off-the-shelf, odds are you need a custom product.

In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic!” Just because you need something custom doesn’t mean you need to be robbed. Most times the only difference between a standard product and custom product are a few minor, but important, details. Making those changes doesn’t always have to be expensive.

Getting Started on Custom Design Cables

When you can’t find what you need, start looking for a custom product by describing it using standard terms. For example, we make USB cables for the retail security industry that prevent thieves from cutting the cable and running off with a new cell phone. These cables aren’t that different from a standard product except for one very important feature: If someone tries to cut them, they can’t—at least not very easily. While this feature increases the price, it is NOT by factors of 2, 3, or 4. Since we extrude cable, it’s easy for us to include cut resistance in the design phase. This would only add cost for the added material, and not a penny more because we feel like it.

More Complex Custom Design Cables

If the cable you need is a bit more complex, you can describe it as a combination of standards to get your needs across. We recently created a coil cord for an off-the-road vehicle company.  The cable was custom, but it was clearly described as a combination of RS-232, USB, and 12Vdc power. All three are very standard but generally not found in one cable, not to mention in the form of a coil cord. However, when defined by the standard items, it was quite easy to understand what the client needed. custom design cables

Don’t worry if you don’t know the “standards,” like RS232, USB, OBDII, SAE1850, ISO914 L, CAN Bus, UL8750, and so on. You don’t need to be a standards expert; a good custom cable manufacturer will know that stuff and can guide you. Just describe the items you want to connect, or better yet, describe the kinds of cables you want to combine. Then you can ask what standards the manufacturer will design and build the cable to, so you can decide if you really need that standard. Often the only difference between a cable that meets a “standard” and one just like it that doesn’t is nothing but a testing house approving the cable. If you don’t need this seal of approval, don’t pay for it. If you do need it, then it’s a good idea to spend the extra money. Either way, make sure you know so you can make an informed decision.

How much cable do you need?

Last, don’t be fooled into thinking a custom design cable automatically means producing tens of thousands of feet at a time. A good custom cable company should be able to extrude runs of custom cable of no more than a few thousand feet if necessary. Cable extrusion is a fast process, often running at speeds of 3-5 feet per second. It’s not easy to do small runs, but it is not impossible. Many companies just don’t want to do small runs because they aren’t set up for them.  Find a company that is and your costs will be much lower.

Conclusion

Custom cable design doesn’t automatically mean you have to break the bank to pay for the solution you need. Get in touch with the team at Meridian Cable when you are ready to see how we can help you stay in budget on your next custom cable project.

 

 

How to Work with a Cable Assembly Manufacturer When You Have a Tight Budget

How to Work with a Cable Assembly Manufacturer When You Have a Tight Budget

A cable assembly manufacturer has many options available that can help you stay in budget and get a custom cable that is right for your situation.

Having an unlimited budget to work with when designing a custom cord might seem like the best way to get the perfect end product, but that type of situation is rare. In most cases, budget is a concern. The good news is your cable assembly manufacturer should be able to help you balance the cable’s functionality with cost.

Good Communication Saves Money

This may seem like common sense, but make sure you are sharing as much information with your cable assembly manufacturer as possible in the planning and design stages of your project. Having clear specifications about how and in what environment the finished product will function gives the design team a thorough understanding at the outset. This can translate to a cable assembly that meets the needs of the equipment and environment with fewer revisions or surprises late in the project.

Talk Materials with Your Cable Assembly Manufacturer

Armed with complete technical specifications and a good understanding of the environment where a finished cable assembly will function, the design team is able to select the optimum materials to create a solution that operates as expected. At its most basic, a cable is made up of a conductor, connectors, jacketing, and insulation. Each can offer an opportunity for cost savings with some careful thought.

Conductorscable assembly manufacturer conductors

Obviously, the conductor material should be selected based on the type of signal and how long the cable is expected to be in use. However, with so many options when it comes to size, material, and plating, a cable assembly manufacturer can make recommendations that address cost concerns without compromising on functionality. For example: In many cases, a smaller conductor is less expensive. Choosing the smallest conductor that will transmit the signal or power allows you to get the functionality you need without the unnecessary expense of a larger conductor. Though, in some cases, a smaller conductor is actually more expensive to produce, so it’s doubly important to discuss options with your cable’s design team.

Connectors

All cable assemblies connect to some sort of equipment or power/signal source. Because the section of cable that leads to the connector is a common point of failure due to stresses, it’s important to select the right type of connector for the job. While an overmolded cable offers more durability in many cases, it may make more sense to use a connector that can be repaired by a technician. Understanding the needs of your finished product allows you and your cable assembly manufacturer to make the right decision before producing a cable that doesn’t fit your needs.

Jacketing & Insulation

The environment where a cable assembly will be used often dictates what type of jacketing material or insulation is used in the finished product. Different materials are more suitable for cables that are exposed to extreme heat or cold, moisture, or stresses. More expensive materials for jacketing aren’t automatically better for every environment. In many cases, choosing a more costly material that is unsuited for the environment can be a waste of money and compromise the function or service like of the cable.

Conclusion

Good planning, open communication, and thoughtful selection of materials is the great way to save costs when creating a custom cable with a cable assembly manufacturer. If you are ready to talk about your next custom cable project, contact the team at Meridian Cable. We’d love to discuss your options.

Custom Cable Assemblies with Standard Cables

Custom Cable Assemblies with Standard Cables

When designing custom cable assemblies for your product, it’s not always necessary to start from scratch.

Custom cable assemblies are designed and extruded for products or equipment when an existing cable does not meet the needs of the application. While stock cable can be inexpensive and easy to source, it doesn’t make sense if it simply doesn’t do the job required or is not as durable as it needs to be to withstand environmental conditions. In many cases, custom cables are a great way to make sure all your needs and specifications are met.

Cost is always a consideration whether you are dealing with custom or stock cable. Many perceive that “custom” means a higher price tag, but this doesn’t have to be the case. There are circumstances when a custom cable can even save money. For example:

  • Low Durability – A stock cable that doesn’t quite offer the durability for your application is going to need to be replaced more often. A custom cable more suited to the requirements and environment would need to be replaced less frequently.
  • Many Cables for One Piece of Equipment – One custom cable that meets all your needs is easier to install, maintain, and replace than multiple stock cables.
  • More Cable than You Need – Using stock cables means you sometimes have to pay for a more expensive option than you actually need. A custom cable eliminates that need because it is designed to meet the specifications of your equipment.
  • Creating a Cable from the Ground Up – There are circumstances when incorporating an off-the-shelf cable into a custom cable assembly saves time and money.

Making Smart Design Choices with Stock Cable

Commissioning a custom cable doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch by designing a completely new cable. If a stock cable is nearly perfect for your application, it’s possible to make some changes with a design based on the existing cable. These changes could include adding a tougher jacketing material or reproducing the cable with more flexibility or a different gauge that is not currently available.   

custom cable assemblies with black jacketing

Depending on the specifications of your product or equipment, you may need a custom cable assembly that combines multiple cables into one to save space. By combining these cables, the engineer can take advantage of different gauges and cable types – which may include stock cables – to create a streamlined solution that is tailored to your needs and specifications.

Talking with an Expert Wire & Cable Manufacturer

Off-the-shelf cables can be a great choice if there’s an existing model that matches the specifications for your product or equipment that is able to hold up to the environment where it will be used. But if a stock cable doesn’t meet your needs or is only “close enough,” talking to a wire and cable manufacturer might be the logical next step. During your initial discussion, make sure you clearly communicate how the finished cable needs to perform. If you are currently using an existing cable, share any frustrations or limitations you are experiencing. This will allow the engineering team to gain a full understanding of whether incorporating an off-the-shelf cable into your custom cable design makes sense.

An experienced manufacturer of custom cable assemblies, like Meridian Cable, can make recommendations that address any issues you are having with stock cables. They are also able to help you make the best choices when considering incorporating existing cables into your custom solution.

Determining the Shape of a Custom Coil Cord

Determining the Shape of a Custom Coil Cord

The shape of a custom coil cord is one of the most important elements when designing this type of cable.

Custom coil cord is known for its flexibility, making it the perfect choice for applications that require a cable that can stretch and retract without putting additional stress on the wire. It has the ability to extend beyond the natural length at rest, which can be a real space-saving feature. These cords are flexible beyond simple extending and retracting in that they can also be pulled, bent, and twisted without experiencing the metal fatigue of a straight cable.

Coiled cable can be used to carry electrical currents as well as data and signal for telecommunications applications. This versatility makes coil cords ideal for use in environments that are often too rough for non-coiled cable. Coil cords are used in everything from equipment on industrial and construction sites to portable electronics, like sound equipment. With so many applications at so many different sizes, the shape of your custom coil cord is key to its successful performance.

Requirements Determine the Shape of Coiled Cable

If you’ve ever seen a telephone cord, you’ll recognize the shape of a coiled cable – curled in the middle with a section of straight cable at each end. While the specifications of the straight sections are important to the overall function of the cable, it is the coiled section that provides the cord with its unique benefits. The retracted length of the cord is how long it is at rest. This is the most common way to specify how long the cord should be. However, it is also necessary to communicate the full length the cord must extend to, so the engineers at your custom cable manufacturer are able to get a full understanding of the requirements of your cable.

The coil’s diameter is a key measurement when determining how far a custom coil cable should extend. In general, a coil with a larger outer diameter with stretch farther than a coil with a smaller outer diameter. When discussing your cable’s specifications with your cable manufacturer, retracted length, extended length, and outer coil diameter will provide a good starting place for the designer regarding the cable’s physical shape.

Fine-Tuning a Cable’s Performance

While you may be able to get pretty close to the final shape of your custom coil cable on your own, the cable’s construction and materials are best selected with the help of an experienced wire and cable manufacturer. Selecting specific fillers and jacketing materials can also add durability to the finished cord. Depending on how tough you need your cable to be, materials can include:custom coil cord

  • PU
  • PTEE
  • TPR
  • SVO
  • SJOW
  • Kevlar®
  • Spectra®
  • Teflon®

An expert cable manufacturer like Meridian Cable, learns everything they can about how your coil cable needs to function. This allows them to make the best recommendations on the materials and physical shape to ensure the finished cable meets the needs of your product or equipment. Rest assured that no matter what your application, a custom coil cord solution can be designed and produced to perfectly match your specifications.

Design Services from Custom Wire and Cable Manufacturers

Design Services from Custom Wire and Cable Manufacturers

New products or pieces of machinery often have unique, specific requirements that can’t be met by stock cable

When developing a new product, the last thing you should be worrying about is whether there’s an existing cable that meets all the requirements for performance, durability, and price. The reality is that there may not be an existing solution that will meet all your requirements at a reasonable price point. And while your engineers may know what your cable needs to do, they most likely lack the experience with different conductors, jacketing materials, fillers, and insulations required to design a cable from scratch. Custom wire and cable manufacturers can provide a level of expertise in the area of electrical engineering that can save time and cost while developing the right cable for your application.

Designing a custom cable can be a challenging process, but a reputable cable and wire manufacturer acts as a partner every step of the way. They will walk you through the process to ensure that they are using the appropriate materials for your precise requirements. In many cases, they can even produce a prototype that allows you to test the cable on your product.

Thorough Consultations Make for Great Designs

The best way to ensure your custom cable meets all of your product’s requirements is to share as much information with your wire and cable manufacturer as possible. The first step in this process is to meet with their engineering team to share all of the specifications, as well as any applicable drawings. Don’t forget to make sure your drawings are created in a common format that can be easily accessed by the manufacturer. This will save both time and frustration for both parties.

As the next step, the manufacturer’s electrical engineering team will review your product’s specifications to ensure they have the capabilities to produce the type of cable you need on your requested timeline. It may be that they do not have the equipment or facilities to produce your cable. At this point, their team should be able to give you an idea of why they are not able to meet your specifications, whether the job requirements are realistic, and possibly make recommendations on how to feasibly produce the cable.

Collaborating with Wire and Cable Manufacturers on a Successful Cable Solution

Wire and cable manufacturers are the experts on customized cabling solutions, but you are the expert on your product. They will continue to hold conversations with you throughout the design process regarding voltage ratings, electrical tolerance, environmental parameters, and flexibility to ensure they choose a conductor material that performs as expected.

Further conversations about the cable’s function and expected environmental conditions will inform recommendations about insulating and jacketing materials. They may ask questions like:

  • Does the cable need to withstand high temperatures?
  • Does it require extra protection, like metal armoring?
  • Are there concerns about signal interference?
  • Does it need to meet spec standards like, UL, CSA, CE, or Mil-Spec?

Keeping Communication Open

Open communication is the key to ensuring positive relationships with wire and cable manufacturers. Designing a custom cable can be a complicated process, but if you provide their team with as much information as possible, it doesn’t have to be frustrating. And don’t forget to speak up if you need help. Experienced engineers, like the team at Meridian Cable, are always happy to answer your questions.

Expertise Matters When Designing A Custom Cable Assembly

Expertise Matters When Designing A Custom Cable Assembly

Balance longevity, performance, and price with a custom cable assembly designed with the help of experienced engineers.

Each custom cable assembly project comes with a unique set of requirements that calls for specific types of components for the best performance in a given situation. For example, a cable with the appropriate gauge for conducting electricity that is jacketed with a material that can’t withstand the environment will fail much sooner than it should even though it might meet requirements for price and performance.

With the many options available for conductors, insulations, fillers, and jacketing, a thorough working knowledge of which components offer the appropriate results for a given set of requirements is key to manufacturing a custom cable assembly that meets your needs at an appropriate price point. That kind of knowledge comes from a strong background that includes engineering and manufacturing custom cable assembly solutions for a variety of applications in a wide range of industries.

When reviewing recommendations from a custom cable manufacturer, it is essential to pay attention to a few key areas:

Conductor Gauge & Stranding Sizes

The gauge of a conductor impacts cost as well as how well electricity or signal flows through the wiring. An experienced engineer carefully considers how the cable will be used, as well as the voltage or signal type, and even the required length to determine the best gauge. While a larger gauge can reduce resistance and energy costs, a large gauge has a few drawbacks. The first of these is that larger gauges tend to be more expensive to produce. If your product does not require a larger gauge, you could end up paying more than necessary to produce your custom cable with no real additional benefits.

While solid conductors can be inexpensive, stranded conductors offer additional flexibility to the finished cable. By working with stranding sizes that range from 0.002” to 0.023” in a variety of materials, an engineer is able to recommend options that offer the conductivity and flexibility that meet the requirements of your project.

Insulation & Fillers

When we talk about insulation in a custom cable assembly, we are referring to a non-conductive material that is used to prevent energy leakage. Insulation also helps protect the wire from heat and moisture. Insulations can be made from plastics, fluoropolymers, and rubbers. Understanding the characteristics of each of these insulating materials is vital to producing a finished product that functions in a safe and efficient fashion. For example, some plastic insulations are inexpensive and have very good mechanical properties for many applications, but can emit a toxic halogens, making them inappropriate for use in some custom cable assemblies.

Fillers – like cotton, nylon, kevlar, PVC, and fleece – are used to ensure optimum performance in a custom cable. They have a variety of uses in custom cable assembly design, including reducing heat and friction as well as helping the cable maintain its shape.

Wraps, Shields, & Jacket Materials

Finally, choosing the appropriate wraps, shields, and jacket materials protects the conductors from interference, friction, and environmental conditions. The application, environment, and installation process can all be factors in what materials should be used to create your custom cable. There are a variety of plastics, rubbers, and fluoropolymers with differing resistance to heat, cold, moisture, and abrasion. With so many materials available, the knowledge and experience of your custom cable manufacturer can mean the difference between a well-performing cable at a reasonable price and an unnecessarily expensive or poorly performing product.

Custom Cables for Prototyping

Customized cable produced by a manufacturer specializing in prototyping and design can set your product apart.

Custom Cables for Prototyping
Custom Cables for Prototyping

 

When looking for high quality, fairly priced materials for creating a prototype, it can be a challenge to find the right wiring components for your specific product and industry. There is no shortage of options when it comes to custom wiring and it can be a challenge to determine which material will be best for your product and wiring needs. By partnering with a manufacturer on Custom Cables for Prototyping, you and your team will have a knowledgeable resource to turn to when making these decisions. This can be the difference between a successful prototype and one that does not live up to expectations.

Simplifying the Production Process

Consulting with a manufacturer capable of extruding small amounts of specialized wiring to enhance and perfect a product is an important step in the manufacturing process. There are so many choices to be made regarding wiring systems that opting not to work with an engineer, instead of making assumptions about the best type of wiring to use, can be dangerous. To determine a product’s voltage, required wire gauge, and optimal heat rating engineers work with a series of calculations to ensure that they are producing a safe and effective product. If these calculations are not performed correctly or are overlooked, the resulting product could overheat, cause shorts, fires, or even injury.

Reducing Costs by Partnering with a Cable Manufacturer to Produce Custom Cables for Prototyping

Cost is often seen as a barrier to working with a cable manufacturer. However, by working with an experienced cable manufacturing company, you can reduce the costs that are typically spent on experimenting with various products and wiring systems in an effort to determine which one will be most effective. Your manufacturer’s expertise and industry knowledge will guide you and your team to the systems that will be ideal for your product and its various functions. This will save time and the intensive research process that usually goes with choosing wiring materials without the guidance of an engineer.

Custom Cables for Prototyping Your Project

Custom Cables for Prototyping
Custom Cables for Prototyping

By utilizing custom materials, your product is likely to be streamlined and optimized for speedy manufacturing and assembly. This is beneficial if you intend to manufacture your product on a large scale, as much of the planning and manufacturing optimization will have been worked out previously. With a functional prototype of your project, you will be able to assess and make any modifications before it is produced on a large scale. This will cut costs while providing you with a highly customized wiring system designed for your specific product needs.

Testing Your Wire Harness or Cable Assembly

Product testing is another important part of the manufacturing process, assuring that everything works as planned and is durable enough to withstand the product’s intended conditions. Manufacturers utilize a variety of testing methods to assess quality including: advanced life testing labs, pull testing, and measuring the consistency of the product’s voltage. Understanding areas that could be improved on are important to a product’s functionality and acceptance in the marketplace. Product testing is an invaluable step in. ensuring that your product works as planned and does not need further adjustments or alterations before being manufactured on a large scale.

Working with a manufacturer is an important step in designing and producing custom wiring for a new product. By working with a manufacturer, you have the ability to create unique wires and cables that are optimized to work seamlessly with your product. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Meridian Team to learn more about the options that exist for your next wiring project.

Custom Cables for Prototyping and Refining Your Process

Creating Custom Design Cables

Creating Your Own Custom Design Cables

Creating Custom Design Cables
Creating Custom Design Cables

Manufacturing custom design cable on a small-scale.

Working with a cable manufacturer to produce custom design cables for prototypes.

When working on a small-scale project or making a prototype, it’s tempting to try your hand at electrical engineering. After all, you have likely contacted a few wiring and cabling manufacturers and found that they only produce large quantities of wiring. This adds an additional layer of difficulty for those Creating Custom Design Cables on a small-scale; however, finding a manufacturer that produces small quantities of custom design cables can prove to be beneficial. The expertise that a custom manufacturer has to offer can eliminate the additional time, and costs, that often arise when choosing to produce your own custom wiring. Some of the unexpected costs and stressors associated with choosing to craft wire harnesses and cable assemblies without consulting a manufacturer include:

Finding Specialized Tools When Creating Custom Design Cables:

While wiring and cabling often seems straightforward, the process usually requires more tooling than expected. Manufacturer assemblies go through various rounds of testing and quality assurance to ensure that the practices and processes utilized will yield a quality product. Cable manufacturing companies utilize a variety of testing materials beyond multimeters to test their products including clamp testing, life cycle testing, capacitor testing, and more.

Aside from this, specialized training and custom tooling are required to create highly customized wiring systems. One example of this can be seen when working with a wire’s connectors. Some of these connectors need to be soldered to the wire, while others require the use of crimp connectors. Crimping tools can be used for this, but the less expensive hand-held ones are known to be fallible – particularly when the user is inexperienced. Incorrectly crimping a connector can lead to loose connections that create air pockets, deformed connectors that are more likely to break or come apart, and a plethora of other issues.

Finding the Appropriate Materials When Creating Custom Design Cables:

Assembly cabling typically requires a level of specialization that is difficult to find when choosing from off-the-shelf options. The jacketing and filler materials used in the custom wire harnesses and cable assemblies created by trained manufacturers can be made to exacting specifications. These specifications can include resistance to certain types of chemicals and oils, adding protection against UV rays, ensuring that the product is heat rated, and a variety of other useful features.

Understanding the Exact Specifications of Your Wiring:

Calculating the wire gauge that your product requires to function optimally is a difficult process that requires an understanding of industry best practices and standards. These vary based on the type of product that you will be producing, the product’s intended industry, the area that the product will be sold in and more. By working with a manufacturer and their team of engineers, you can ensure that your product meets required safety standards early on in the manufacturing process so that major changes will not have to be made down the line.

Working With Wiring Diagrams on Your Creating Custom Design Cables:

Producing a wiring diagram and planning out the way that the wires and cables will run in your product is an important aspect of the design process. This maps out how long the wires or cables will need to be, where the wires and cables will run to avoid interference, and is an important tool for communicating with other manufacturers about the product’s design and layout. Unfortunately though, many often skip this step when crafting their own wiring or cabling systems. This is detrimental as it becomes increasingly difficult to communicate the layout of the wiring, label the products in use, and ensure that the wires do not interfere with one another. An experienced manufacturer will be able to produce an accurate wiring diagram for your product to eliminate this confusion.

At Meridian Cable, our team specializes in creating small batches of customized products. With our experience creating products on a small-scale, we are able to work with our customers to design wiring and cabling that compliments their products and helps them to run as efficiently as possible. If you need a custom cable, cable assembly, or wire harness – don’t hesitate to contact the Meridian Team.

Creating Custom Design Cables – When it’s Time to Work with a Manufacturer

Markings on Custom Cables

Understanding the colors and markings on your custom cabling.

The basics of custom design cables’ markings and symbols, and what the Markings on Custom Cables mean for your product.

Custom design cables may have a series of markings on them that are intended to denote their function and proper usage. As a cable customer, you want to ensure that your cabling complies with industry standards and norms to avoid confusion while making installation and maintenance as simple as possible for the end user. Here are some of the common Markings on Custom Cables along with indicators that often appear on quality customized cable.

The Lettering and Markings on Custom Cables

Markings on Custom Cables
Markings on Custom Cables

When designing cable, the manufacturer will often print lettering on the product’s jacketing during production. The purpose of this lettering is to let users know about the product’s specifications before installing it. Below are some of the letters that are commonly used in custom cable design and what they mean.

  • H – This indicates that the wire is safe to use in temperatures that will not exceed 75°C.
  • HH–  This combination means that the cables or wiring were designed to withstand temperatures that will not exceed 90°C.
  • T – The letter “T” indicates that the custom cables have thermoplastic jacketing. This type of jacketing is made of a durable material that has the ability to insulate and protect your wiring – even in rugged or industrial uses.
  • X– The “X” typically indicates that the wire’s jacketing is made of a thermoset material. Thermosets have a higher heat tolerance than thermoplastics, which typically makes them more suitable for higher temperature applications.
  • W – “W” typically indicates that the product is safe for use in conditions that may be damp or involve contact with water.
  • N – This wire has a nylon coating, the benefit of nylon is that it can protect your product from abrasions and from several corrosive materials such as oil and gas.

The Color of Your Custom Cable

Many of these combinations will depend on the geographic location of the final product and the standards there. To avoid confusion, it is important to ask your manufacturer to research this before making a final decision.

It is also important to note that the different color combinations used in wiring projects vary based on a number of additional factors including the type of project, the number of conductors associated with it, and the aesthetic of the final project. Because of these factors, you will likely need to rely on your wire manufacturer and designer to determine the most appropriate color combinations for your product’s cable or wire.

At Meridian, we have the capability to design custom cable in a variety of colors and color combinations to match the aesthetic of your product, speed up installation, and promote safe maintenance. We also have the ability to manufacture these products, producing prototypes along the way to ensure your product’s efficiency and functionality.

Decoding The Markings on Your Custom Design Cables

Filler Materials Used in Custom Cables

When manufacturing custom cable, there is an array of options and specific choices that must be made. One of these choices is the Filler Materials for Custom Cables and understanding the filler that will be ideal for your product.

Developing custom cable capable of handling your industry’s specific needs, increasing efficiency and maximizing budgets.
Between the wires housed in your cable assembly, there is typically a filler material helping to keep these wires in place and ensure that the cable stays round in cross-section.

Filler Materials for Custom Cables
Filler Materials for Custom Cables

This filler can vary greatly in material ranging from foam substances to plastics to aramid fibers, and all of these materials have differing properties that they can impart on your custom assemblies. Fillers have several functions within a cord including helping the cord to retain its shape and reducing friction and heat which can degrade your wiring over time. There are several available Filler Materials for Custom Cables that can be utilized within your cabling to reduce these adverse reactions and increase the lifespan of your product.

 

Filler Materials for Custom Cables: Filler Tapes

Your manufacturer may choose to utilize tape to hold various wires together to make the manufacturing process simpler. This can prevent tangled wiring by keeping all of the cable’s necessary wires together before incorporating it into a cable assembly. Tape is also an effective filler material for expelling any air pockets that may have been trapped between the various wires housed within the cabling. Many cable manufacturers also use tape to bundle the wiring together to form the desired shape. This is beneficial as some applications may require a thin, flat cord while others may benefit from a cable with a perfectly rounded circumference. Tapes can also be used to create separate groups of wires within the same cable. This is can help processing the cable and making attaching components easier.

Tape is a beneficial filler material in part due to the added benefits that tapes made of various materials can add to your product. Such materials include:

  • Polyimide tape: This type of tape can be used in high temperature applications and would be a helpful addition to assembly cabling that will be required to handle high-temperatures.
  • Water-swelling tape: This is a filler that will swell to offer an additional line of protection to the conductors held inside of the jacketing in case it is damaged, leaving the tape as the only barrier to protect the conductor. While a material like this may cost more initially, it has the potential to save your wiring system from shorts and water damage.
  • PTFE tape: This type of tape is also well suited for high heat and high friction uses. It is very durable and can withstand industrial applications. If your wire will be used in a rugged environment, ask your manufacturer if this type of tape would be an effective option for your cable’s wiring.

Filler Materials for Custom Cables: Additional Materials

  • Polyethylene: This type of thermoplastic can be molded fairly easily and because it’s relatively light, it is useful for longer cables.
  • Foam Fillers: Foam fillers can be made out of a variety of materials and are effective for filling in small spaces between wires and retaining the cable’s shape.
  • Cotton: This is a low-cost solution which could be a benefit when creating long strands of wiring that will not require extreme durability. Cotton can be an effective filler for cords that need to be flexible as the cotton is not as restrictive as plastic fillers. Additives, such as flame retardant additives, can be used to customize this solution to tailor the wiring to your product and its needs.
  • Steel: This filler can be used when strength is needed. It can be “tied off” at either end of an assembly thereby transferring any force the cable encounters away from the conductors and onto a housing or structure inside the assembly.

Filler Materials for Custom Cables: Wiring that does not Utilize Fillers

Cabling that doesn’t need to have additional strength added to it can sometimes do without an additional filler. Cables with just a few internal wires may be able to forgo fillers and the extra protection that they offer if the wires are static in use and will not be exposed to bending, cycling or extreme conditions like water, chemicals, signal interference, or heat. Another factor to consider is the arrangement and geometry of your wiring system. Concentric and compacted strands likely don’t need to have fillers added to help them to retain their shape, but wiring with rope strand or sector conductor arrangements will not form a circular wire without the addition of fillers.

Custom cable assemblies and custom cables often require fillers to ensure that they are able to work as effectively as possible and are protected from the elements and other stressors that they may encounter. Not all cables require fillers though, and they can alter the price of the final cable product. As a cable customer, it’s important that you understand what type of filler, if any, will be necessary to properly handle the needs of your cable and the wiring housed within it.

What Are The Types of Filler Materials for Custom Cables?