Category Archives: Cable Design

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?

How to choose your Cable Assembly Conductor Material

Conductors are vital to the success of any custom wiring project. The Pros and Cons of Cable Assembly Conductor Materials.

As soon as the topic of Cable Assembly Conductor Material is brought up during the cable manufacturing and design process, you likely envision a long strand of copper and assume that is what goes into all wiring products. However, as with everything involving wiring – it’s much more complex than that. Two of the most common conductors used when cabling industrial wiring are bare wire and tinned wire.

How to choose your Cable Assembly Conductor Material
How to choose your Cable Assembly Conductor Material

While they each have their own benefits, they also come with their own set of downsides depending on the product and environment that they will be housed in. It’s important to utilize your manufacturer’s insight and expertise when choosing a conductor for your cable’s wiring, and are not just choosing one over the other based on price. This can be detrimental to the final product and prevent the manufacturer’s cable assembly from being as effective as possible.

Here, we’ll discuss two of the most commonly used types of conductors and the pros and cons of each:

Cable Assembly Conductor Material: Bare Copper

As the name suggests, bare copper is simply a strand of copper without any type of coating on it.

Pros of Bare Copper

The major benefit of using bare copper is that it costs less than coated copper. An additional benefit of bare copper is that it does not take as long to produce because it does not have to be covered with a fine layer of tin, so fewer materials are required for its production. Bare wire may be beneficial in reducing production time if the wiring has to be custom extruded, so it may be useful if there is an extreme need to speed up the production process. These factors combined can reduce the price of bare wire by as much as 15% compared to tinned wire.

Bare wire is also a great choice if your manufacturer intends to use crimp connectors. Crimp connectors can be used to connect wires to one another or to a terminal by clamping the metal arms of the connector tightly around the conductor. This method is more effective when used with bare wire than tinned wire. If a specific type of connector must be used, it’s important to take this into account before settling on a conductor and beginning to manufacture your product.

Cons of Bare Copper

An issue with bare copper is that it is susceptible to corrosion and oxidation. This oxidation is often visible as the copper begins to change color and turns green as a result of exposure to the elements. Over time, this oxidation begins to hinder the copper wire’s conductivity and may even corrode it to the point that the wires begin to degrade. To avoid this, solvents can be used to clean the wire, but this is a tedious process and requires the use of an array of chemicals. If the wire will not be housed in a spot that is easy to access and service, this may not be the best option for your product. If the wire will be stored in a relatively dry environment and will not be exposed to moisture or humidity, the bare copper wire may be suited for the project, as it is not likely to require this level of maintenance.

Cable Assembly Conductor Material: Tinned Copper

The copper conductor is housed in a thin layer of tin to protect it from the elements.

Pros of Tinned Copper

Tinned copper conductors are suited for custom cable that will be housed in humid conditions, near saltwater, and for products that require an extended lifespan. Because of this, this is often the preferred type of wiring used in the marine industry to protect the copper conductor from succumbing to oxidation. The tin used to cover these conductors can also add strength to the wiring system which can contribute to the longevity of the product.

Tinned cable is a useful Cable Assembly Conductor Material that requires a connector to be soldered onto the assembly’s cables. The tin coating is helpful when soldering terminals onto the wire and can make the process easier and more effective.

Cons of Tinned Copper

Tinned copper tends to be more expensive than bare copper as a result of the additional materials needed and the increased time and effort it takes to produce this type of wiring. Because of the price increase, many are hesitant to utilize this type of wiring for their products. Admittedly, this type of product can become increasingly expensive when creating a cable with multiple conductors in it, and depending on your product, each wire strand may need to be coated in tin individually. However, the additional functionality and lifespan of tinned copper often results in lasting benefits that outweigh the initial cost.

Choosing the right type of conductor material for your next project is dependent on your product’s intended lifespan, location, and the desired durability of the end product. It’s important to work closely with your manufacturer, engineers, and designers to determine the type of conductor that your product will need to be as effective as possible.

Which Conductor Material is Your Cable Assembly Manufacturer Choosing to Utilize?

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison – SJOW, SVO, and TPR

Your guide to choosing materials for your product’s coil cords.

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison
Coil Cord Design Product Comparison

A Coil Cord Design Product Comparison allows you to choose materials for your product when comparing coiled cords and the jacketing required for them. It’s likely that you encountered a string of acronyms and had to make sense of them to decide which one would be ideal for your product and its industrial needs. Interpreting these differences and figuring out which material will be ideal for your product and its cabling requirements can be a challenge. We understand how difficult making this decision can be, so we crafted this post to help you to decipher these differences and choose the right type of wiring for your product. Here we’ll cover some of the more common types of cabling, the industries that each are commonly used in, the best type of application for these wires, and more.

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison: SJOW

SJOW indicates that the cable is a junior service cable. This type of cable can withstand up to 300 volts.The jacket will be oil resistant, which is beneficial if the product will be in a harsh work environment. This type of custom coil cord is non-permeable and ideal for environments where corrosive oils could hinder the cable’s functionality. The jacketing is also weather resistant and is rated for indoor and outdoor use. This combination of features makes this jacketing ideal for custom cable that will be used with small-scale machinery. The product’s low weight combined with its resistance to abrasions makes it ideal for use with portable products.

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison: SVO

This is a lighter duty vacuum cable and, as the name suggests, it is often used in household appliances. Up to 300 volts can be transmitted through this type of cabling though, so it is capable of handling quite a bit of power. Despite this, the product is best suited for smaller household machinery that is likely to encounter light household use. These cables are typically made of neoprene, so they can be useful for products that will encounter a broad range of temperatures. The use of neoprene means that the product is fairly resistant to UV rays and can handle everyday use.

Coil Cord Design Product Comparison: TPR

This type of thermoplastic rubber is durable and heat resistant, making it perfect for a product that will have to work effectively in a variety of temperatures. This plastic can also be colored easily, making it great for products that require a certain aesthetic. This capability is also beneficial for wiring that needs to be clearly differentiated for installation purposes. As with most plastics, this product is durable and can withstand wear and tear while remaining flexible.

These are just a few of the options to discuss with your cable designer during the design and manufacturing process. Custom cabling is an extremely difficult product to manufacture as a result of the geometry, vast knowledge of manufacturing materials, understanding of cabling machinery, and more that all go into producing quality cable. Because of this level of complexity, it’s often best to have cords designed for your product rather than hoping that off-the-shelf options will be suitable. With wires, cable cords, coil cords, and other vital components of your product – it’s often best to have an experienced designer guide your team through the design, production, and manufacturing process.  

With so many cable assemblies manufacturers competing for your business, how do you choose the right cabling manufacturer?

Does the cabling manufacturer understand your product?

Having cabling custom made to your product’s specifications is an important part of the design and manufacturing process and, when designed properly, will add to the longevity and durability of your product.

cabling manufacturer competition
cabling manufacturer competition

With over 25 years of industry experience, we know the questions to ask to weed out the cabling manufacturers who may not have the ability, or experience, to manufacture highly technical cabling. We also understand that this is a niche field that is both hard to research and difficult to find information on. To combat this, our goal is always to provide those looking for custom cable assemblies with as much useful information as possible. Here are some of our top questions to ask when assessing cable manufacturers:

Does the cabling manufacturer strive to understand your product and are they excited to work with your design team to improve it?

At Meridian Cable, engineering is our passion. We work with our customers’ design teams to find innovative wiring solutions that will complement their products, adding value to them. It is always our goal to find materials and custom solutions to make our customers’ products as durable as possible. Here are a few things to ask your manufacturer about based on the product you’re producing:

  • What type of jacketing will this custom cable have? There are many options available, and these coverings can be customized to accommodate virtually any scenario. An experienced cable manufacturing company will be able to consider options like Polyurethane for cabling that will be exposed to extreme temperatures, or Chlorinated Polyethylene for custom assemblies that will be exposed to abrasive materials.
  • Will your product be exposed to extreme heat? If so, ask your manufacturer about jacketing material such as Polytetrafluoroethylene which often can withstand temperatures of 200⁰C.

Does this company typically manufacture custom goods, or are they focused on producing off-the-shelf cable assemblies and wires?

If your cable assembly manufacturer is not familiar with the steps involved in custom designing assemblies, issues are likely to arise down the road. Because of the intricacies of custom cables, things can very easily go wrong – using wiring that cannot carry the proper voltage or jacketing that is not durable enough, for example, can wreak havoc on your final product. Ask potential manufacturers for examples of their work or past references to assess their quality and service throughout the production phase. These steps will give your team peace of mind when working with a cable designer.

Where does the cabling manufacturer source their materials?

When manufacturing cable assemblies on a large scale, it’s important to understand where your manufacturer sources their raw materials from and if this distributor is known for supplying quality goods. It’s also important to determine if the manufacturer will be designing the cable assemblies, wire, and cabling in-house or if they subcontract this work. If so, it’s important to research the subcontractor and ensure that all parties communicate openly and frequently to design a great product.

What quality assurance steps is your manufacturer taking to ensure that the cabling and wiring produced are of the highest quality?

This wiring will be used in a product that bears your company’s name and thus needs to function reliably. To ensure that the assembly is of the highest quality, the manufacturer should test the following:

  • Does the cabling manufacturer strive to understand your product
    Does the cabling manufacturer strive to understand your product

    Continuity

  • Polarity
  • Functionality
  • Withstand Voltage
  • Mechanical Durability

These are all key properties to assess to ensure that your wiring functions properly and consistently. You can find more detailed information on testing and assessing quality assurance in this industry in our blog post on the topic.

We hope that this helps you to narrow down your options when choosing a cable assembly manufacturer to work with. We know that this can be a challenge and are happy to work with our clients to ensure that they understand the entirety of the design, production, and decision-making process.