Category Archives: Wire & Cable

The Many Uses of the Humble Curly Cord

The Many Uses of the Humble Curly Cord 

When we think of a curly cord, our minds usually go straight to the spiral apparatuses that tether corded telephone handsets. But you might find it surprising to learn just how many applications and industries this humble cord has made its way into. From military, to industrial, medical, and so many applications in between, the curly cord has made a name for itself as a brilliant utility. Read on as we explore how this simple, unpretentious concept carries out some of life’s greatest missions.

In a land of cordless, what’s the need for curly cords?

With so many of today’s gadgets “cutting the cord,” you might wonder how a curly cord could continue to prove useful. The truth is, wireless applications just aren’t as stable as a corded one. Have you ever noticed how much faster your internet is when you plug directly into your internet router? This is because the medium being transferred, whether that’s power, signal, data, or a mix thereof, is made in a dedicated line, rather than being “broadcast”, so there’s much less data/power/signal loss with a fully-corded connection. Below we’ll look at just some of the many varied applications where having a dedicated line, and also one that is free of obstruction, is still critical.

One Concept, Endless Applications

From car parts to medical devices, the curly cord continues to provide a safe, efficient way to manage the cord fray today’s electronics designs demand.  

  • Refrigerators: providing crucial internal wiring for fridges and other appliances to remain space efficient in a confined area.
  • Telephones: one of the most notable applications, curly cords provide a safe tether for headsets and allow for stretch before returning to a shorter length when the set is cradled.
  • Microphones/Speakers: helping vocalists avoid tying themselves up as they perambulate their respective stages. 
  • Cell Phone Chargers: providing a space efficient means to charge this now-vital life tool.
  • HDMI: allowing for the consumer to plug every device known to man with ease and efficiency into the rear of their television sets.  
  • Data/Network: USB, ethernets, and other data cords all running side-by-side without a rat’s nest of cords occurring as a result.
  • Medical Sensors: within the medical field, curly cords serve a monumental purpose in providing a safe way to manage the “pull” of a device such as a scanner attached to a patient. The cord allows  for weight distribution while still giving the patient and medical staff leeway in movement, all while staying out of the way when accessibility is needed.
  • Steering Wheels: for automotive and boating, you need special ranges of curly cords for different toggle switches and relays. 
  • Communication/Radios: police, fire/rescue, and others using handheld radios rely on the curly cord for keeping the microphone secure and out of the way, yet mobile.

Non-Electrical Lanyards/Tethers

Curly cords have endless applications in the non-electric field, as well. And here you thought curly cords were limited to data, electric, and signals. Think lanyards for identification badges, a secure tether for a police officer’s sidearm, or anti-theft security devices attached to phones at the mall. These are just some of the many different uses for non-electric curly cords. 

How are Curly Cords Made?

Every cord is made using different processes depending on the utility of that particular cord. For those wanting to see the process first hand, we have a cool video of a worker at our production facility in China making a quill cord by hand. For this process, a worker inserts a piece of rod into a specially-designed motor and then secures a length of cord with clamps to one end of the rod. Using a foot pedal to activate the motor spinning, the worker tightly wraps the cord down the length of the rod, to whatever specifications are needed for that job. A quick clamp and snip on the finished side and the cord-wrapped rod is placed in a rack ready to be sent to the oven to bake and be set. Sounds easy, but each cord is engineered to withstand the rigorous requirements set by its use. A certain type of cord may be required to achieve half a million extension/retractions without failure in order to be safe and efficient in its application. 

Advantages of Meridian Curly Cords

At Meridian, we design and manufacture cable assemblies. It’s all we’ve done for nearly three decades. One of our greatest advantages lies in our ability to custom design all types of different cords. We own our own production facilities both in the U.S. and in China to ensure we have the capability to provide our clients with the exact cords needed, wherever the application may be. From the first strand of copper through the final outer jacket, we engineer every step of our products with painstaking detail so that our products meet our clients’ most exacting requirements. When you’re ready to discuss your project’s cable needs, speak to one of our knowledgeable cable specialists to explore your options and find the perfect cable to meet your specifications.

Wire Harness 101 with a Wire & Cable Manufacturer

Wire Harness 101 with a Wire & Cable Manufacturer

Wire harnesses can be tricky without the help of an experienced wire and cable manufacturer.

At its most basic, a wire harness is an effective way to organize wires or cables by grouping or bundling them together in order to transmit signal or electrical power. They can be used in almost any application that requires multiple wires or cables. While many of these harnesses are complex with multiple wires and components, they don’t have to be. A wire and cable manufacturer is able to design and produce a wide variety of complex or simple wire harnesses that are truly tailored to the needs of your project.

Benefits of Wire Harnesses

Complex equipment and machinery often require a great deal of wiring to function. Running each and every one of these wires separately can be time consuming. Additionally, that many wires can be bulky if there are space constraints, and keeping multiple wires organized and running in the right direction can be challenging. Integrating the component cables and wires into a single harness allows for faster, easier installation that doesn’t take up more valuable space than necessary.

However, there’s more to it than just a neat and tidy wiring system. In some cases, it is extremely important to prevent certain wires from coming into contact. Designing a wire harness instead of running individual wires allows a wire and cable manufacturer to better protect the conductors from environmental issues like vibration, moisture, heat, cold, and abrasion. Bundled wires can also be further protected from shorts and electrical fires by using non-flexing or flame retardant jacketing materials.

Manual Assembly

Believe it or not, a wire harness is more efficiently manufactured by hand. There are steps during the pre-production stage that can be automated, but the assembly process can be complex. Depending on the needs of the project, production can include multiple steps, such as:wire harness

  • Taping Breakouts
  • Binding Components with Tape, Cable Ties, or Clamps
  • Conducting Multiple Crimps
  • Routing Wires through Sleeves

This makes manual assembly more economical, especially when working in small batches. The manual assembly process also means wire harnesses can take a little longer to produce than individual wires. It’s vital to work with an experienced wire and cable manufacturer that understands how to keep the production process on schedule.

Testing Performed by a Wire & Cable Manufacturer

No reputable wire and cable manufacturer would deliver a wire harness that has not been fully tested. However, the sheer number of cable and wire components makes this process a little more involved than testing individual wires. That’s where a pre-programmed test board comes in. By programming the test board with the required electrical characteristics for the project, we are able to plug in the finished wire harness and test the components individually or in groups as needed making for a safer, more stable final product.


An experienced wire and cable manufacturer is a valuable partner when you need a well-designed wire harness. Not only are they able to design a harness that meets all of the requirements of your equipment, but they are also knowledgeable enough to understand the time and budgetary challenges involved in producing a complex solution. When you’re ready to start your next project, contact the team at Meridian Cable. We look forward to talking with you.

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.

Designing and Maintaining Your Product’s Customized Wiring

Designing and Maintaining Your Product’s Customized Wiring

Collaborating with a custom cable manufacturer to produce durable wiring that meets your product’s specifications.

Like the majority of industrial products, wiring systems must also be designed and maintained properly in order to withstand harsh conditions. If these products are not looked after and properly attended to, the results can be negative–resulting in a large piece of machinery breaking down and causing delays, or something as catastrophic as a fire. To avoid many of the issues that can result from damaged wiring, it is important to gain an understanding of the customization that your product’s wiring requires and of any maintenance that may be needed. The best place to get this information will likely be from your product’s wire and cable manufacturer. When discussing this, there are a few key elements to keep in mind:

Protecting Your Custom Wiring From Corrosion

The majority of wiring is made of copper, which is susceptible to corrosion when used in harsh or damp conditions. Cables that will be buried, for example, must be coated in a thick jacketing that can withstand conditions underground. Aside from this jacketing, this type of wire must also be sealed so that the soil and any materials in it cannot damage the inner conductor.

Water can also corrode copper over time and most of us have seen the green and white residue that often forms on copper pipes. The wiring’s proximity to water should be considered and addressed by your wiring manufacturer. Specialized techniques can be applied in these instances, particularly if the wiring will come into contact with salt water. When possible, wiring that encounters such conditions should be inspected regularly for signs of damage to the jacketing and residue building up around connectors. Damaged wiring, or wiring that shows signs of corrosion, must be repaired to ensure that it continues to function optimally.

The Right Jacketing Material For Your Custom Wiring

color wire
Designing and Maintaining Your Product’s Customized Wiring

The proper jacketing can be the difference between a long-lasting wiring system and a system that falters. With the proper jacketing, a wiring system should be able to withstand and protect the wiring’s vital conductors from damage resulting from motion, environmental factors including animals and insects, and water if necessary. There are so many additional factors that can alter a wiring system’s functionality that it is important to work with an experienced wire manufacturer who understands your industry and product.

Armed with an understanding of your product and its functionality, your cabling manufacturer should be able to choose an appropriate material that will reduce the wear and tear on your product, minimizing the amount of maintenance that it will require. Contrary to what many assume, there are many types of wire jacketing available to protect your product’s wiring system. This jacketing can be made so that it is resistant to cuts and UV rays, crafted so that it is resistant to high temperatures, and more. The innovation in this industry means that you are sure to find a product that is ideal for your custom wiring needs.

Because of the crucial role that wiring plays in modern machinery and communication, it is important that the wiring you choose to utilize is reliable. To ensure that you are receiving high quality wiring that will last, talk to your manufacturer about the options that are available and the level of specialization that your product or industry demands.


Single and Multi-Stranded Wiring for Cable Assemblies

Ensuring that your manufacturer’s cable assembly meets your product’s specific design requirements.

Determining the various differences and use cases for single strand and Multi-Stranded Wiring and conductors can be difficult. The difference isn’t a visible one, and with all of the variables in designing custom wiring, it’s not likely to be one that you and your team think of. However, this difference can dictate whether your product succeeds or fails – if a wire in your product cannot withstand movement and cracks as a result, it’s not likely to be well received by customers. To ensure that your product uses a conductor material that is suited for your industry and the type of custom cable that you will be utilizing, work with your manufacturer’s engineers and designers to ensure that the best choices are being made for your custom cable.

Here are some of the important differences between single and multi-stranded wiring, and what these differences will mean to your final product:

Single Stranded Wiring:

  • This type of wiring is typically less expensive to manufacture than a multi-stranded wire as it does not require as much processing.
  • Single stranded wire is not as flexible as the alternative. This lack of flexibility can increase the likelihood of metal fatigue and the wire snapping as a result. Because of this, single stranded wires are best suited for products that won’t encounter much movement.
  • This type of wiring is often only used in smaller gauge wiring applications as it can be difficult to maneuver and utilize a heavy gauge, single conductor wire.

Multi-Stranded Wiring:

  • This type of wiring has a higher cost due to the need for more rounds of extrusion and stranding.
  • Multi-strand wiring is more flexible and less susceptible to cracking and metal fatigue than single stranded conductors. This makes it the preferable solution for wiring that will need to maneuver and bend without experiencing metal fatigue.
  • The increased surface area of multi-stranded conductors decreases the amount of resistance that currents or signal passing through the wire will encounter.
  • Multi-stranded wiring can create challenges when soldering connectors or terminals as it can be difficult to ensure that all of the small strands have been soldered properly.  If this type of wire is soldered, it is good practice to tin the wire first. This type of wiring is better suited for use with an application that requires a crimp connector. The small, flexible strands of wire typically crimp easily and mold to the crimp connector very well.

Multi-Stranded Wiring
Multi-Stranded Wiring

Types of stranding arrangements for Multi-Stranded Wiring

If your project seems suited for multi-conductor wiring, there are a variety of geometric arrangements that the wires can be put into to optimize the final product. These geometries include:

  • Concentric Arrangements – This is a common wire arrangement in which the conductors  are arranged in concentric circles. The benefit of this arrangement is that the wires can be bunched tightly together to maintain the wire’s shape, reducing the need for additional filler material in many instances.
  • Bunch Arrangements – Unlike concentric stranding, the wires are not arranged in a specific geometry, but are simply grouped together and then twisted to ensure that they remain tightly packed.
  • Rope Arrangements – This arrangement groups strands of conductors together in several small bundles. These bundles are then arranged in concentric circles. This increases the flexibility of the final wire, making it ideal for applications that require a great deal of movement or will be housed in a product that moves frequently or in multiple directions. This arrangement is more popular in applications with a larger wire gauge size, adding to the product’s overall durability and functionality.
  • Annular Arrangements – In this arrangement, conductors are centered around a circular core that is not typically conductive. This helps the conductor material to retain its shape. This arrangement can be helpful for reducing the wire’s resistance.

These are just a few of the various geometric shapes that can be used in the wire and cable manufacturing process. Choosing the most effective type of conductor for your wiring project is key to its efficiency and reducing the odds that your product will need service down the line.

Will Single or Multi-Stranded Wiring Be Suited To Your Custom Cable Assembly?

Gauges for Custom Wiring

Optimize your product by choosing the right conductor and Gauges for Custom Wiring and your custom cable assembly.

Make your product as effective as possible with these tips for designing custom wiring and identifying proper gauges for custom wiring.

The size of a wire’s conductor plays an important role in the functionality of the final product. The gauge of the conductor material impacts the flow of signal and electricity through a wiring system and can alter the cost of the wiring as a result of the amount of material needed to extrude a conductor of the specified size.

wire and cable manufacturers
wire and cable manufacturers

Determining the appropriate Gauges for Custom Wiring is fairly complex, and custom cable assembly manufacturers must gain an understanding of the final product’s uses and nuances such as the length of wire that will be needed to connect the terminals, the voltage or signal type that the wire must carry, and a variety of additional aspects.

After all of these details have been taken into account, the manufacturer will have to work through a series of steps and equations to properly determine which gauge will be most appropriate for your project. While it’s a complex process, there are a few factors that can be taken into account to help estimate the most appropriate wire gauge for your custom assemblies:

The Wire’s Resistance

The wire’s resistance is dependent, in part, on the gauge of the conductor. The larger the circumference of the wire, the less resistance the signal or electrical current passing through it will encounter. If the gauge is too small; the wire’s circumference is not large enough to handle the current passing through it and the wire risks becoming overheated. This is because of the high resistance created by the current as it attempts to pass through a wire that is too small to accommodate that many electrons. This could also prevent your product from working as effectively as possible because it is receiving the wrong amount of signal.

Resistance is Also Tied to the Wire’s Length

The longer the wire, the farther the signal will have to travel before reaching a terminal point. This creates increased resistance which can weaken the signal as it passes through the cable’s wire. Your manufacturer may have to use a wire with a larger gauge to ensure that the signal is able to travel across longer runs effectively without losing too much thermal energy.

A Note About the Way Gauges are Labeled

Gauges are a bit counterintuitive in that as the physical size of the wire decreases; the gauge is referred to by a larger number. So a 12 gauge wire is physically larger in circumference than an 18 gauge wire, despite the assumption that the 18 gauge wire would be larger. As one would expect, the larger the wire, the more signal it can carry with less resistance.

Why Not Always Use a Larger Gauge?

A larger gauge size does have several benefits, such as potentially reducing energy costs, but it can also increase the cost of your product and prove to be unnecessary past a certain extent. The additional cost results from the increased copper or conductor material that will be necessary to make the conductor. However, extremely small conductors will also increase the cost of your cabling assembly as a result of the extensive extrusion process that they must go through.

Custom cable assemblies are intricate and it’s important to work with a manufacturer who understands this and has experience producing custom projects. Ask your manufacturer about their production and sourcing process, as well as similar products that they have made or provided service for. This will help you to determine their level of experience in your specific industry.

Working With Custom Cable Assembly Manufacturers to Determine the Proper Gauges for Your Custom Wiring

The Best Wire Testing Techniques for Your Custom Cable Assembly

It can be difficult to in that your cable manufacturer offers and which ones will be best for assessing your product.

Your guide to understanding the quality assurance testing options offered by your cable assembly manufacturer.

Despite the effort and planning involved in developing and designing wiring products, no wiring system is ever truly tested until it is placed in real-world scenarios. This is because it is so difficult to assess the way that a wiring system will actually work when put to the test and used with another highly specific product or machine. The type of testing that your custom cable will need to endure depends on several factors such as the product that it will be housed in, the cable or wire’s function, and how it will be handled on the job.

Here are some of the common Wire Testing Techniques that are used for testing materials:

Wire Testing Technique #1: Advanced Life Testing Labs

Wire Testing Techniques for Your Cable Assembly
Wire Testing Techniques for Your Cable Assembly

Advanced life testing labs are designed to put your custom assemblies and custom cable through rough conditions to see how durable they are while in use. This testing system can be as simple as attaching weights to the wire’s connectors or terminals to gain a sense of the wire’s strength, to more advanced testing designed to assess how the assembly might react to real world use. This type of testing is designed to provide you with an idea of the amount of wear and tear that the final product will be able to handle to determine if any adjustments need to be made prior to large-scale manufacturing. Advanced life testing is particularly common with coiled cords which tend to encounter stress resulting from over-stretching more than traditional cords.

Wire Testing Technique #2: Tensile Strength Testing

Tensile strength is the amount of force that a wire or cable can withstand before breaking. This is necessary for wires and cables that will be used in heavy duty industrial projects and are likely to be handled roughly. One way of testing tensile strength is to conduct pull testing. Pull testing applies force to both ends of the wiring system to determine how much force the wire can endure before losing its functionality. This may be a useful test to consider if your product will be in a rugged environment or will be used in a mechanism that will require it to withstand force or tugging.

Wire Testing Technique #3: Cycles to Failure Testing

Different types of cycles to failure testing can be performed depending on your custom wiring needs such as the product’s intended lifespan, if replacement parts are feasible for this product, if the product will encounter any chemicals, and any additional machinery the product will be exposed to. This type of testing is so beneficial because it can be used to determine how many times a cord can be stretched before breaking, how many times it can withstand weight or force being applied to it, or simply how many times a coiled cord can be pulled and recoil before it begins to lose functionality. This type of testing can also be used to benchmark products and then test subsequent revisions to gauge how much improvement is gained through design changes.

Wire Testing Technique #4: Testing the Cable’s Jacketing Material

This is another important factor to consider when determining if the cable or wire that has been produced will be able to withstand the unique conditions that your product must function in. This can be tested through the use of prototypes to see how the product will function in real-world conditions. There are also mechanized ways to determine the jacketing’s flexibility to ensure that it will not begin to bend or crack while in use.

Wire Testing Techniques for Your Cable Assembly
Wire Testing Techniques for Your Cable Assembly

This type of flexibility testing becomes very specific, and there are even different types of tests that can be performed based on the type of motion that your specific product will encounter. The different types of motion that can be assessed include rolling flex movements, bending flex motions, and random motion. Ask your manufacturer and design team to help you assess your final product’s type of motion, if any, to ensure that the end product works as efficiently as possible. It’s important to assess whether or not your product can withstand the wear and tear that it will encounter before your team begins manufacturing custom cable assemblies, assembly cabling, and other wiring products on a large scale.


Ensuring that your wiring can withstand the various stresses that it will encounter throughout its lifespan, with minimal need for service and repair, is important to the reputation and longevity of your product. Taking the time to test these elements and make various prototypes may seem like it’s putting a drag on the production process; however, this attention to detail and rigorous testing will pay off in the long run, resulting in a product that is ideal for your industry.

Assessing the Wire Testing Techniques that are Best for Your Custom Cable Assembly
The Ultimate Guide to Shopping for Custom Design Cables

The Ultimate Guide to Shopping for Custom Design Cables

A procurement professional’s guide to custom cable design terms and techniques.

While they’re something we all use every day, the majority of us don’t think about the cords that provide power and signal to the products that we rely on. Nor do we consider the tools, techniques, and designs that went into manufacturing and cabling these products. There’s much more to the design process than simply coating a piece of copper in plastic – industrial cable manufacturing is so much more complex than this. If you’ve been tasked with creating one of these designs or are working with a manufacturer to provide cabling solutions, you’re already aware of this. When choosing a manufacturer, it can be difficult to dig through the jargon and understand things like:

  • What are the highest quality materials that can be used for your product’s cables?
  • Does this manufacturer design custom cable frequently, or do they usually stick to stock cabling?

Because these questions can be tough to answer, we’ve created a guide to help those looking for custom design cables understand industry terms and buzzwords.

cable design terms and techniques
cable design terms and techniques

As a cable customer, it’s important that you understand how your product will be produced, serviced, and which production methods will be effective. This all starts in the design phase. This requires hands-on interaction between the manufacturer’s designers and the final product’s design team. Because cabling is so specific, it’s best to work with a manufacturer that has engineers on staff to custom design your cords and cables. During these discussions, the following elements are important to consider. These elements will help you to determine if your manufacturer understands the custom cable design that your product needs:

  • Is the manufacturer asking if these cables will be housed in another product?
  • If so, are they discussing the finished product’s functionality with you?
  • Are they asking about the temperatures that the product needs to withstand or if it needs to be weather resistant?
  • What type of signals does this customized cable need to carry and are the manufacturers willing to utilize multiple conductors?

These are a few things to address with your manufacturer to ensure that a quality product is produced.

After your custom cable has been sketched out, designed, and your manufacturer has addressed your initial design concerns – ask about the materials they intend to use. There is a great deal of variation here, but some materials to consider are:

  • The conductor material: The conductor is what the signal or data is transferred through, there is a host of metals that can perform this function, including:
    • Aluminum Conductor Steel Reinforced cabling – This is a very common type of conductor as it is highly conductive, sturdy, and cost effective. This makes this conductor great for designing cables that will span long lengths.
    • Thermal Resistant Aluminum Alloy Conductors Steel Reinforced cabling – These conductors have a high carrying capacity and can handle higher temperatures than many other conductors. This high carrying capacity makes them ideal solutions for adding more power to lines and refitting them.
    • Copper – This is the metal that most tend to think of as soon as they think of cabling. While this metal is highly conductive, it is also very susceptible to corrosion and can be costly.
  • Jacketing material: This is the outer coating of your wire or cable. It can be made to withstand various elements including chemicals, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, and extreme temperatures. Some of the common types of jacketing that we utilize are:
    • Polyurethane – This is an effective form of jacketing in environments that require a coating that is resistant to cuts. This coating is also very flexible but is not suited to extreme temperatures.
    • Thermoplastic Elastomer – Sometimes also called Thermoplastic Rubber, is a common choice as it is fairly versatile and resistant to higher temperatures and abrasions.
    • Polyvinyl Chloride – More commonly known as PVC, this form of jacketing is known for being durable and capable of withstanding high temperatures.

As a cable design customer, it can be difficult to understand all of the terms and industry jargon that are used during the design and production process. Cables designed for niche products can be particularly difficult to manufacture as a result of their highly specialized nature. This makes understanding the process and terminology used all the more difficult. We hope that our blogs and the advice found in them are helpful as you begin to work with a manufacturer. Custom cable design manufacturing can be difficult, but remember that there is no project too big or too small for Meridian Cable.  

Picking the Right Wiring System

Wire Harness Basics: Picking the Right Wiring System

Picking the correct wiring system for your product is an absolute must.

Choosing the wrong kind of Wiring System —one that’s not designed to handle the product’s noted electrical load, for instance—can lead to a commercial setback, as both you and the main manufacturer will have to scramble and waste production time trying to find a wiring system that fits the product’s electrical needs. Instead, it’s important to take your time, and to do your research thoroughly regarding your wiring needs before you pick out a system. Here are a few points to remember when Picking the Right Wiring System.

Wire Harness
Wire Harness

Picking the Right Wiring System

The Wire Harness Electrical Load

When choosing a wiring system, it’s important to understand your product’s voltage need. Wiring systems are specifically designed to handle certain voltage loads. Wires with a smaller wire diameter, for instance, are intended for lower voltage levels. While smaller wires might be more aesthetically pleasing, they aren’t designed to handle higher loads effectively: this can result in product failure, or worst-case scenario, the wires may seriously malfunction, creating a regrettable safety issue.

Wire Harness Safety

Wire systems have one main function: to transport electricity from a power source to a given product safely and effectively. The key word there is safely—if a wire system can’t handle a load properly, and a shortage occurs, this can potentially result in damages to the product, ranging from electrical- or fire-based damages. Or a faulty wiring system may result in physical harm to a user. Electrical fires and electrocution are extremely serious, so it’s critical that you choose a wiring system that’s designed to prevent these hazards from occurring.

Wire Harness Durability

Wiring systems need to be built to last. In short, a wiring system should be able to transfer a full-load of power without overheating. It also needs to maintain that efficient transfer rate for a substantial period of time. A wiring system basically needs to be able to function at top efficiency for years. If a manufacturer uses cheap materials to create the physical wiring and the sheathing, then the wiring system, while inexpensive, probably won’t last very long. Cheap wiring systems will have to be replaced constantly, and if a critical power failure occurs, the resulting short may cause physical harm to both the product and the user. In other words, when choosing a wiring system, go for the systems that can stand up to a little abuse.

Wire Harness Appearance

While safety and durability are more important in the long-run than appearance, it’s also critical to keep a wiring system’s aesthetic appeal in mind too. While you should choose a system that will guarantee overall product efficiency, it’s also a good idea to pick a system that matches the general design scheme of the given product. A sleek or minimalist-inspired product, for instance, probably won’t fit design-wise with a clunky wiring system.

The Cost of Wire Harnesses

When choosing components for a product, it’s vital to keep pricing in mind. For instance, you should look for a wiring system that strikes a balance between effectiveness and cost. You need a wiring system that won’t break your bank, so to speak, but it also shouldn’t be cheap or shoddy. Inexpensive wiring systems might be cheap for a reason: these systems often compromise safety or durability in order to hit that low price. Be open to spending a bit more to find that ideal system, but remember, you don’t have to pay exorbitant prices to find the best wiring system.

Your Wire Harness Design

In a perfect world, you should pick a wiring system that can be modified or upgraded to meet your production needs. If the system needs to be altered slightly in some way to accommodate your product’s specifications, it should be designed in a way that allows minor alterations without compromising the system’s effectiveness.

Choosing a wiring system takes a bit of work. However, if you keep the aforementioned points in mind—and you make sure to do your research beforehand—you’ll be able to find a system that properly meets your production needs.