Category Archives: Wire testing

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?

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.

Conclusion

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