Also known as a wire harness, cable harness, wiring assembly, or wiring loom, a cable assembly is a grouping of cables or wires that transmits signals or electrical power. In binding the cables together, a cable assembly works to prevent disruption to the signal that might be caused by vibration, abrasion, moisture, fire, or electrical malfunctions (sometimes called shorts).
CABLE ASSEMBLY DEFINED
A cable assembly can be created using a number of different casings — straps, cable ties, cable lacing, sleeves, electrical tape, conduit, braiding, a weave of extruded string, or a combination of the these materials – but the purpose is always to increase the efficiency of the products.
Cable assemblies are designed according to geometric and electrical requirements, which are translated into a diagram that is used in the preparation and assembly of the harness. First the wires are cut to the desired length followed by a marking process (either manual or automated) for identification purposes. Next, the wires are stripped to expose their metal cores and assembled together with any extra terminals or connectors housings required. The bundle is then clamped onto a form board or assembly fixture. This finished mass is fitted with any protective sleeves, conduit, or extruded yarn. The entire process is usually completed by hand because of the intricate processing required at various stages of production, such as routing the wires through sleeves, taping, crimping terminals onto wires, inserting one sleeve into another, and fastening the strands with tape, clamps, or cable ties.
Once the construction is finished, technicians test the finished cable assembly with electrical test equipment. They typically check the electrical functionality using a pre-programmed circuit tester. If the cable assembly does not perform admirably, it will be repaired or reconstructed.
Most standard cable assemblies are related to consumer products such as Firewire cables, power cables, headphone cables, etc. However, once you venture outside the world of consumer products many cable assemblies are of the custom build-to-print variety. Cable assembly anatomy is typically built up from a variety of discrete cables and wires or is based on a pre-manufactured bulk-jacketed cable.
While loose wires and cables are free to move (and thus free to the dangers of the world), cable assemblies protect clusters of wires and increase their efficiency. For example, the masses of wires used in cars and construction machinery would stretch several kilometers long if they were fully unbound. In binding them, not only are we decreasing the amount of space they take up, we are also protecting them from vibration, shock, abrasions and moisture. And in eliminating so much potential damage, we are also reducing the risk of an electrical malfunction. Plus, a cable assembly also reduces installation time, since the installer will only plug in one well-gathered harness, not a dozen loose wires.
Harness and cable assemblies are important to a variety of different industries including aerospace, datacom/telecom, industrial, medical, military/defense, and transit/rail.
Positronic works closely with customers to build wiring harness and cable assemblies in accordance with customer specifications. Each system is designed to fit the customer’s standards, as well as applicable domestic and international standards. And after your product is set up, Positronic can define and conduct performance and verification testing (both electrical and mechanical) to make sure that you are getting the most out of your electronics. We offer technical sales support, engineering support, and quality assurance.
Additional cable assembly services offered by Positronic include inkjet/laser marking, bar coding, overmolding, potting, and product prototyping. Our team can also assist in the expansion of qualified suppliers on a customer BOM, and our facility is certified to ISO 9001 and AS9100 and adhere to IPC-620 standards. No matter what your cable assembly needs, Positronic has you covered.
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Mark Martin, Engineering Manager
Engineering strives to partner with our customers and our sales teams to provide innovative solutions for their interconnect applications.