Just What Goes Into Custom Cable Manufacturing, Anyway?

Cable Assembly Diagram Example
Cable Assembly Diagram Example

When you need cabling or wire for your next project, purchasing materials off-the-shelf that integrate seamlessly with the other components of your design is typically easier said than done. Most commercial and industrial applications simply have too many unique aspects or components to them. In these cases it helps to have an expert in custom cable manufacturing in your corner to give you advice on selecting and procuring the best raw materials for your project. Here is your guide to what goes into manufacturing custom cable.

Lead Times

Lead time refers to the time it takes after placing an order for a shipment of custom cable to the turnaround time when the cable is actually delivered. Typically this will depend on the job’s complexity as well as how urgent is the customer’s need. Some suppliers may be able to produce rush orders in as little as a week, however non-rush lead times can range from as little as two to as much as ten weeks.

Conductors

At the core of every cable or wire is some type of conductor, whether that be bare, tinned, or silver plated copper wire. Conductors can be bought in different gauges, materials, and configurations of multiple wire conductors. In any new design, the customer will begin by selecting the right conductor material for their wire harness.

Insulation

With the conductor selected, an insulating material will then be chosen and used to wrap the conductor to prevent heat and signal loss. Insulation is usually composed of non-conductive materials that keep the wire working effectively and safely. It protects the wire from environmental considerations like water, heat, and pressure. From PVC to polyurethane, there are tons of options for insulating materials.

Shielding

A little known part of cable, shielding plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of your electronic signal. The shielding surrounds the conductor and protects it from signal loss, noise, interference, and static. Depending on the type of noise you are trying to reduce in your application, you will choose from a variety of different shielding materials. Mylar and aluminum foil are two examples of materials used in shielding.

Jacketing

On the outermost layer of the cable is the jacket. This material is used primarily to keep moisture from penetrating through the cable to the conductor. However the type of material used for the jacketing is very important. Some materials may reduce the flexibility of the cable, making it more difficult to coil, store, and work with in general.

Regulatory Standards

How do customers know when they are getting a good deal, and not just being sold a bunch of defective or dangerous cable? Luckily, regulatory agencies like ISO, OSHA, Mil-Spec, and several others have established strict industry standards for the modern customer’s cable needs. When looking for a new cable provider, be sure that they have all of the necessary regulatory standards met.

To find out more about the custom cable manufacturing process, or to speak to a cabling expert, go to Assmann WSW Components now!

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