A Guide to the Many Benefits of Custom Cable Assemblies
Mass-produced cable assemblies can work well for simple applications. But if your application is more complex, you have to reconfigure a standard assembly to make it fit.
This process is often time consuming, costly, and has the potential to be disastrous in the event of a failure.
A custom cable assembly, on the other hand, allows you to create the ideal setup for your product without having to reconfigure an off-the-shelf cable to meet your application’s unique needs.
When designed to specification, custom cable assemblies not only allow you to design a custom cable or complete connectivity solution for your specific application’s needs, but they can also produce a return on your investment. In fact, the benefits of custom cable assemblies are many and varied.
Here are a few benefits you’ll enjoy when you partner with a manufacturer to produce custom cable assemblies for your applications.
Ensure the Right Fit for Your Equipment
Customization gives you a perfect, reliable fit every time. It also offers protection against the elements to which an assembly and its connections will be subjected.
To build an assembly that meets the unique needs of your equipment, a custom cable manufacturer will gather your requirements. This may include:
- End application
- Application’s environment (including time, temperature, frequency, and concentration)
- Critical-to-quality characteristics (needs vs wants)
- Flexibility vs flex life expectations
- Required certifications
Materials Selection and Sourcing
This may be the biggest benefit of custom assemblies. When you have customized cable assemblies built, experienced design engineers will source or develop the best materials for your application.
Proper material selection and stranding configuration aligned with your application affect attributes such as:
- Flex life
- Termination to the connector
Designing custom cables allows you to choose the ideal conductor materials for your assembly (such as bare copper, plated copper, or copper alternatives like copper-clad aluminum), as well as the size of the stranding and the stranding configuration.
In addition, shielding selection will provide protection to the cable and wire, adding strength, flexibility, and noise suppression. A custom manufacturer will help with selection of the appropriate jacket, your first line of defense.
Choice of Cable Types, Termination Options, and Color Coding
Customization also allows you to choose the cable type (coiled cords, for example) and cable termination type (i.e., soldering vs. crimping). Whether it’s for aesthetics or performance purposes, being able to choose the cable type and termination for your project is highly beneficial.
Customization allows you to color-code your cables as well. The ability to color-code cables and wires greatly reduces the chances that an element is incorrectly installed, ensuring the custom assembly fits perfectly from production through implementation.
And since the end user may be responsible for connecting the attachments of a product in the field, making the cables easily identifiable with color coding helps reduce the chances of user error and returns.
Resolve Pain Points With Prototyping
If your goal is to improve a current underperforming design, working with a custom cable manufacturer allows you to work through any existing pain points or performance failures that are occurring in an assembly through prototyping.
If you are working on NPI, prototyping ensures that the cable solution is performing as expected in the real world environment.
Prototyping involves creating a test assembly (or multiple iterations of test assemblies) that is subjected to a multitude of tests in real-life situations to ensure the assembly design meets requirements. If it doesn’t, the component that failed tests can be reconfigured and tested again.
This process continues until you have a working assembly, at which point it can be mass produced.
Improved Accuracy, Efficiency, and Cost
It’s commonly thought that standard cable is less expensive and will allow for faster turnaround time.
But in reality, a standard cable will likely need to be reconfigured to meet the specific requirements of your project. If you don’t reconfigure the standard cable, the resulting ill-fitting assembly or imperfect electrical specifications could produce costly failures. Plus, on-the-fly materials sourcing is often time consuming and expensive.
Custom cable assembly design helps improve accuracy and efficiency and reduce costs:
- All of the project source materials are known ahead of time and planned pre-production
- The production timeline is much more accurate, helping you keep to your production schedule
Thorough Product Testing
Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) are key elements of custom cable assembly manufacturing. Custom assemblies must pass a variety of tests to ensure functionality and quality, including:
- Electrical tests
- Visual inspections
- Manual and machine-aided pull-and-bend tests
- Specific testing required for the end application
This vigorous testing helps ensure you receive a dependable product that performs well in the conditions in which you plan to use it. A standard off-the-shelf cable is not likely designed to meet your quality standards.
Macrotech is your global OEM manufacturing and custom cable assembly expert for the medical, electronics, computer, and telecommunications industries. Schedule a call today to learn how we can help you enjoy the benefits of custom cable assemblies for your upcoming projects.