Words Matter

Industry nomenclature is of utmost importance so that all individuals in said industry can be on the same page. It would seem odd, if not downright nutty, to think that any industry would operate otherwise. When it comes to electronics manufacturing, however, delineating the difference between cable assemblies & wire harnesses has not only become a nuisance — it’s almost become a part of the way things just are.
One can argue that those in a particular industry are able to communicate their needs, thereby sidestepping any initial confusion. In other words, industry folk will get other industry folk, so in the end, what’s in a name?
But there is one area in which knowing the difference between a cable assembly & a wire harness is vital — ordering materials. Few things can hamper a project than not having materials on hand to keep a job moving forward. Even worse is having the wrong thing & having to wait for the right thing to come in. Such a predicament is unacceptable.

Cable Assemblies & Wire Harnesses – A Breakdown

As such, there are some basic things to know about wire harnesses & cable assemblies. Cable assemblies, for example, are made of multiple cables or wires bound together & covered by one sleeve. These wires are still individual units and function separately. At their ends, the individual wires each still feed through any one of a variety of couplers or connectors. However, the whole thing appears as one unit, looking & acting like one larger wire. Wire harnesses consist of individual wires, each with its own protective coating, connected at one or both ends by a coupler or connector. The unit is still used as one part, but the wires are free to move on their own.

Environmental Factors

Environmental resilience & appropriate use further differentiate cable assemblies & wire harnesses. The latter is great for inside use & is a good option if the application for its use keeps it protected from extreme elements and the weather. Wires will function reliably if they are enclosed in another external casing that will take the brunt of environmental stresses. This means that they won’t need to stand up to harsh environments on their own. A cable assembly has a stress-resistant coating. The outer sleeve covering the wire bundle has protective qualities that a wire harness can’t offer. The variation in covering options allow for an assembly to handle any number of environmental/physical stresses.

Operating Budget

Budgetary constraints are also important to consider when ordering either a cable assembly or wire harness. A wire harness might be a more cost-friendly option, especially if there isn’t a pronounced need for protection from harsh elements.

Understanding What Works Best

Consideration, however, must be made for the general space in which the materials being considered will fit. A cable assembly is easier to thread around small spaces. This can prove especially beneficial if the wiring being addressed is being retrofitted after construction or being used in conjunction with some pre-fab parts. Moreover, easier installation is worth considering if internal component damage is possible.

Working With The Right People Matters

In the end, whether it’s cable assemblies or wire harnesses, working with the right electronics manufacturing partner will be the first step in getting the right materials. Their experience & knowledge of industry applications, combined with their assessment of your specific needs, will allow for the right call to be made.
Trust your cable assemblies to Lodan Electronics, Inc., leaders of engineered interconnect solutions since 1967.