Deconstructing the Elements of A Custom Cable Assembly
When it comes to purchasing a custom cable assembly for an electronics project, most people assume that what you see is what you get. However, that is rarely the case, and procuring the right materials can actually be quite difficult. To help navigate you through all of the choices you will have to make in order to get the most reliable parts for the most agreeable price.
However, the first step is to often educate yourself about cabling in general. That way when you do set out to find the right provider, you are sure to get what you need. This article deconstructs the elements of a cable assembly, and the choices you will need to make with your manufacturer.
Know the Requirements of Your Project
One of the first things to know before searching for a provider are the specific requirements for wire and cable that your application calls for. At a minimum, you should know what type of wire or cable you need, and be able to describe where it will be used. For instance, the wire you use in an indoor setting will be drastically different from that used in an outdoor setting, or wire exposed to the high temperatures underneath the hood of a car.
What kind jacketing/shielding/insulation/conductors will you need?
Will your wire assembly primarily be used outdoors? If so, you may need a more heavy-duty cable with a rugged outer jacket to deal with the elements. Will this be a medical device? If so it may need to be able to withstand repeated cycles through the sterilization process.
The performance requirements of your project may drive you to use high-fidelity conductors and specialty insulation and shielding to prevent interference and noise. Know about the parts of a cable assembly before speaking with a manufacturer, and be prepared to make these kinds of choices about materials used.
What are your Inventory & Lead Time Demands?
Beyond the specifics of the wire you will be needing: materials, connectors, where and how they will be used, you should be prepared to discuss your inventory requirements as well. Will you need rush or just-in-time deliveries to your assembly line? Can you guarantee a regular stream of orders? How large will orders need to be to fulfill your demand and production requirements.
Do you need to meet Industry or Regulatory Standards?
Do you know if your product will be subject to specific regulations, such as those regarding electronic and mechanical devices? Will you need to be able to meet standards such as OSHA and Mil-Spec with your existing production capabilities? The right supplier will ensure that all of those boxes get checked so there’s nothing standing in your way when you bring your project to market.
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