Tips for Custom Cable Assembly Maintenance

To manufacture any electronic or electromechanical product, maintaining the quality of your wiring and custom cable assemblies is crucial to protecting your brand’s reputation as a consistent provider of quality goods. While your cable and wiring needs may be far from the forefront of your mind, taking into consideration every possible factor that can effect these components will not only ensure every product item passes quality checks, but will also reduce unnecessary production costs for product failures, lost materials, or lost time due to errors made in the assembly line. Luckily, maintaining your custom cables can be relatively simple, so long as you follow these tips. Here are several cable and wiring maintenance rules that will extend the life of your assemblies and cut down on production costs due to assembly errors.

Choosing the right Electrical Connectors

As you can likely imagine, the most damage prone part of the cable assembly is the area where the cable enters the product housing, or in other words, anywhere the cable links up to a connector. In general, the larger the size of the connector relative to the total diameter of the cable, the more likely it is to suffer damage. If you are purchasing your assemblies from a third party supplier, as opposed to producing them all in house, you can avoid this problem by specifying to your supplier exactly what purpose these assemblies will serve. Whether it is routine laboratory use, a production test, or transmission in adverse environmental conditions, your supplier will help you find the right connectors for the cables you are using. Additionally, you should train your labor force to take special care when installing your harnesses and cabling.

Proper Assembly Procedures

Typically, the two periods of time when your assemblies will be most at risk of damage is when they are either being assembled, or when the end consumer unloads and uses the finished product. While you have little control over the latter, you can protect your products from damage during assembly by implementing the proper assembly procedures. Your supplier can likely help you develop a step-by-step process for installing, testing, and troubleshooting wires and cables as well as take an active role in training your work force. This alone has been proven to reduce much of the waste inherent in assembly lines.

One process that many electrical product manufacturers introduce into their assembly line to prevent damage to cabling harnesses is to use a layer or two of adhesive shrink tubing at the connector and cable interface. If completed in the initial assembly and extending an inch or more beyond the area where the cable enters the connector, it provides an extra layer of protection against damage to cables due to the cable pulling or otherwise being manipulated about the connector housing. This works on any type of cable, be it flexible, semi-flexible, or rigid and is especially important when you anticipate the cable or product will be handled roughly.

Another cabling issue to be aware of is the wire or cable’s specified static and dynamic bend radius. This measurement refers to how tightly a cable can be bent before damage or transmission impedance occurs. Naturally, flexible cable allows for more bend than a rigid cable, but being aware of this measurement will help avoid flaws in your design or production process. For more tips on how to maintain the quality and performance of your custom cable assemblies, contact LoDan Electronics today.