The terms wire harness and cable assembly are thrown around within the electronics industry so frequently, that those uninitiated with electrical components may, at first, be slow to keep up. Often, the words are used interchangeably, and sometimes you will hear heated arguments about why an assembly should be used over a harness, or vice versa. So, what is the difference between these two components, or is there one? This article will sho you how you can tell the difference when looking for a cable assembly or wire harness Mexico manufacturer.
It may seem obvious, but a cable assembly is made up of two or more cables. The cables themselves are composed of a group of wires that are coated by one or several insulating jackets, typically polyurethane, vinyl, or plastic blends. Regardless of the insulating material used, the important thing is that the wire conductors are covered and protected from heat, friction and abrasion, moisture, compression due to foot or vehicle traffic. Cables are intended for outdoor use, so they are typically larger, and more durable and rugged.
As mentioned above as a component of a cable, a wire is made of a group of metal strands which conducts electricity and carries a signal. Wires also have a thermoplastic sheathing for protection, however with a wire, it is usually just a single layer of material. Individual wires can be grouped together and bound using a variety of methods to create a wire harness. Wires can be bound with a simple zip tie, or series of zip ties, with heated shrink wrap, or with a woven outer jacket. Perhaps the biggest difference between a wire and a cable is that a cable is clearly intended for outdoor use, while wire, with its single layer of insulation, could really only be used indoors.
Advantages to Each
Since cable assemblies and wiring harnesses are different, they each have their own advantages and disadvantages, and their own intended purposes. Cables clearly provide more protection from environmental hazards, be it extreme temperatures, moisture or sun, and even compression due to be run over by vehicles. A cable’s outer jacket is engineered to provide this protection, while still making it flexible enough to coil or fit in tight places. Having all of the conductor strands housed in a single bundle also makes for an easier installation and less maintenance. However, cable is heavy and bulky compared to wiring, and costs quite a bit more due to the additional engineering required.
On the other hand a wire harness has an opposite purpose from a cable, and unique advantages of its own. For instance, wire is inherently smaller in size and weight, and naturally more flexible, making it ideal for applications where space is limited or signals will be transmitted over short distances. Since the material and labor used to create a wire is minimal, wire is also much more affordable. The cons to wire is that they are much less durable and do not stand up to environmental factors.
While these two components have their differences, they are both regularly used in many different applications and industries. Harnesses are found inside your car’s dashboard, in your computer, or inside electronics. Cables are used in areas where they will be exposed, such as industrial and military installations. To find out how you can use either or both of these components in your product or operation, contact us today!