Electrical wiring is an integral part of several industries. These wirings are important for the development of these industries. Households require cables or wires to supply them electricity so that they can operate their appliances and other electronic devices. Hence, it can make our lives easier. It is apparent that they perform an essential function no matter what their shape and size is.
Most people think that cable assemblies and wire harnesses are just the same. This is quite understandable since most professionals use these terms interchangeably. Also, both products have the same basic functions. But the fact is, they are quite different from each other as well as their purpose. That is why it is important that they must be defined clearly so that people will know what are the appropriate products that they need. Here, we are going to provide you with an explanation of cable assembly versus a wire harness, so that you will know how each of these products is used out there.
Cable Assembly vs. Wire Harness
Before we start getting into the difference between cable assembly and wire harness, it is crucial to know the difference between wire and cable. This is because there is a tendency that these terms might be used interchangeably even though both are completely different. Basically, a wire is a strand that can conduct electricity, for instance, copper or aluminum. On the contrary, a cable is composed of two or more wires that work together. Most often, they are braided or bonded together. This is the reason why cables appear like bunches of intertwined wires.
The Wire Harness
Generally, wire harnesses are just the exterior sheath that protects the cables or wires. Usually, it is built of thermoset or thermoplastic material that can help in protecting the wires from the environment. In other words, wire harnesses clump together all the wires and cables that are already covered by their own exterior sheaths. If you try to open a wire harness, then you will discover that it is composed of several cables with their own coverings, but they’re all in a single wire harness.
Wire harnesses are the cost-effective electrical solution for keeping electrical systems well-organized. Since all the cables and wires are bundled together, then electrical contractors and engineers will have well-organized wiring systems. Since wire harnesses are the low-cost solution, then they might not be able to protect the wires inside effectively against changes in temperature, consistent friction, as well as other elements that might damage the wires found inside the harness.
The Cable Assembly
Cable assemblies refer to the group of cables or wires that are protected by a more intensive exterior covering. Generally, they are constructed using heavy-duty materials such as vinyl, thermoplastic rubber, or shrink-wrapped thermoplastic. These assemblies have the same function as wire harnesses which is to keep the cables and wires well-organized. However, they are designed for completely different environments.
Cable assemblies are created for specific environmental factors such as the size of the area where it will be utilized as well as the types of environmental factors that could occur. Because of this, cable assemblies are available in various sizes and shapes, and are designed to protect the interior cables and wires from compression, abrasion, moisture, friction, heat, and other hazards.
So, what is the difference between wire harnesses and cable assembly? Well, each of them can be utilized in different environments. Wire harnesses are the cost-effective solution for keeping your wires well-organized, while cable assemblies can keep all the cables and wires safe from extreme hazards.
What is the Use of a Wire Harness?
A wire harness is composed of a bunch of cables or wires that use low-cost materials in keeping the components together in an efficient and well-organized manner. Typically, a wire harness will use a sheath material such as thermoplastic in providing protection to the cables. But most often, these components already have their own covering, reducing the requirement for extra protection
Within the electrical system, there are two crucial problems that the wiring harnesses can solve. These are the electrical requirements and geometric limitations. Wiring harnesses offer a physical support system for wires and cables to be used within a very specific area, in a protected and well-organized manner. Wiring harnesses are usually utilized in different applications from residential and commercial electrical wiring to airplane engines. Furthermore, wiring harnesses offer a low-cost solution for protecting and handling a particular group of wires and cables within a system.
Why Are Cable Assembly and Wire Harness Often Confused With One Anoter?
Naturally, both cable assemblies and wire harnesses are composed of wires and cables inside. The big difference is in the construction of the component to complement the application. Wire harnesses are the low-cost way of providing some level of protection to your bunch of wires and cables while making them organized for easy installation and lasting service. On the other hand, cable assemblies offer much tougher protection by keeping the wires and cables tight within a sturdy outer sheath. This is the reason why cable assemblies are commonly used in demanding environments where elements such as moisture, friction, and heat, could easily wear out a wire or cable.
What is the Difference Between a Cable and a Wire?
The basis of the differentiation between cable assemblies and wire harnesses lies in the fact that cables and wires are two completely different things. A wire refers to one strand of a conductive material such as copper or tin. When a bundle of wires is braided or twisted together and kept inside a protective outer sheath, then they will turn into a cable.
How are Wire Harnesses Created?
Wire harnesses must undergo a lot of phases of design and manufacturing before a product will be ready to use. First, the design team will discuss with the client to figure out the specs required of the project. Then, the design team will use software such as computer-aided drafting programs to generate the measurements for the essential components of the system.
After all the design elements have been finalized, the next step is prototyping. Prototyping allows them to generate several iterations of the proposed design. After making multiple rounds of testing from advanced testing machines, these prototypes will be subjected to actual conditions and will continuously be assessed for durability, functionality, and most of all, safety. These prototypes will also provide the opportunity for the design team to see if other source materials will be applicable logistically. In case a specific element cannot be procured in a timely and efficient manner, the entire manufacturing process can be affected.
With prototyping, any logistical difficulties can be worked out before the production starts. In this way, the process can go on smoothly without any hindrances. The prototype redundancy can also help the production team in knowing which tools have to be reserved. After everything has been smoothed out, the next step is volume production, then final testing, and lastly, distribution to their designated destinations.
How Do You Define Cable Assembly?
A cable assembly refers to a group of wires or cables. This includes wiring of various measures that can be braided or stranded. These components are protected by an insulating material. They also come with appropriate fillers which are perfect for the environment. A sturdy exterior layer acts as its shield, insulator, and protector. It offers ultimate protection to its components which is ideal for demanding environments.
How Can Cable Assemblies Protect All the Components?
Cable assemblies are composed of a bunch of cables and wires that are protected by extremely heavy-duty materials such as vinyl or thermoplastic. Cable assemblies are coordinated to the environment when it comes to providing protection and size requirements. They can protect the interior cables from different elements such as oxidation, friction, cold, and heat.
Is a Wire Harness the Same as an Electrical Harness?
Yes. There is no difference between these two since wire harness is sometimes referred to a lot of names such as wiring assembly, cable harness, and cable assembly. It is a common misconception that wiring harnesses and cable assemblies are similar. The fact is these two components play different roles within an electrical system.
What is the Significance of UL Certification in Wiring Harnesses and Cable Assemblies?
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a distinct testing service accredited by the US government to conduct product and process testing for functionality, safety, and adherence to the design standards. That is why it is important to look for UL-approved facilities that manufacture and use UL-certified wires and cables inside their wiring harnesses and cable assemblies.
How Complicated is Wire Harness Manufacturing?
Some designs are quite simple such as two wires grouped together with some fundamental terminals affixed to the end. However, for other projects, they need a more complicated design that includes different varieties of connectors, sheathing, grommets, conductors, terminations, over molds, and strain relief. Considering all these design elements, engineers can create a perfect design for economical and functional applications.
If you are looking for sturdy, high-quality cable assemblies, then SEI can give you the exact type of product that you need. We also have adapters, antennas, connectors, etc. For more information about our products, you may call us at (408) 374-1031.