The cable assembly is a vital and typical element of an electronic system. But sometimes, it is one of the commonly ignored components. It is usually the last one being addressed or given importance. Many electrical projects fail because their cable assembly is poorly or hastily designed. A poor cable assembly can have a tremendous negative consequence on the system’s performance.

Cable Assembly: What is it?

Cable assembly is a group of cords, wires, or cables organized and integrated into a single unit. It primarily transmits power, signals, and information to the designated application. These assemblies can either be electrical or fiber optic cable material terminated with some connector or contact at one or both ends. 

Typical examples are the standard USB, DVI, HDMI cables, extension cords for AC utility power, network cables, and replacement power cords for appliances and consumer electronics.

These are also known as wiring looms or cable harnesses.  Depending on the application, you can find cable assemblies of various sizes, colors, lengths, and sizes.  Essentially, the assembly protects the fragile lines.  Because of how they are put together inside a durable sheath, it makes any project or application easy to use, repair, and maintain.

How does it work?

Electric devices and applications deal with many wires that are often overwhelming to organize and maintain.  If not done correctly, it may disrupt the flow of signals and power.  In the digital age, most people would have experienced dealing with tangled lines and encountered the hassle of unravelling them. 

This is where a cable assembly comes in. An exemplary assembly puts together different cord components in a neat and well-organized unit, depending on the project’s intended application. Doing this will prevent the lines from getting all over the place. More importantly, it makes the device easier to use, especially for most people who know nothing about electronics.

A cable assembly usually goes into one port. Then it connects to a single unit directly plugged into the power source. From there, the wires serve to push signals for communication or transmit ions for electricity.

You may find cables in different colors, marked or striped. This is done to quickly identify them and their purpose. Some cable assemblies have exposed wires, while others are encased in a close-fitted protective sleeve.

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As mentioned countlessly, a cable assembly provides the much-needed protection from rough usage of cables and unpredictable weather conditions. Cords can easily be damaged if unprotected, and their functions can be disrupted. Neatly placed in a bundle and covered in a highly durable sheet of exterior cladding material, the cables are shielded from external environment uncertainties, easy wear and tear, and other rough usages. Doing this improves their overall functionality.

The cable assemblies’ sturdy design suits them for outdoor applications. Because of their robust makeup, they can handle larger electric current capacities. The durable structure of cable assemblies means they can withstand heat, moisture, abrasion, and harsh environmental conditions.

The protective sheath prevents damage to cables and wires by keeping them together and reducing the physical trauma from solid vibrations and other factors. This covering reduces potential problems with the machinery caused by the worn wires from vibrational friction. Electrical shorts occurring from damaged spots on the wire can also take place. Additionally, the outer sheath shields the lines from mundane problems such as dirt, dust, oil, and water.

How are cable assemblies made?

Outer sheaths are used to protect the cables from the external environment.  At the same time, the these covering make the lines resistant to a wide array of unpleasant conditions.  Because of this, cable assemblies can withstand any primary unpredictable environmental conditions and may best be suited for outdoor use.

One of the assembly’s best benefits is how it is manufactured. Most packs are made from environment-friendly and recyclable materials.  When completed, they have an extensive range of connectors and terminals. This comprehensive range of terminals and connectors can efficiently control input, output, data, and electrical current.

While this is the usual way a cable assembly is made, it can also be custom-made. Custom-made cable assembly addresses devices and environments’ specific needs and challenges, such as fire, moisture, dust, friction, chemical and temperature exposure, flexibility, and others.  These can be made into different desired shapes, sizes, and colors through customization.

No matter how complex your project requires, if you give your specifications to an expert or companies specializing in cable assemblies, they will get it customized.

What are the common types of cable assemblies?

There are many options when it comes to cable assemblies. There are different similarities and variations between the types. Below are the most frequently used and sourced for:

Military Grade Cable Assemblies

Military-grade cable assemblies have very rigid requirements and specifications. Even their connectors and wires have different requirements that need to be met. This is because the military-graded cable assembly aims to be suitable for rough and unpredictable environments. This type is typically used in aerospace, tactical, and marine applications.

For example, this type is used for communication links, military ground equipment, inter-shelter communications, remote weapon control, and marine and airborne systems. Some of these are even made for underwater environments.

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RFI/EMI Shielded Cable Assemblies

In today’s electrically noisy world, every cable in your gadget or device is responsible for that noise. Cables are affected by EMI (electromagnetic interference) or RFI (radio frequency interference). These interferences cause several disturbances within the electronic system of your device.

Examples you may have experienced include loss of data, poor signal quality, degraded performance, or altogether terminating the functions of your device. The perfect way to eliminate these disruptions is to utilize RF/EMI shielding for your cable assemblies.

Molded Cable Assemblies

If you have used an HDMI cable before, you are familiar with a molded cable assembly. This type is usually used when you prefer a simple and more finished appearance in your applications. Molded shells, made from either plastic or metal, are used for this cable assembly.  Depending on the various applications necessary, they can also be shielded or unshielded.

Assembled Coaxial Round Cable Assemblies

Something that can be spotted in your TV cables is the coaxial cables. These are a type of cable assembly where an inner conductor is protected by a tubular insulating and conducting shield. They also have an insulating outer cladding.

Aside from your TV cables, which you always attempt to conceal, this type of assembly is used in vehicles, medical equipment, and radios applications.

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Flat Ribbon Cable Assemblies

As the name implies, these bundles of cable wires are neatly organized into a single unit in a flat ribbon. They can be small or large, with cables or conductors running parallel with each other. It helps to identify what precisely each wire does. To help, they are made into different colors as codes for each wire.  Being able to identify them individually makes them easy to use and maintain.

These types of cables are ideally used where lines require greater width. Furthermore, their shape also allows them to be folded into space-saving configurations.

It is important to remember that there are many types of cable assemblies for various applications. Does your project require cables, cable assemblies, and assemblers?  SEI offers affordable and high-quality antennas, connectors, adapters, cable assemblies, isolators, and circulators. You can also send us an email at [email protected].