A guide to cable harness manufacturing

Wire harness manufacturing is where wires, cables and connectors are brought together to create a specific product – the wire harness assembly. The demand for wire harness assemblies stems from the fact that this product provides a way to optimise efficiency by bringing the wires together in a single location and creating a safe and secure routing pattern through the use of materials such as PVC and tie traps. The process of cable harness manufacturing requires adherence to strict industry guidelines and government prescribed standards. This is our quick guide to what’s involved.

The components

Wires allow electrical currents to travel safely and have become essential for many of the products and equipment that we rely on today. Insulation is key and has come a long way since the early days. These are some of the components that are involved in the process of cable harness manufacturing:

  • Wire terminals. These could be ring terminals, spade terminals, hook, flagged or bullet terminals. Each one has a different suitability, for example flagged terminals are particularly useful in tight spaces. Their basic purpose is to terminate a conductor that will be fixed to something else – such as a stud or chassis – to enable an electrical connection to be established.
  • Terminal insulation. Insulation can be partial or full – a fully insulated terminal will be used where it’s necessary to prevent contact, for example.
  • Types of wires. These include stranded wires – where there is a need to be flexible with the product – and THHN – solid, which is used for a fixed application.
  • Types of wire insulation. There are several key types of wire insulation – PVC, FEP, polyethylene, nylon and thermoplastic rubber. Each one has a very specific application, for example nylon is strong and has resistance to chemicals.

The crimping process

Crimping is one of the key processes involved in the manufacturing of a cable harness. There are a number of tools available to ensure this is done properly, such as a pneumatic crimping tool. The crimping process should aim to to avoid puncturing or breaking wire insulation. Crimped tabs should be in contact with the insulation and insulation should be flush with crimped wire.

The importance of quality control

Testing on cables and wire harnesses is essential, not just for safety but also to ensure customer satisfaction every time. A quality control checklist for testing wires can include steps such as checking accurate labelling, ensuring correct wire gauge, carrying out a pull test, looking for broken wires and also testing for shorts.

Essential service standards

Cable harness manufacturing isn’t just about the end product but the experience that customers have too. Ensuring superior quality and fast turnaround times is essential, for example, as is using highly skilled staff and providing pricing that is competitive.

The process of cable harness manufacturing can seem simple but requires expertise at just about every step. Working with the right manufacturer can make all the difference, both when it comes to product performance and safety, as well as the overall experience that your business has.