Demystifying the Various Phases of Cable Manufacturing

Cables are vital to many organisations and industries today. We rely on them for equipment, power transmission and data transmission, among many other things. For many people, the process of cable manufacturing remains a mystery. However, there are actually a number of key stages involved that will take an initial design to a completed product that is ready to use.

  1. Crushing and grinding the metals. The first phase in cable manufacturing is crushing and grinding metals like copper and aluminium. This is a process that is completed in large batches and using machines. When the metal has been processed (squandered) then the necessary materials can be removed.
  2. Drawing the wire. This is the part of cable manufacturing that creates different gauges of wire. The ultimate aim at the end of the wire drawing process is that the metal has become thin and flexible. This malleable wire is a vital part of every cable.
  3. Heat treatment. Also known as ‘annealing,’ this is a process where metal is heated and then slowly cooled and internal stresses are removed in order to produce a stronger metal. The heating of the wire makes it softer and more flexible and the application of pressure is used to form a thinner wire. The goal of using the annealing process is to avoid the oxidation of the cable.
  4. The insulator. A cable may contain any number of metal wires but every one will also always have an insulator. Synthetic materials are the best option to insulate cables but the right one will depend on the purpose of the cable. For example, some types of insulation can protect leakage, others may deliver heat resistance, tensile strength or protection against moisture and water. Every cable must have an insulator and there are many options to choose from that will optimise the overall design.
  5. Twisting and stranding. The process of twisting and stranding is key to the production of the final cable. It can involve multiple wires, rather than a single wire, and the goal of doing this is to improve flexibility and electrical performance.
  6. Extrusion. The process of extrusion is where the wires are coated in plastic or some other kind of insulating material. Initially, force is applied to the wires and material flows through a die or orifice in order to complete the process. Extrusion is key to cable manufacturing and the last phase before cabling.
  7. Cabling. While every other phase in the process of cable manufacturing is designed to create, or strengthen, the component parts that will make up the cable, it’s cabling itself that brings all of this together. Cabling will be done in a cabin station and, in simple terms, is where the different wires are put together and secured in a single jacket so that they become the cable.

Cable manufacturing is a process that is actually surprisingly simple. However, a lot of attention to detail and design has gone into this to produce exactly the right results. At GEM Cable we are AS9100D & BS EN ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001-2015 certified UK manufacturers of bespoke cable assembliescontrol boxesharnesseswiring loomspanelsfibre optic products and total network solutions.