What are the different applications of cable assemblies?

Cable assemblies are crucial in many different industries and a key component in everything, from electrical equipment through to aerospace. Different cable assemblies are required for different applications – making the right choice will depend on the end product, its features and benefits. These are three principal types of cable uses to consider when you’re looking at cable assembly applications.

Test cables

This type of cable needs to demonstrate a number of specific qualities, including durability, stability during flexure and a high level of electrical performance. The CA18 test cable assembly series, for example, brings together three types of test cable that have a range of uses – red jacketed cables for general purpose test applications, white for low loss and blue where there is a need for enhanced flexibility. The colour coding of the cable jackets is done for easier identification and each one has features such as high connector retention and uses high quality stainless steel connectors. Custom versions of these cables can be created to cater for different requirements, with features including custom labelling and armoured jackets as well as non-standard lengths.

Flexible cables

Flexible cable assemblies are essential in general interconnection applications. That could be, for example, joining interconnecting panels in a rack of equipment or sub-assemblies within a chassis. Flexible cables are quite different to test cables, in particular as they have a smaller diameter that means there is greater loss. However, this doesn’t tend to be an issue where the application of flexible cables is concerned as most lengths are fairly short. What’s critical about this type of cable is that – as the name suggests – it’s very flexible, making it ideal for application in confined spaces. Although flexible cables are not as phase-stable as test cables this isn’t normally a consideration because there is rarely flexing once installation has taken place.

Reformable cables

Reformable cable assemblies often fall into two distinct categories, depending on the type of outer screen used: a tin-plated soft aluminium outer or a copper-tin composite braid as an outer. Reformable cables are often described as semi-rigid (or semi flexible). They have a number of benefits, including being hand formable, which can help to avoid the need for an expensive and time consuming bespoke semi-rigid cable. Challenging fitting situations can also be avoided as the cables can be formed in-situ. This type of cable assembly has the same benefits as a custom designed semi-rigid cable without the need to commit to complex design and manufacturing time. These cables also have the advantage that they can be reformed many times before work-hardening happens.

The wide range of test, flexible and reformable cables can be combined and designed to suit a very broad range of different applications, whether they are intended for equipment installation, testing, or module interconnection. If you have custom needs for your cable assemblies it’s simple to take these into account in the design and manufacturing process.