Composite cable for custom cable assemblies
June 27, 2023 / Press Release , Cable Assemblies
“Every cable assembly GTK manufactures is custom, but how custom is custom?” says Tom Hennessey, Technical Sales Manager at GTK UK.
Simple customisation elements can often be made in terms of specific cable lengths, cable colours and the addition of company logos (in the case of overmoulded assemblies), as well as connector hoods and fixing accessories where applicable.
In terms of cabling, custom cable looms or wiring harnesses often comprise a bundled arrangement of electrical cables or wires that are bound together by various methods, such as tape, sleeves, or straps. Whilst the individual wires are insulated, there is no overall sheath to the loom.
“The common factor with simple custom cable assemblies and looms is that they use industry standard cables, and we manufacture every day,” said Tom, “but occasionally, OEMS require a completely unique cable construction, which we refer to as a composite cable. These composite cables can typically include any combination of wires including individually insulated wires, twisted pairs, shielded/braided wires, coaxial cables that are then all contained within an outer sheath. The sheath is typically of PVC construction, but other materials can be used.
“The process of manufacturing the cable is multi-stage. The different wires are insulated, then twisted, shieled or braided as required. When all the wires are bundled together, the outer jacket is then extruded over all of them. This cable is then ready to be cut to length and terminated at each end.”
Cable assemblies that use composite cables are completely bespoke and, as such, MOQs apply; they can also have a relatively high unit cost. However, there are specific applications where OEMs choose them over other alternatives. Assemblies that use custom composite cable can be simpler to install and reduce clutter. They are also easier to remove and replace in the field. Aesthetically, they can also look better than a series of disparate cable assemblies.
Tom said, “The demand for cable assemblies using a composite cable is much lower than for simple assemblies or looms and is driven by the customer. We collaborate closely with them to design the whole assembly, and generally make prototypes before going into full production. We have worked on several such projects over the last few months for use in high-end medical equipment.”