Cable assembly manufacturing process: Four Steps for a Perfect Wire Harness

Every piece of modern electrical or electronic equipment has a wire harness that is an important part of the whole thing. There are simple steps that you need to follow. Each step needs professional supervision to ensure the harness is error-free. Let’s dig into the cable assembly manufacturing process.

Step 1: Design

The wire harness provides power and properly communicates data, whether it is in the car or the washing machine. To bring a wiring harness to market, experts in the field of R&D must face and overcome electrical challenges.

Engineers must decide on harness components and other useful parameters at this stage. After that, they must create a unique layout for every component.  Last, they must make a systematic procedure for the associated wire harness. 

Cable assembly manufacturing process: Engineering drawing of a wire harness

Caption: Engineering drawing of a wire harness

Step 2: Prototyping

A manufacturer’s prototype is a working version of a new design they will produce. If you’re making a prototype for a product, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to perform exactly like the finished one. Rather, it just has enough features for the manufacturer to know the product will be feasible and practical from a practical standpoint.

Manufacturers favor prototyping since it increases the likelihood of long-term success. Before moving on to the more expensive mass-production phase, manufacturers can find and fix any problems with producing a product by making a prototype. 

As a bonus, a prototype aids the design process by allowing designers and engineers, especially those working in the cable manufacturing business, to hone the design. Hence, it improves efficiency and makes the product easier to build. Major design issues arise with the help of prototyping. 

Also, attracting investors and submitting patents is considerably simpler when you have a working product prototype. 

Cable assembly manufacturing process: 
 Prototyping a wire harness

Caption: Prototyping a wire harness

Step 3: Assembly and Production

The following are the basic steps involved in assembling:

Cable assembly manufacturing process: Wire Cutting

First, the makers cut the wires into specific lengths through specialized cutters.

Cable assembly manufacturing process: Striping and Connecting

Then they strip the wire ends to expose the conductors. That way, wires are ready to connect to terminals, connector housings, and other systems.

Cable assembly manufacturing process: Assembling

Lastly, they assemble all the components through a workbench or board for specific design needs.

Although some automation can be there, manual manufacture of a wire harness is still preferable from a cost perspective, even though it is complex and task-oriented. 

Wire harnesses are made to fit a particular area inside a broader network of electrical parts and wires. Moreover, the harnesses must also serve as a ground and shield for the wires. It is to prevent short circuits and other electrical problems from wreaking havoc. Also, wire harnesses must ground the wires and protect them from the electric damage that the chemicals, crossed wires, or moisture from the outside or inside could cause. 

These inherent challenges in the process and geometric and electrical problems arising during product manufacturing make hand production still the preferred mode. For Example, 

  • They must put the connector within or adjacent to other electrical wires and components. 
  • They must route the wires through the sleeves and manually wrap the fabric tape. 
  • It is necessary for places like branch outs from cable strands. 
  • It is necessary to solder terminals onto wires. 
  • They need repeated crimping operations when they connect more than one wire to a single terminal. 
  • Also, any strands that need to be secured with tape, clamps, or cable ties are done manually.

However, hand manufacturing doesn’t mean the exclusion of machines at all. For Example, you will use machines for uniform-length wire cutting and soldering two ends with each other.

Cable assembly manufacturing process: 
 Assembling a cable harness

Caption: Assembling a cable harness

Step 4: Testing

After manufacturing is complete, each cable harness must pass electrical safety tests. It ensures that it can withstand the demands of its intended application. It is an essential process for guaranteeing the finished product’s flawless reliability.

Resistance and continuity testing are basic steps that check for loose wires, wrong wire gauges, wrong or broken parts, bad connections, and crimps. Short-circuit testing can discover cross wires, unwelcome connections, and conductor paths. Testing equipment can also indicate the distance to the fault to expedite the search for short-circuit failures.

For Example, if you need accuracy down to 0.1 ohms, you can use a two-wire resistance test. However, you can use Four-wire Kelvin testing, which can produce an accuracy of 0.001 ohms by removing fixture loss from the measurement.

Cable capacitance can hinder data transfer at higher frequencies. Combined with inherent cable capacitance, the conductor’s output impedance creates a low-pass filter. If the capacitance is high enough, this will greatly change the measuring pulse and cause an error. So, one way to test shielded cable, twisted pairs, coaxial cable, and components/capacitors is to see if they have the right capacitance.

Cable assembly manufacturing process: 
 Testing Wire harness for Quality

Caption: Testing Wire harness for Quality

Conclusion

Wire harness manufacturing is not complex; breaking it into steps makes quality products easier. You have to focus on better design considerations and make a prototype. Test it for accuracy after assembly so it won’t fail in real-time. We offer wiring harness solutions and custom cable assemblies.

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at [email protected] to get a quote for your projects.

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