Cable Looms: The Best Cable Management Solution

Have you ever visited a recording studio? Did you ever get time to peek into the automobile’s interiors? What do you see in common? As you can see, there is a massive network of wires, cables, and fibers that connects with each other. And this network transmits signals and electric power to the source. Just imagine if all these wires and cables tangle and get messy. Well, it will be a real nightmare. Won’t it be? However, all thanks to the cable loom, your wires are not messy. Because a wiring loom neatly holds many cables and wires together within its design, they are away from the negative effects of vibrations, abrasions, and moistness. Also, if you use cable looms, there is a proper use of space and a lesser risk of electric fires. Additionally, you will require less time for installation.

Wiring Harness, Cable Assembly, Cable Looms- know the Difference

While reading about cable looms, you get to read different words. These are either cable assembly, electric wiring harnesses or wiring looms. These words are generally interchangeable. Well, there are some minute differences between these. However, they serve the main purpose of cable management.

An electrical wiring harness is mainly a sheath made up of thermoplastic material or thermoset. It holds wires and cables in place to make it organized.

A cable assembly also holds the wires and cables in place. However, it’s the thermoplastic rubber, vinyl, or shrink-wrapped thermoplastics that form its protective covering. This ensures protection from scratch, heat, moisture, friction, and other environmental factors.

Cable looms are a more complex combination of multiple cables and wires. 

Why is the Term “Loom” Used for Electrical Wiring Harnesses?

What do you understand by the word “loom”? It is mainly a device that weaves the thread at right angles to make a cloth.

Organised wire assembly

Image: Organised wire assembly

Wiring harnesses or cable harnesses or cable assemblies also do the same thing. They also assemble the wire together. You can use spiral wraps, cable lacing, and electrical tapes for binding. With this, wires coordinate, manage, and function in a better way.

Different Methods of Formation of Wire Looms

To tame the cable clutter, you can choose from different looming methods. Every method aims to deliver you the best outcome.

Lacing: 

  • Process: Here, a wax-coated fabric strip ties several knots. This binds the cables tightly. 
  • Use: You can use this method for military, aircraft, automotive industry, and safety markets. 
  • Pros: You get a neat and clean loom resulting in a seamless installation process.
  • Cons: Most expensive method as it requires perfection and time.

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Braided Sleeving or tubing: 

Metal braided wire

Image: Metal braided wire

  • Process: Braided cable sleeve is a long tube of mesh material. You can easily cut it with a hot knife. There are several types of braided sleeves available. These are Expandable sleeves (made of polyester or Polyphenylene), Self-closing braided sleeves, & Thermal protection sleeves.
  • Use: You can use it in machine tools, robotics, and automatic equipment.
  • Pros: With so many varieties, sleeves are useful for different applications.
  • Cons: The cleaning part is difficult and is a little bit expensive.

Spiral wrap or tape:

a spiral wrap enclosing wires

Image: a spiral wrap enclosing wires

  • Process: A spiral wrap is made up of different plastic materials. You can pick from Vinyl Chloride, Poly Ethylene, Poly Propylene, polyolefin, nylon, and PTFE wraps.  This expandable spiral wire wrap has a hole that coils down the length. You can insert your wires and cables into it. As a result, the material inside the spiral becomes securely encapsulated.
  • Use: You can use this in aircraft and  automotive applications, computer  systems, and display cables
  • Pros: It is a low-cost method of keeping wires and cables together. You can easily remove it.
  • Cons: This method is somewhat less pleasing in look than other options.

Cable ties: 

3 colored cable ties

Image: 3 colored cable ties

  • Process: Cable ties are small and flat lengths of plastic. There are grooves on one of the flat surfaces. One end of the plastic has a small ratchet assembly with a small open housing. The other end is free. To tie your wires, you need to put the free end through the hole in the ratchet assembly. This will make a loop with wires in between. Once the free end enters the hole, you can pull it tightly to secure it. Once pulled you can only tighten it further.  You can pick plastic or metal cable ties depending on your requirements.
  • Use: Industries such as aerospace, food & beverage, medical, etc. use this method.
  • Pros: This is a less expensive method of gathering wires together. It comes in different color options for easier identification. 
  • Cons: these are generally single-use items.

Wire Twisting: 

twisted cable

Image: twisted cable

  • Process: In this method, you twist the wires to bind them together naturally. You can further combine these twisted bundles with cable ties or spiral wraps. 
  • Use: Almost every industry uses twisted wires.
  • Pros: It is the simplest form of loom forming. It helps in improving functionality by minimizing crosstalk or EMI.
  • Cons: It may not hold the bundles for long.

Fabrication of Electrical Wiring Harnesses

The construction of wiring harnesses depends on your requirements and application. It requires deep engineering tactics to make a wire harness. You must consider factors such as weight, vibration, abrasion resistance, exposure to moisture, EMI protection, and repairability. Although technicians use some automatic processes such as laser marking, wire cutting, and automatic testing, it may surprise you that they complete electrical wiring harnesses with their hands.

The process of manufacturing varies from basic to very complex one. It generally involves the following steps:

  1. First is the design process wherein you finalize the design of the wire harness.
  2. The next step is cutting and stripping wires at appropriate lengths.
  3. Then, put the wire out on a 1:1 form board.
  4. Now, put wires together to form bundles, be it twisted or parallel.
  5. Cable ties or lacing cords secure these bundles.
  6. Termination of ends that involves contacts, connectors, and backshells.
  7. Binding the wires and cables with an outer covering such as sleeves.
  8. Electrical testing.
  9. Marking and identification.

Conclusion

Gathering wires together is essential to maintain the workability of circuits. It also improves the reliability of your electric and cable connections. When choosing your cable management solutions, you have to first consider their application and budget. So, now when you have a better insight into all the options available, you can make a better decision. If you are looking for high-quality wiring looms, then you are at the right place. Be it for your home, office, factory, or industry, visit us for all your cable-related needs.

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 sales@wiringo.com to get a quote for your projects.

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