Flexible Wire Harness: Is Your Wire Harness Flexible Enough?

The flexible wire harness is easy to design. Thus, choose a wire that can withstand the necessary voltage and climatic conditions, find a connector that works for you, and determine the length of the wire you’ll need.

However, before handing over your finalized plan to your wire harness manufacturers, there are a few more details to iron out. The harness design for your application should consider the available space constraints while still being strong enough to withstand the forces of nature.

There are times when you require a bundle of extremely rigid wire. In certain cases, a basic, adaptable assembly is needed. When designing a harness, keep in mind the potential stress that could be exerted on the paired components. Damage to connectors during assembly or a future strain field breakdown could be caused by a wire harness that is overly rigid and hard to join a nearby assembly.

Your wire harness’s degree of flexibility will depend on several things. Use the following to figure out how much security you need and what you’re willing to give up in exchange for peace of mind.

Heat Shrink Durometer

Keep in mind that different materials have different Durometer ratings. As measured by the durometer, a harder substance may be bent less easily. There is a “Hardness” rating, typically expressed in D units, in heat shrink schematics. If the datasheet of cable assemblies doesn’t provide a durometer value or hardness, you should contact the company to find out.

Expandable Sleeving Vs. Heat Shrink

When encasing a bundle of flexible cables, wire harness assembly manufacturers will typically employ heat shrinks along the length of the harness assembly. This is suitable in strenuous settings. However, flexible materials on the discrete wire are usually the superior option. Protect your wire bundle with expandable sleeving without sacrificing flexibility. Also, you can make mass production simple when fuel/oil protection, heat resistance, and excessive abrasion aren’t priorities.

Adhesive Heat Shrink

Sticky heat shrink should be used on wire harnesses with extreme caution and only in small amounts. The bonding with the wires bundles may create a binding, despite the durometer of the chosen glue heat shrink not being suitable to sustain a flexible harness.

Heat shrink tubing

Caption: Heat shrink tubing

Waxed Lacing

Waxed lacing is useful in some situations for organizing the wire bundle. This lightweight alternative makes it simple to inspect and fix in the field. The waxed lacing permits the individual wires in the bundle to glide freely, contributing to the bundle’s adaptability. While this approach may work in some situations, it does not provide any means of shielding your assembly from hazards like abrasion.

Braided wire with waxed lacing

Caption: Braided wire with waxed lacing

Connector Clocking

Take into account the mating angle when utilizing connections with keyways. Torquing a rigid assembly into place can damage both the assembly and its complementary function. The reduction in rotational stress across the board directly results from increased adaptability.


While manufacturing and assembly, Wire harness manufacturers have to consider its flexibility factor. For that, you can count on the durometer ratings, sleeving, heat shrink tubes, wax lacing, and angles of the connector. These components make the wire adaptable to smaller spaces while decreasing the chance of abrasions and damage.

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