Cable Harness Contract Manufacturing

08 August 2019

Smartlink Group is one of the top cable harness contract manufacturing companies in Malaysia. A cable harness, also known as a wire harness, cable assembly, wiring assembly or wiring loom, is an assembly of electrical cables or wires which transmit signals or electrical power. The cables are bound together by a durable material such as rubber, vinyl, electrical tape, conduit, a weave of extruded string, or a combination thereof.

Cable Harness Design based on Requirements

Smartlink Group starts the project by designing your desired cable harness according to the geometric and electrical requirements provided.  A conceptual diagram of the cable harness is then produced and printed for the assembly preparation and assembly.

Cable Harness Manufacturing

Cable harness manufacturing often involves cutting wires to the desired length using a wire-cutting machine. The wires may also be printed on by a wire printing machine.

After wire cutting and printing process, the ends of the wires are stripped to expose the metal (or core) of the wires, which are fitted with any required terminals or connector housings. The cables are assembled and clamped together on a special workbench, or onto a pinboard (assembly board), according to the design specification, to form the cable harness.

After fitting any protective sleeves, conduit, or extruded yarn, the harness is either fitted directly to the main product or shipped.

Hand Manufacture Cable Harness

In certain cases where automation is not preferrable, hand manufacture will be the primary method of cable harness production. Some of these processes involved routing wires through sleeves, taping with fabric tape, in particular on branch outs from wire strands, crimping terminals onto wires, particularly for so-called multiple crimps (more than one wire into one terminal), inserting one sleeve into another, and fastening strands with tape, clamps or cable ties.

It is difficult to automate these processes, most manufacturers and suppliers use manual means of production, only automating portions of the process. Manual production remains more cost-effective than automation, especially with small batch sizes.

Automated Machine Cable Harness Manufacturing

Pre-production can be automated in part. These automated productions include cutting individual wires (cutting machine), crimping terminals onto one or both sides of the wire, partial plugging of wires pre-fitted with terminals into connector housings (module), soldering of wire ends (solder machine) and twisting wires.

Cable Harness Quality Checking and Testing

Once a cable harness has been produced, it is often subject to various tests to ensure its quality and functionality. A test board can be used to measure the harness’ electrical capabilities. This is achieved through the input of data about a circuit which one or more cable harnesses will be part of being programmed into the test board. The harness is then measured for its ability to function in the simulated circuit.

Another popular test method for a cable harness is a ‘pull test’, in which the harness is attached to a machine that pulls the harness at a constant rate. This test then measures the cable harness’ strength and electrical conductivity when pulled against a minimum standard to ensure that cable harnesses are consistently effective and safe.

Should you outsource wire and cable assemblies?

Whether or not you should outsource the wire and cable assemblies largely depends on your company’s capability to efficiently manufacture the products with available machines/workforce.

If your company is not focusing mainly in cable harness manufacturing, it is best to let the pros to figure it out because they will have the required equipment and machines, and most importantly the knowledge and workforce to complete it in a timely manner. Also, rather than buying a few expensive pieces of equipment for a temporary job, it is also wise to hire or outsource your cable and wire assemblies to a cable and wire assembly company.

A contract manufacturer can usually save your cost because they buy a similar product in a higher quantity with less cost for their production for several clients.

Make sure that you qualify your manufacturer before going forward with the project. If you only need cut wire, twisted pairs or a spiral stripe, you can go for any manufacturer. However, as specifications get more complicated it’s important that you qualify the manufacturer before placing a large order for something that might lead to low-quality standards.

Avoid these mistakes when you look for a cable harness manufacturer

Most people focus too heavily on the particulars of the assembly instead of the final product. Try to focus more on things like the overall length and its tolerances, jacket strip length, etc. Your contract manufacturer should take care of the rest of the assembly particulars like cable stretch and factor them into the product development.

Make sure to have a clear instruction in your drawings regarding the connector orientation and pinout. Be very careful in this aspect especially when the front and back of the connectors look almost identical. When possible, including numbering scheme on the connector to avoid confusion.

Make sure that your BOM and drawing are consistent. Most cases when the cable drawing and BOM are in separate documents; there is a tendency for the BOM to fall out of sync with the drawing, which in turn causes problems for your cable assembly vendor who is more likely to gather the required terminals and cable lengths according to the BOM.

Give detailed specifications and examples of crimp terminal quality, especially if your needs deviate from the terminal manufacturer’s specs or industry standards for crimp quality. A bad crimp can easily cause intermittent contact opens which are hard to catch, even via electrical continuity tests.

Smartlink Group Cable Harness Contract Manufacturing

Smartlink Group is one of the best cable harness contract manufacturers in the region. With the latest automated, programmable Cirrus testers, Smartlink Group is able to test for continuity, hi-pot, and isolation to assure a reliable, accurate and consistent product. Any connector can be connected to our testers for a quick and thorough evaluation.

Smartlink Group has also earned a reputation for dependability, versatility, and quality. Success has been the result of Smartlink Group’s ability to establish a close partnership that generates significant value for our client.

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