Wires and cable are everywhere in today’s world to make our connected, electrified way of life possible. These flexible strands of metal are used to transmit data, voice, and power across short and long distances. Throughout history, wire and cable have come a long way.
In our video, Willy the Wire recalls the history of wire and cable.
Wires are Everywhere
A wire is a metal strand usually covered in insulation. If you look around, you’ll see wires and cables transmitting data and electricity everywhere. There are two basic types of wire: solid wire, which is inexpensive, rigid and fragile; and stranded wire, which is more flexible.
The history of wire and cable stretches back hundreds of years:
Industrial Revolution. Rapid innovation in technique and machinery changed the way we produced a wide range of goods, from textiles to iron. The steam engine made it possible for miners to keep up with the Industrial Revolution’s high demand for coal.
Michael Faraday. In the 1820s, Faraday discovered electromagnetic conduction by experimenting with a magnet and a current-carrying wire.
The Light Bulb. After testing more than 3,000 designs, Thomas Edison filed the patent for his electric light bulb in 1879.
Power Lines. In 1889, electricity was transmitted 14 miles to power lights in Portland, Oregon. This was the first long distance transmission of electricity.
The Telegraph. Samuel Morse helped to invent the telegraph and sent the first message in 1844. In 1861, Western Union established itself as a national telegraph company by laying the first transcontinental telegraph line.
The Second Industrial Revolution. Between 1870 and 1914, the world saw another rush of innovation, from steel manufacturing to long distance transportation by railroads. Electricity was better understood and harnessed for production, communication, and more.
Telephone. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell secured a patent for the telephone and placed a call within a few days. The Bell Telephone Company was established the following year.
Factory Electrification. In the early 1900s, electric power increased production and changed the roles of factory workers.
Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable. Understanding the demand for standard and custom wire, cable, and more, our company incorporated in Chicago in 1919.
World War II. Communication and manufacturing demands increased significantly, and Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable worked as an OEM to meet the Allies’ need for wire and cable.
The Post-War Boom. Unemployment was at an all-time low, and Americans were ready to spend their money and enjoy life again. This led to growth in radio, television, home appliances, cars, and more. Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable was ready with wire and cable solutions.
Automobiles. With mass production and the affordable Model T, Ford Motor Company made car ownership accessible to millions of Americans.
Factory Automation. Automatic processes keep prices low for the consumer by reducing manufacturing costs and making precise replication faster. This was made possible by high-tech wire and cable capable of transmitting power and data.
Lighting. Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable supplies wiring and cable for the growing demand for lighting streets, film, TV and theatre, and horticulture.
Medical Needs.Medical equipment, like MRIs, defibrillators, and ultrasound probes, must adhere to strict regulations. The wiring that powers this equipment must be safe and reliable for high-volume use. Our retractable cords, wire coatings, and more are found in medical facilities throughout the country.
Modern Day. Wire and cable are present in many of our modern-day innovations. Telecommunications, the internet, microprocessors, quantum computing, and remote work are all made possible by wire. Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable is proud to contribute something integral to our past, present, and future.
In the workplace, you’re bound to have countless social interactions. Both working and personal relationships form naturally as you collaborate with your colleagues, share lunch breaks, borrow supplies, and make plans for the annual holiday party or monthly happy hour. For many people, those social interactions are the highlight of a busy workday; they help you build a network where you can vent, celebrate, and feel like part of a team.
At least, that’s what it’s usually like, but there’s nothing “usual” about the current situation. Among the workers who were able to keep their jobs, 62% of them were working from home in April. Even in manufacturing facilities, where remote work isn’t possible, colleagues who used to work next to each other are now required to practice social distancing. All of this diminishes opportunities for building relationships.
Maintaining those connections is as important as getting the work done—and connecting is often essential for getting the work done in the first place. As more people move to a remote working situation—some of them permanently—we’re more reliant than ever on the wire and cable solutions that power the equipment we need to work and socialize.
What Do You Need to Work From Home?
Successful remote work relies on a properly equipped home office. The standing desk, calendar white board, and inspiring artwork are part of that, of course, but we’re really talking about the hardware that will keep you connected. Your company should issue some guidelines or requirements to help you get started.
Computer:It all starts here. You probably already have one, but you’ll need to make sure you have the appropriate amount of memory and a large enough screen to do your job.
High-Speed Internet: Hard-wired Internet is often more reliable than wireless, which is why some companies feel better about having you literally plugged in. However, that requires different equipment, so talk to your local Internet provider to get what you need. You can’t afford any dropped calls or lost connections when you’re doing business.
Noise-Canceling Telephone or Headset With a Microphone: Depending on your job, you may have to make and receive phone calls, and depending on your unique home office, there may be noise you need to block out. This is an investment that can save you from a lot of distraction.
External Webcam: Your computer might already have one, but if not, you can buy one that easily plugs into the USB port. Even if you’ve never used one before, you may find yourself needing it for virtual meetings.
Printer and Scanner: Our paperless world still uses a lot of paper. Hopefully your employer will provide you with the scanner/printer; if not, your life will be easier if you pick one up.
And More: A wireless keyboard and mouse, dual monitors, an external hard drive, and a USB hub may not be necessary, but they’re nice to have. You don’t want to find yourself in a frustrating situation where you think, “This would be so much easier if I only had the right tools.”
Wire & Cable Powering Working From Home
While you need all the equipment listed above, all that equipment needs wire and cable! Without it, working from home wouldn’t be an option.
Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable is a one-stop source for all your wire and cable needs. From standard and custom electronic wire to power supply cords, molded cable assemblies, wiring harnesses, and more, we’ve got what you need for your specific application. For more than 100 years, we have been serving customers in nearly every industry and market—wire and cable is needed everywhere—and we’ve got the experience and skills to tackle even the most challenging performance requirements.
Contact the experts at Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable to learn more about how we can help you set up your home office. We’re always happy to answer your questions.
Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable is a leading medical cable manufacturer that provides custom engineered and manufactured wires and cables for an extensive range of medical applications. With more than 100 years of experience, we have established a thorough understanding of the particularly rigorous standards and regulations that apply to the medical industry. Our experts can provide quality wiring solutions tailored to meet your particular needs, and our facility is designed to create cable and wiring products that meet and exceed even the most stringent industry standards.
Medical Cable & Wire Applications
At Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable, we offer the highest quality wiring and cable on the market. Our medical cable products can be found in a variety of medical applications, from diagnostic equipment to laboratories and lighting systems.
Medical Imaging and Diagnostics
Medical diagnostic and imaging equipment requires high-performance, reliable wiring and connections to transfer information accurately and securely. Common diagnostic and imaging systems include MRIs, PET and CT scans, ultrasounds, and X-rays. This type of equipment is critical for the diagnosis and treatment of patient injuries and illness.
Medical laboratory equipment requires medical cables and wires to ensure the accurate measurement, analysis, and monitoring of patient health. It is used to help medical professionals examine bodily fluids for signs of disease or infection. Lab equipment also includes life support equipment such as dialysis machines, cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), ventilators, and anesthetic dispensers. It can further be used to measure and track patient vitals using EEG and ECG measurements.
Treatment Units and Operation Tables
Medical cable and wire is critical for use in treatment equipment such as surgical lasers, LASIK equipment, and medical infusion pumps. Operation tables must be equipped with reliable wire and cable arrays to ensure appropriate positioning of the patient during sensitive procedures.
In addition to accurate table orientation, surgeons must have extremely bright lighting to operate safely. This requires extremely reliable and durable wire and cable assemblies that can withstand high power levels and extreme temperature fluctuations.
As automation becomes more common in medical practice, robot-assisted surgery is helping medical care practitioners provide quick, efficient, and accurate surgical procedures. Surgical robots are highly complex and require the ability to move smoothly and quickly with a high degree of precision. A surgical robotics system will require data cables to receive and transmit instructions, as well as sensor cables to transmit critical information to the operating system in real time. These cables must be highly flexible and able to withstand bending and turning motions common in surgical robotics functions.
Electronically Adjustable Hospital Beds
Adjustable hospital beds with electronic controls make it easier for patients to enter and exit the bed comfortably and safely, and provide an easy means of adjustment for comfort. Not only does this allow patients more freedom of movement, it helps healthcare practitioners move patients with a significantly lower risk of injury due to falls. Cables in electronically adjustable hospital beds must be flexible and able to operate when bent by the bed’s movement.
Hospital Lighting Units
Hospitals require highly adjustable and specialized lighting for different applications. Lights over workstations must be bright enough for healthcare professionals to read charts, while room lighting must be adjustable. Bright light is necessary for nurses and doctors to read patient charts, insert IVs and deliver injections, but the lights should be able to dim for the comfort of the patient. Medical cables are available with a broad range of designs and fixtures to ensure optimal operation for all healthcare applications.
PA and Communication Systems for Staff
Reliable communication is crucial in a healthcare environment. From requesting emergency care to communicating patient needs, healthcare professionals must be in contact almost constantly over the course of the workday. Medical cables and wiring arrays help hospitals and other medical facilities establish clear overhead PA systems for code calls, emergency requests, and paging, as well as small communication devices that can be used for direct interpersonal contact.
Contact Us for Medical Cables & Wires
For more than 100 years, Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable has been a proud provider of quality custom solutions for wire and cable arrays for the medical industry. We offer an extensive selection of conductive wire materials of varying lengths in both shielded and unshielded designs, with coatings and color options to suit the specific requirements of your medical applications.
Contact our experts to learn more about our medical cables and discuss your customization options.
Posted by Jason Kline on | Comments Off on Shopping for Wire & Cable With an Expert
There are lots of different cables available on the market, each suited to a specific range of applications. Finding the right one for your particular needs can be overwhelming. Understanding the specific aspects that should influence your purchasing decision can help to narrow your focus and determine the appropriate cable for your needs.
Important factors to consider include:
Knowing the particulars of your application needs in these seven areas can help you communicate effectively with a cable and wiring expert.
Information You Need
When you call or email a cable and wiring expert to find the best product for your project, having specific information at the ready will expedite the process. Before you call or start shopping, gather any requirements you have for the following areas:
Cables have between one and 100 different connectors depending on their intended purpose. If you know how the cable will be used in the future, your service provider can better determine which combinations and gauges to include, as well as what materials to use.
The environment in which the cable will handle its primary functions is one of the most important factors. The metal composition of the wire has to be able to withstand the environment, or else it will lose long-term effectiveness. For example, if you expect the cable to have a lot of outdoor usages, your service provider may recommend tinned copper wire, which can resist corrosion and oxidation. If your new cable will be used in hot environments, silver-plated copper is a better choice. Having this information from the outset ensures you get the cable you need faster.
Beyond just the choice of metal material, different cables have varying layers of exterior protection. The non-metal tubing that protects the wires or wire groups—called the jacketing—plays an important role in keeping the environment away from the wires. For weather-resistant cables, carbon blank may be combined with PVC, semi-rigid PVC, or PE jacketing. If the area is home to a lot of extreme weather, the jacketing might have polypropylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, or polyurethane layers instead.
Insulation gives wires the ability to withstand greater temperature extremes in both indoor and outdoor applications. With the right materials, manufacturers can insulate wires to keep them safe for use in environments with a temperature as low as -65° C or as high as 250° C. Insulation can also protect against non-temperature factors such as moisture and air pressure. All cables, regardless of application, must be insulated against atmospheric conditions.
Wires that are moved frequently throughout the day need a great deal of flexibility so they don’t break or wear through. You can request cabling in these three different flexibility designations: normal, flexible, and robotic-flexible. The wiring itself plays a role in flexibility by either using thick, solid strand wires with low gauges (which would be very rigid) or multiple thinner strands (which are more flexible).
Different jackets can impede or allow overall flexibility. Polyurethane is an excellent jacketing choice because it provides both strength and flexibility. If cables should be completely rigid instead, manufacturers can make them from solid conductors.
Every cable should also meet the applicable industry and safety standards. Some standards you should take note of include:
ISO 9001 (International Organization for Standardization)
RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)
NEC (National Electrical Code)
UL (Underwriters Laboratories)
CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability)
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
VDE Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies
LF (Lead Free)
Mil-Spec (Military Specifications & Standards)
Manufacturers can meet specific needs if they’re given detailed drawings. If you need to recreate a previously existing cable or have a cable rebuilt to meet more exacting standards, your wire and cabling manufacturing company can let you know about their capabilities and if they can perform the task before the project begins. They need as much detailed information as possible to make that determination. They can also address previously existing deficiencies in older cables.
Knowing your budget before placing an order or consulting with a cable manufacturing expert can help them find the right materials and processes. They can make sure you get the best possible performance within your budget.
Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable Solutions
Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable is a leading manufacturing company in the wiring and cabling industry and we have been developing custom cables for over 100 years. Call us today for expert assistance in finding the right materials, jacketing, and design considerations for your project.
Products developed and distributed by the wire and cable manufacturing industry—such as nonferrous wire, telecom wire, and fiber optic cable—are essential to operations in a wide range of markets, including construction, consumer goods, telecommunications, and utilities. While these industries, among others, face growth in light of the Industry 4.0 technology revolution, so too does the total market value of wire and cable manufacturing operations. Current estimates anticipate a value of USD 232 billion by 2025 at an annual growth rate (AGR) of approximately 5%.
The following blog post provides an overview of the market growth trends in the wire and cable industry and the industrial opportunities these changes have opened up.
Wire and Cable Market Trends and Opportunities
In response to and anticipation of the changing market trends, the cable and wire manufacturing industry has the opportunity to expand and enhance many key operations, including in regard to:
Fast-charging cables. Newer smartphone technology integrates fast-charging components, which necessitates the use of fast-charging cables. By using these cables, consumers significantly reduce charging times (to approximately 30 minutes), a quality that may help smartphone manufacturers offload more phones to new customers.
Fire-resistant cables. Fire-resistant cables limit both the spread of fire and the release of toxic gas. As the construction industry grows, these cables will find increasing use in new large residential, commercial, and manufacturing buildings.
Fiber optic cables. In 2018, fiber optic cables made up the second-largest segment of the wire and cable industry. By 2020, the value of the segment is expected to grow at an AGR of 20.3%—a trend largely attributed to the increasing demand among end-users involved with communications and telecommunications applications.
Factory automation cables. The push for the integration of Industry 4.0 technology has led—and will continue to lead—to the adoption and installation of increasingly complex equipment and systems. The demanding environments these products are exposed to necessitates the use of durable and reliable components, including cables. The cables used must withstand stresses, such as abrasion, bending, and fast operating speeds.
Copper stranded wire. From 2016 to 2025, the market for copper stranded wire is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 1%. The primary factors driving this trend are increases in energy requirements and flexible and functional product development demand. Some of the markets that may see an increase in the use of copper stranded wire in the future include construction, energy, infrastructure, telecommunications. In regard to construction, key areas of growth are China, India, Africa, the UAE, Qatar, and the United States.
Insulated wire and cable. Through 2019, insulated wire and cable demand for the United States is expected to grow by 6% each year. This growth is, in part, due to the predicted rise in construction operations, which will increase the need for wire and cable.
Customized products. Wire and cable customization services allow manufacturers to provide products tailored to a customer’s application that save time, money, and space. For these reasons, custom wire, cable, and wire harnesses received a recent uptick in customer interest. At Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable, we noticed this upward trend and provided services catering to those needs all along.
Green initiatives. As awareness builds around environmental protection and sustainability, more people are striving to reduce the emission of potentially hazardous chemicals and increase the use of natural and recycled/recyclable products. One effect this initiative has had on consumers is rapid growth in the demand for hybrid and electric vehicles. As this market continues to expand, so too does the need for wires, cables, and wire harnesses to outfit the cars.
Consolidated Electronic: Your Single-Source Manufacturer of Standard and Custom Electronic Wire and Cable
Increases in overall consumer spending have translated to growth in many markets for wire and cable, such as the manufacture of automobiles and electronic equipment. As these markets expand, their industry professionals require greater quantities of wire and cable to meet consumer demand. For cable and wire manufacturers, the continued rise of consumer spending—and the resulting effects on downstream markets—poses both a challenge and an opportunity.
At Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable, we are up to the challenge and prepared to benefit from the opportunity. Equipped with more than 100 years of industry experience in producing high-quality cable and wire, we have the knowledge and skills to develop and deliver solutions that meet the needs and growing demands of a diverse set of industries and markets, including medical, automotive, aerospace, telecommunications, construction, and home.
For more information about our wire and cable products and how we meet changing market demands, contact us today.
Wire and cable applications and installations rely upon many different technical terms that may not be familiar to those outside the industry. This blog will define many of these terms to help readers develop a thorough understanding of terminology used in the wire and cable industry.
Wire and cable manufacturing was an $18 billion industry in 2019. Driven by international trade, the market value has increased steadily over the last five years. A variety of industries, including consumer goods, construction, telecommunications, and utilities, depend upon these manufacturers for fiber-optic cable, electronic and telecom wire, and insulated nonferrous wire for use in computer networking, security services, signalization, and so much more.
Industry Standards and Certifications
Any cable or wiring project requires high-quality materials and installation if it’s going to be successful. Manufacturers committed to maintaining the highest production standards hold several certifications and stay compliant with international guidelines. You’ll want to make sure your chosen manufacturer is associated with these standards and certifications:
RoHS:The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive restricts hazardous material usage in electrical equipment and components. Any product compliant with this directive uses eco-friendly alternatives to toxic substances.
ISO 9001: The International Organization for Standardization offers management system standards that help companies of all sizes consistently ensure high-quality goods and services for their customers. When a company meets these standards, it indicates their products are safe, reliable, and can be used as intended.
Total Quality Management: A TQM approach to management focuses on creating satisfied customers via eight principles. The entire organization—from owners and high-level managers to he newest employees—are committed to processes and the goals of the organization.
Cost within the wire and cable industry is a moving target since it is dependent on several factors:
It can be difficult to predict the growth or decline of the wire and cable market because it requires an accurate prediction of the cost of raw materials, which can vary greatly over time. Rubber, copper, aluminum, thermoplastic, thermosets, and other plastics are used in wire and cable. Their costs, along with the ever-changing energy costs associated with their production, influence the final price.
The worldwide demand for wire and cable drives the market, but government tariffs can drive up the cost on imported goods. When the U.S. dollar is strong in comparison to trade partner currencies, importing to the U.S. becomes more affordable while consumers in the partner countries face higher prices.
Cost Per Component Pricing
The cost-per-unit becomes more affordable if you buy in bulk, as any company that is focused on cost-effective practices will offer a discount on bulk purchases. For smaller projects or projects where you know exactly how much wire is required, purchase by the foot so you have exactly what you need and avoid waste.
Supply Chain: Understanding the Big Picture
The journey from raw materials to the end user is a long one, but each step is important. A disconnect in one area can break the entire chain, causing extra expense, time delays, or other inconveniences for manufacturers and consumers. Trusted manufacturers insist on working with sources and other companies who are equally committed to international safety and quality standards.
Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable’s Industry 101 eBook
Since 1919, Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable has been leading an ever-evolving wire and cable industry. Our ability to adapt to customer needs has contributed to that success and we continue to stay on top of industry trends and developments to best serve our customers.
With that in mind, the experts at Consolidated have created our newest eBook, “Wire & Cable Industry 101,” to offer a complete overview of the industry. We cover the topics mentioned above and more in greater detail, offering a great resource for anyone who is new to the wire and cable market. Download your copy today.
For 100 years, Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable Corporation has been an industry leader in the wire and cable business. Since 1919, we’ve had the privilege to serve our diverse customer base with custom wire and cable solutions that keep their operations running seamlessly. Our loyal employees have built a tradition of service and integrity. Their energy has inspired a culture of progressive innovation, married with an unwavering dedication to industry compliance.
A Noble History
Originally known as Consolidated Wire & Associated Corporations, we earned our first opportunities through the 1920s & 1930s manufacturing radio accessories. The United States entered WWII in support of global allies in 1941, shifting focus at Consolidated Wire to provided critical products for military communications. We have since expanded expertise to match demands of the private sector, but have kept the loyalty to our allies.
Adaptation to current marketplace landscapes has been a reoccurring theme throughout our history. Evolving into the Original Equipment Manufacturer space in the 1980s paved the way for building invaluable relationships internationally.
As of 1998 we have been proud to be majority employee owned! We are now positioned as an efficient, customer centric organization.
The New Face of Consolidated
Following our tradition of customer-focused service, Consolidated offers specialized consumer resources. These include, but are not limited to:
Our Cross Reference Parts Guide: A convenient list of our competitor-equal parts
The Guide to Creating a Custom Cable: Covers the variety of elements that make up quality custom cables and many unique factors that must be considered.
How to Choose a Cable & Wire Manufacturer: Discusses the necessary information to consider when selecting a wire and cable manufacturer to work with.
For the complete library of resources & specialized service guides, head on over to the Resource Center on our website.
Looking Forward to Many More Years of Service
For a century, Consolidated Wire has provided the highest quality wire and cable solutions in the market. Our commitment to dependability and innovation has made us a dynamic and enduring presence at the forefront of the industry.
As we take this moment to reflect on our proud 100 years, we would like to extend a thank you from our Conwire family to all of our wonderful business partners. We look forward to another 100 years with all of you!
For more information about our services or to request a quote, contact us today.