How to Choose the Perfect Electronic Wire for your Project

Wire and cable are necessary ingredients in many commercial and industrial projects. Electrical service, signalization, computer networking, security services, and so many other necessary components and provisions require dependable, accommodating, and cost-effective cabling installations.

Whether your project demands standard wire or highly customized cables, you probably realize that choosing a low quality or high unit cost supplier will ruin your bottom line.

Choosing customized cables graphic

Even if you choose a seemingly adequate supplier, you may run into problems if your project requirements change, or if you realize that a custom cabling solution is necessary. If the supplier you choose can’t support all of your needs, you will run into trouble.

How do you avoid these problems? Thought and consideration must be put to the cabling provider that you choose. The right company, with the right services, capabilities, and level of responsiveness must be sought out.

Although your particular wire and cable needs may only play a small role in your project, having the right cable provider will allow you to complete your project simply and easily.

In this short guide, you’ll learn about the various qualities, abilities, features, and services that form outstanding wire and cable manufacturers, allowing you to sort the good from the bad when starting your project.

Choosing Wires With the Right Capabilities

To start, examine the capabilities of the wire & cable provider you are considering. A reliable manufacturer makes a wide range of products, and allows for customized or completely unique products.

Examining wire capabilities graphic

Although this may seem like a common sense ideal to have when searching for a manufacturer, it can be so easily forgotten, and at great cost. Selecting a wire fabricator that only works in residential-grade electrical service, or a cable fabricator that only makes 4-pin USB cables, will prove to be a highly destructive decision when the needs of your project exceed the priorities of your supplier.

Having to recruit multiple suppliers, especially part-way through a project, will delay your schedule, cost more in the long term, and likely create scheduling difficulties. At the very least, find a supplier who is able and willing to do customized work if necessary.

A second capability that’s non-negotiable is flexible manufacturing capacity. Your wire & cable provider should be able to produce prototype runs as well as large volume orders. Prototype orders, especially those associated with custom work, are necessary for checking that the cable or wire product meets your needs as designed.

Imagine if you placed an order of specialist multi-strand wire from a supplier, only to discover that the conductor was aluminum and not copper? Had a prototype been ordered and tested, you would have discovered this mistake much sooner.

Large capacity manufacturing is equally as important. If you were to choose a cable manufacturer with only small fabrication abilities, your project would likely be delayed if supplemental orders had to be made.

One last capability worth holding out for is the availability of comprehensive engineering services. In-house engineering support services are a must for any project, even if custom wire & cable isn’t required.

These services can assist you with installation and deployment, address design changes quickly and skillfully, and help deliver a wire/cable product that is a closer match to your project needs. Remember, if the manufacturer you choose doesn’t offer these services, they will probably be outsourced, which will add time and cost to your project.

Serving an evolving industry for over 90 years, Consolidated Wire can provide a complete solution for wire and cable needs, and is able to provide all three of these capabilities. They are a full line source for all standard and custom electronic wire, cable, power cords, wiring harnesses, and custom molded products. They have an entire team of engineers ready to assist your project, and welcome custom manufacturing with open arms.

Finding Wires and Cables That Fit Your Budget

After capabilities, cost is the next crucial zone to consider when choosing a wire and cable provider. Naturally, unit cost should be affordable and accessible for your project’s budget – that’s a no-brainer.

Cable costs to consider

However, additional attention should be paid to any fees and surcharges, perhaps associated with custom work, engineering services, change orders, prototyping, and the like.

A manufacturer that works primarily with standardized products, but still offers these services, will likely charge large sums for use of those services. Additionally, scan marketing materials for keywords like “Just-In-Time” stocking programs, centralized distribution, and any indications of discounts for bulk purchases. Firms that use smart stocking practices and cost-effective logistics will be cheaper to work with in the long run.

Consolidated Wire is able to respond to your cost requirements, even with complex and demanding projects. A longtime practitioner of Just-In-Time stock programs, they operate a major distribution facility directly outside of Chicago’s O’Hare airport, allowing them to provide custom and bulk purchases at competitive prices. An entire wire & cable project can be centralized around Consolidated Wire, saving time and money.

Choosing Quality Wire and Cables

Obviously, quality is crucial to a successful project demanding wire and cable provisions. But how do you judge quality?

Judging cable quality

There are two ways to go about this: see what industrial, precision, and operational standards your manufacturer is certified in, and investigate the depth your supplier goes into inspecting raw materials and finished products.

Things to look out for are RoHS compliance, ISO 9001 and QS-9000 certification, and a production process that uses a Total Quality Management (TQM) approach. With a high quality supplier, you’ll get the right wire/cable product the first time, and won’t have your project delayed because of performance, fit, or thermal issues.

Consolidated Wire is a major expert on TQM operating approaches – they use it throughout their entire production process. By integrating custom needs and design intent right into their production procedures and steps – exactly what a TQM approach does – they are able to deliver a final wire/cable product of exceptional quality and accuracy, meeting every necessary standards requirement and quality certification. ISO 9001 and QS-9000 compliant, they are able to answer your every need in quality and durability.

Sourcing Wires and Cables From a Single Point Supplier

The last, and quite possibly most important, feature to seek in a wire/cable manufacturer is one-stop shopping. It cannot be emphasized enough that whatever the size, complexity, or specialty of your wire/cable installation, it is absolutely necessary to choose a wire/cable supplier that has all of the manufacturing ability that you need now as well as what you might need as your project matures.

This way, your wire & cable provisions can be centralized around one source, simplifying administration, saving on costs, and making your timetable more compact.

Consolidated Wire has built themselves into a single-point supplier, joining their expertise in many standard cable products with advanced custom engineering.

They are able to supply all of your needs from bulk wire and cable, to molded cable assemblies, wire harnesses, and even finished box-build units. Running an inventory large enough to make them your single-point supplier for the entire extent of your project, Consolidated Wire is able to serve and supply the needs of simple and complex projects alike.

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