At Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable, we have more than 100 years of experience designing and fabricating standard and custom wire and cable solutions. Whether you need a high-voltage industrial cable for OEM equipment or a cable assembly for a commercial sound system, our product solutions are tailored to meet the specific requirements of your application.
Wires and cables serve a critical role in a wide range of industrial, commercial, and residential applications by facilitating the transmission of power and data in and between connected devices, equipment, and systems.
Given the large number of applications, wires and cables are designed and manufactured in numerous standard variations, each of which offers unique characteristics that make them suitable for different use cases. Some customers may have highly specific requirements. For
Why Choose a Custom Cable?
There are many reasons to choose a custom cable over a standard cable, such as:
Investing in custom cable gives you the freedom to design and manufacture a connection solution that meets your exact needs. As a result, the cable is more likely to operate effectively and efficiently, resulting in better transmission and lower energy
Longer Service Life
Since custom cables are tailored to the voltage, current, and other operating parameters specific to the intended application, they are quipped with the characteristics necessary to offer reliable performance for longer than standard product solutions
Custom cables allow you to design your products how you envision them rather than working around the limitations of standard cables.
Design Considerations for Custom Cables
Once you’ve decided to invest in a custom cable solution, an experienced cable manufacturer can guide you through the design process. Some of the key design elements to consider include:
There are cables for everything from small consumer electronics to large-scale
As such, it is important to choose one that is designed for your particular application.
Your custom cable manufacturer should offer you a broad selection of conductor options—e.g.,
single-conductor, multi-conductor, multipaired constructions, etc.—so you can
choose the one that best suits your needs.
The voltage rating, ampacity, and capacitance required of your custom cable vary depending on the intended application. Each of these parameters can be modified to ensure that your system performs optimally.
- Voltage Rating: This specification refers to the maximum voltage to which a cable can be connected and remain in compliance with applicable regulations.
- Ampacity: This specification refers to the maximum amount of current a cable can carry continuously without exceeding safe operating temperatures.
- Capacitance: This specification refers to
the amount of charge a conductor stores.
Temperature has a significant effect on the performance of a cable, especially on the strength and stability of the insulation and
ampacity. For this reason, it is important to keep in mind expected operating temperatures when designing a custom
The amount of flexibility or rigidity required in a cable depends on the application. Solid conductors are used for cables that need
greater rigidity, while multi-stranded conductors are used for cables that demand greater flexibility.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Use
Custom cables for indoor environments have different requirements than custom cables for outdoor environments. Cables intended for outdoor use must include sufficient protection to protect them from extended exposure to the elements.
Cables must comply with various industrial regulations for the safety of end-users. Some of the relevant standards are:
- UL Standards: These standards are established by Underwriter Laboratories, a standardization organization dedicated to establishing safety and performance standards for products and equipment in the United States and Canada.
- CSA Standards: These standards are created by the CSA Group, a non-governmental standardization organization that provides product safety and performance guidelines.
- NEC Standards: The National Electric Code (NEC) outlines safety guidelines for the installation of electrical equipment and wiring.
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Key Components in Custom Cables
Cables consist of several components—including conductors, insulation, shielding, jacketing, and filler—all of which must be carefully selected to accommodate the operating and environmental conditions of the application.
Conductors are at the core of all cables. These components come in a variety of materials and configurations to suit different applications. For example, they can be made from bare copper, tinned copper, or silver-plated copper wire in gauges ranging from 28 to 4 AWG and configured in one to 60 pairs. Your cable designer can help you to determine the best conductor material and configuration for your application.
Insulation prevents conductors from coming into contact with each other and the external environment. Some of the most commonly employed insulating materials are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), Teflon (PTFE, etc.), and polypropylene (PP). Each of these materials exhibits different levels of resistance to electrical potential, temperature, moisture, abrasion, and UV radiation.
Shielding protects cables against receiving and emitting electrical interference, which can affect the purity and consistency of signal transmission. The type of interference you need protection against determines which shielding material is needed. Typical material options include mylar foil wrap, braided wire, and spiral serve wire, or combinations of these types.
The jacket of a cable is its outermost layer of insulation. It provides protection against environmental conditions such as heat, moisture, and abrasion and plays a large role in determining the flexibility of the cable as a whole. Many of the materials used for insulation are also used for jackets, including inexpensive PVC, and weather-resistant polyethylene (PE). Additionally, there is strong and flexible polyurethane (PU).
Fillers are generally added to cables to achieve a rounder shape. Similar to the materials from other cable components, the materials for fillers must accommodate the electrical and environmental requirements of the application. Common fillers include polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, paper, and cotton.
Working With a Custom Cable Manufacturer
The cable you choose significantly affects the performance of your electrical or electronic products. As such, it is important to partner with an experienced and knowledgeable custom cable manufacturer to ensure you receive a high-quality cable solution that fully meets your specifications and standards.
Some of the key things to look for in an ideal custom cable manufacturing partner are:
Compliance with industry and government standards
Cables are subject to stringent standards that determine how they are designed, manufactured, and installed. A good partner should be well-versed in all of the required and recommended guidelines, such as International Organization for Standardization (ISO), National Electrical Code (NEC), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), and California Proposition 65 (Prop65).
Broad selection of value-added services
In addition to having the knowledge and skills to manufacture your custom cable, your manufacturing partner should have the capabilities to help you design and engineer your solution before it proceeds to the manufacturing stage and install and maintain it after you’ve received it. By providing these additional services, they ensure you are fully satisfied with your cable solution.
Regardless of your custom cable requirements, the team at Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable has the materials, equipment, certifications, and knowledge necessary to design, engineer, and manufacture a cable solution that suits your needs.