Wire harnesses and cable assemblies are generally used interchangeably, but are actually quite different from each other. Although they both have similar basic functions, they are different in terms of their purpose. This blog will help you learn about both wire harnesses and cable assemblies differently, so that you can better understand the difference between the two.
A cable assembly is composed of a group of wire cables, covered by an exterior sleeve made of heavy-duty material like shrink-wrapped thermoplastic, thermoplastic rubber, or vinyl. This exterior sheath is an additional sheathing layer around the rubber or plastic insulation that coats individual wires within the cable assembly. It protects the cable assembly and wires within from heat, friction, abrasion, moisture, compression, dust, and other hazards that might be encountered. This quality makes it very useful to use cable assemblies for outdoor applications as they are made highly resistant to different environmental elements. This is the reason these assemblies are easily used in industries where cables are exposed to the environment. These industries include military, aerospace, and oilfield electronics, healthcare industry, and security installations.
A wire harness is a single cable covered by an exterior sheath made from the same thermoplastic or thermoset material that is used as sheathing in cable assemblies. A single wire has one heat-wrapped sheath around the conductive strands. Such multiple plastic coated wires are bundled together and another exterior sheathing is applied on the exterior to form a wire harness. Wire harnesses are low-cost organizational tools, which is why they can’t protect the wires within from friction, temperature changes, and other environmental factors that can cause damage. Therefore, these harnesses are used in applications where the wire will not be exposed to environmental threats like heat, moisture, dust, and friction. They are used in applications where the wire will be protected by an exterior casing. This is why these harnesses are used inside products and equipment like cars, computers, airplanes, garage door opener motors, pop machines, etc. These harnesses are best for keeping electrical systems organized by bundling wires and cables together.
Which is better – cable assembly or wire harness?
Both cable assemblies and wire harnesses help in keeping wires and cables organized, but they both are designed for entirely different environments. Cable assemblies are designed for the size of area they will be used in, and the types of environmental factors they will encounter. Cable assemblies are preferred to wire harnesses as they are easier to route around equipment and components. Moreover, connectors can be moulded and sheathed to optimize the protective qualities. However, they are very heavy and huge. Wire harnesses, on the other hand, are smaller and lighter as compared to cable assemblies, and can be sourced at a lower cost to manufacturing operations because lesser material and labour are required. But, they are very inappropriate for being used in applications where protection against environmental threats is required.
As you can see, both cable assemblies and wire harnesses have their own pros and cons. So, it is important that you know which device you would like to use in your particular application. Also, you must know where to purchase your required device from, so that you can get your hands on the best quality products to avoid hassles in the future. One such name is Miracle Electronics, the leading wire harness manufacturer in India, who has been serving its clients with the best quality products since more than the past two decades.