What Is A Cable Assembly?

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XLR cable assemblies and connector isolated on white background.

When we launched the Flux Connectivity Blog, we thought it was important to start it up by defining some of our most popular manufacturing solutions. In our first blog, we defined the wire harness – firstly, by distinguishing it from a cable assembly. As we pointed out, the two often get confused as being the same thing.

To remind you, a wire harness is grouping of wires that are designed to transmit signals or electrical power. A wire harness generally has multiple branches or ends that can go off in a number of directions with several terminations on each branch. Keep in mind that a “wire” and a “cable” are two different things.

As Bob LeGere of iConn Systems makes clear, a wire is a single conductor which is usually made of copper or aluminum. “Wires are low resistance, low cost, and measured by ‘gauge’,” he explains, “The smaller the gauge, the thicker the wire. The thicker the wire, the higher the risk of damage resulting from a burned fuse.”

So what is a cable assembly?

Firstly, it’s important to clarify what a cable is in order to differentiate it from a wire. A cable is two or more conductors that are wrapped in a single jacket. “Most cables consist of a positive wire that carries the electrical current, a neutral wire that completes the electrical loop and a grounding wire,” says LeGere.

A cable assembly is a group of wires or cables that are encased in a singular tube of material which is usually composed of rubber, vinyl or pressure extruded thermoplastics such as polyurethane. So, unlike a wire harness which exposes a number of individually separated wires, a cable assembly encases all wires within one cable.

What is the purpose of the exterior material?

The material helps to protect the grouping of wires or cables from extreme temperature exposure, fire, moisture, dust, friction and chemical substances exposure. Similar to the exterior coverings used in wire harnesses, the material also protects people and environmental materials from the potential harm that can be caused by the flow of electricity.

They also ensure that electrical systems are organized and easy for technicians to navigate while protecting the inner wiring or cable against wear and tear or other harsh environmental conditions.

What is a cable assembly used for?

There is a multitude of uses for cable assemblies. A variety of businesses from all industries that require the use of electronic equipment have needs for cable assemblies. Because cable assemblies are designed to hold and organize many different electrical wires safely, they can be used in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings.

Thanks to cable assemblies, the people installing them can keep all of their wires and cables very organized. This allows them and future electrical workers to gain safe and easy access to electrical systems.

We imagine that you may have more questions about cable assemblies. As always, the Flux Connectivity team would only be too happy to answer them for you! For more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-557-FLUX or email us at connect@fluxconnectivity.com.

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