Cable Harnesses

A cable harness can also be known as a cable assembly, wire harness, wiring loom or a wiring assembly, and is best described as a string of wires or cables that are capable of transmitting informational signals or operating currents. These wires in the cable harness are then bound together with electrical tape, cable ties, conduit or clamps.

Very commonly used in motor cars and construction machinery, cable harnesses provide many advantages compared to loose cables or wires. Aircraft for example can contain many kilometers of wires/cables when extended, and by binding them together into a cable harness, they can improve safety and be made more secure. Other advantages are, wires in cable harnesses are less likely to short and installation is made easier.

Cable harnesses are generally made and designed for electrical purposes, and a diagram is used for the assembly and preparation.

Using a special machine, the wires are first cut to length. The ends of the wires are then stripped which exposes the metal wires or the core, and these stripped down ends are then fitted with any connectors or terminals that may be required. The cables are then brought together by assembling and clamping them on a workbench, which has been designed specifically for this purpose. They may also be assembled on a pin-board or assembly board, according to the specific design of the cable harness. After applying any required protective sleeves or conduit, the harness can be fitted directly into the required application or shipped.

Even though manufacturing processes throughout many industries are automated, cable harness assembly continues to be manufactured by hand, and this is partly due to the numerous processes involved, which are:

o    Inserting one sleeve into another

o    Crimping terminals onto wires

o    Routing wires through sleeves

o    Taping with fabric tape

o    Fastening strands with tape

These types of individual processes would be very difficult to automate, but they can be learned quite quickly, even without qualifications.

Pre- production can be automated, and some of these processes may include:

o    Crimping terminals onto one or both sides of the wire

o    Twisting wires

o    Soldering wire ends

o    Cutting individual wires

The finished cable harness may be tested by using a test board. Data is programmed into the test board and the harnesses may be tested in multiple numbers or individually.