How to Differentiate Between Cable Assemblies and Wire Harnesses

Wire harnesses and cable assemblies may seem similar, to the point where they are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they are two very different things. These differences are important to know to help you choose the right option for your needs.

The easiest way to help you choose between wire harness assembly and cable harness manufacturers is to provide a definition of each of these terms. You can find these definitions below.

Cable Assembly

To understand what a cable assembly is, you first have to learn what a cable is: A cable is two or more wires that run together, often bonded or braided together. With this in mind, a cable assembly then is a group of cables enclosed inside of a stronger, more rugged wrapping. These wrappings are typically made out of durable materials like shrink-wrapped thermoplastic, thermoplastic rubber, or vinyl.

Most of the time, cable assemblies are used to organize cables and protect them from risks that may be present wherever they’re going to be housed. Because of this, many cable harness manufacturers offer the ability to customize your assembly to fit certain shapes and protect against such environmental risks as heat, friction, moisture, contortion, abrasion, compression, and other hazards.

Wire Harness

As is the case with cable assemblies, it’s important to know what a wire is before you can understand the purpose of a wire harness; a wire can be defined as a strand of material that conducts electricity (usually aluminum or copper). With this in mind, similar to cable assemblies, a wire harness works to organize your wires by grouping them together inside of an enclosure made of thermoplastic or thermoset material.

However, wire harnesses typically don’t offer the same degree of protection against environmental risks as do cable assemblies. While this lack of protection decreases the usefulness of wire harnesses in certain applications, it does tend to make them more affordable than cable harnesses.

In a nutshell, if you need an assembly customized to work with certain shapes and environmental conditions, then you’re better off buying from cable harness manufacturers. If you’re not that concerned with protection and prefer a more affordable way to organize your wires, then a wire harness is the way to go.

Before you go out and search “wire harness manufacturing near me”, save yourself the effort by getting in touch with Star Engineering instead. With over 40 years of experience in cable assembly, wire harness assembly, and other types of assembly, we can connect you with exactly the kind of assembly solution you need.

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