Within the electronics industry, the phrases “electronic wiring harnesses” and “cable assembly” are used often and loosely. Because these phrases are somewhat interchangeable, it has caused some confusion. In reality, there are differences between the two, which from a manufacturer and customer standpoint is important to know.
Electronic Cable Harnesses
These harnesses are comprised of two or more cables, which are part of a group of wires. Each of the wires within this group are coated by one or several jackets of insulation. Although different manufacturers use jackets of varying materials, for the most part, polyurethane, plastic, or vinyl blends are the top choices.
Regardless, the jacket is designed to protect the wire conductors from friction, abrasion, moisture, heat, and compression. Because electronic cable harnesses are larger, more rugged, and
durable, they are used for outdoor applications.
Electronic Wiring Harnesses
As mentioned, electronic wiring harnesses are actually a component of the cable. In this case, wire is comprised of strands of metal that conduct electricity but also carry a signal. These wires have a protective thermoplastic sheath, but because there is a wire involved, the sheath is typically just one layer of material.
Individual wires associated with Electronic Wiring Harnesses are grouped and then bound using various methods as a means of creating the wiring harness. For instance, individual wires are bound with something simple like a zip tie, but are also heat-shrink wrapped or bound with a woven outer jacket.
However, probably the biggest difference between electronic cable harnesses and electronic wiring harnesses is that the cable option is for outdoor use, whereas the wiring harness with just one layer of insulation is used indoors.
Although there are distinct differences between electronic cable harnesses and electronic wiring harnesses, each has advantages. Again, cable harnesses have a definite advantage over wiring harnesses when it comes to outdoor applications. These harnesses can handle extreme temperatures, harsh UV rays, moisture, and dirt. In fact, vehicles have run over cable harnesses without causing damage.
In comparison, electronic wiring harnesses are also advantageous. Since these harnesses are lighter and smaller, they are more flexible. As such, wiring harnesses are the better solution for sending signals over short distances and when dealing with limited space.