How Are Electrical Cables Made?

Nowadays, we take for granted many of the things we have at our fingertips; we usually don’t even wonder about their origin until they break down and we need to replace them. One of the most overlooked things is electrical wires. Have you ever noticed that your home, office, and hobby could not function well without those tiny, insignificant strands that ensure that the electrical charge or information flows appropriately? Do you have any idea who designs them, what it takes to build them, why they are the shape and thickness they are, who makes them, and how? What is the function of these new molded cable assemblies? Well, here are some of the answers.

Not all cables are the same; each one obeys the specific needs of the design of the equipment to which it will be attached and its purpose of use; hence there are different materials, thicknesses, types of insulation, and so on. The technology required for an electric cable to provide service for many years, without incident, involves complex manufacturing processes that require highly qualified personnel.

The two primary components of a cable are a conductor and insulation, the conductor conducts the electrical energy, and the insulation keeps that energy in the conductor. Conductors are usually made of copper, but aluminum is also used depending on the cable’s applications. In the manufacture of electric wires, the following processes are generally followed:

Drawing: consists of reducing the copper wire’s size until the desired final diameter is obtained, thus increasing its flexibility and conductivity.

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Wiring: the wire strands are assembled in a stranding machine responsible for grouping the wires. Here the thickness of the conductor is determined.

Insulation: A layer of insulation material is applied to prevent current leakage. The material and type of insulation will depend on the kind of conductor it will cover, the energy flow it will contain, and the destination the cable will have. It is subjected to a voltage control to ensure no leaks anywhere, thus ensuring the continuity of the flow.

Phase wiring: it is the grouping of wires to build a multi conductor cable. Its identification can be made by color or by number. Voltage control is also performed here.

This is called the manufacturing of the cable core. However, the work is not finished yet because sometimes auxiliary elements are required.

Screen: used to prevent the electric current passing through the cable from causing noise and interference on the outside.

Armor: it serves as mechanical protection for the conductor cable, either shock, traction, and rodents.

Outer sheath: they have a polymeric sheath to protect the insulator and conductor against humidity and mechanical damage.

Cable marking: data such as manufacturer, commercial name, number of conductors, voltage, gauge, among other characteristics, are marked on the jacket or insulator.

Quality control ensures that they are free of defects, exposing them to high temperatures and shocks.

Expedition: they are stored and then distributed commercially according to orders.

Sustainability: recycling of copper waste outside and inside the factory.

Moreover, new molded cable assemblies are essential for operations of all shapes and sizes: major military jobs and harsh environments, home electronics, medical systems and equipment, and automotive assemblies are just the beginning.

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New molded cable assemblies often replace an assembly that would otherwise rely on a backshell for protection and support. They can be manufactured in almost unlimited shapes, sizes, materials, and configurations and are designed to provide additional protection against the harshest conditions, most demanding environments, abrasion, sterilization, and general stress.