Wire Harness Vs Cable Assembly – What’s the Difference?

For connecting electrical and electronic components both wire harness and cable assembly play an important role and though both are used quite interchangeably at times, they are actually different from one another to a great extent. Whether for passing electrical signals or for data transfer among different connecting points in a manufacturing environment or as a usable consumer environment like the cars, knowing the difference between these two is important.

Wire Harness Vs Cable Assembly - What's the Difference

Cable assembly

Cable assembly basically refers to a group of cables capable to transfer electrical signal among various connecting points. They remain covered by an exterior sleeve which is made from various materials like thermoplastic, vinyl or thermoplastic rubber. In general use, cable assembly is more preferred compared to wire harness as they offer easy routing bypassing the obstacles. Cable assemblies are widely used across applications and industries including military, aviation, oil mining, electronics, machineries and healthcare. The outer sleeve in cable assembly that actually protects cables from wear and tear of uses, heat, moisture, dust and friction make them ideal for using outdoor. The quality of outer sheath is also a big determinant factor as far as the quality of cable assembly is concerned.

Cable assemblies bind the wiring cables together within an exterior sheath which is generally made of material that can withstand wear and tear of uses in a variety of environments. Apart from the sheath made of materials like shrink wrapped thermoplastic, thermoplastic rubber and vinyl there is another sheath around the rubber or plastic insulation for coating the wires within the assembly individually.

Just because strong outer sheathing in cable assembly can protect the inside wires from a whole array of damages and environmental vulnerabilities like heat, friction and abrasion, moisture, compression and any other hazards they are widely preferred for industries and applications where such strenuous exposure is very likely.

There are also instances of using custom cable assemblies over wire harnesses as they offer additional protection to the wires inside and bundles the wires into a neat, easy to use package from which routing cables become extremely easier. Furthermore, cable assembly manufacturers can also provide quality custom made connectors to optimize the protection and durability. The only disadvantage of cable assembly is the large size and heaviness which makes them slightly challenging for handling and installation. Besides that, extra layer of sheathing in cable assembly makes it a little expensive as well.

Wire harness

A wire harness basically refers to an organized set of wires, terminals and connectors most commonly used in cars and vehicles to transmit electrical signal and also digital data in some advanced cars. They are used to relay information and electric power throughout a vehicle by connecting various electrical and data points. For facilitating delivery of power and information across the connection points this wiring installation plays a crucial role.

There is a wide variety of wire harness with carrying capacity and adaptability for multi-purpose applications. Wire harnesses in cars and vehicles serve an array of crucial roles for connecting ignition system, battery cable, AC, car audio system, etc. As these systems play critical job to ensure car safety and comfort manufacturers take extra precaution to ensure quality and normally every wire harness pass through several tests before finally being installed. Wire harnesses apart from being used in car also used in all types of vehicles including commercial vehicles, two wheelers, three-wheelers, utility vehicles, vehicles used in farming, material handling equipment and transport vehicles.

Wire harnesses today became extremely important in modern day advanced car models. As cars continue to evolve with new technologies, advanced functions and capabilities advanced level electrical wiring capable to carry electrical signals and digital data are extremely crucial aspects. Experts in leading wire harness manufacturers particularly stress on quality materials, efficient design of the harnesses and proper configuration of the circuits to deliver optimum output and unrestrained performance for years.

In wire harnesses a single cable is encapsulated by an exterior sleeve which is made of the same tough material used in cable assembly. Unlike cable assembly wire harnesses are used in environments and applications where the vulnerabilities of damaging conditions such as extreme heat, moisture, dust, or friction are low or non-existent. The cables coming out of wire harnesses generally find protection from an external material casing.

Wire harnesses have a wide variety of use across industries. Wire harness can be used inside the motor of a garage door or several such wire harnesses can be used inside a pop machine. Wiring harness (www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-wiring-harness.htm) find their widest use in cars and vehicles where they can be used for carrying electricity to engine, navigation systems, lights, meters, power windows and doors.