Wherever there is a complex electrical system, there is likely also a wire or harness cable assembly. Sometimes called cable harnesses or wiring assemblies, these units serve to organize, consolidate, and protect electrical conductors. Since wire harnesses are custom designed for their application, they can dramatically improve a system’s efficiency.
What is a Wiring Harness?
Simply, a wire harness is a bundle of cables and wires, plus the components used to sheathe, support, and organize them. These elements include tapes, sleeves, and ties, which keep cables in the optimum position for transmission. Wire harnesses are designed based on the electrical and geometrical requirements of the application and are used to simplify the connection to larger components.
What are Wiring Harnesses and Cable Assemblies Used For?
Wiring harnesses solve many challenges associated with electrical systems. By combining many individual wiring elements, they make it easier to connect and assemble complex systems. At the same time, they provide additional protection to wires and cables, preventing unwanted flexion and insulating bundles against the environment.
This combination of benefits means that wiring harnesses and cable assemblies are used across diverse applications. Most manufacturers find that combining electrical elements in a harness is a cost-effective way to improve performance while also simplifying installation. Uses can be found in industries ranging from aerospace to residential wiring.
Aerospace equipment often includes dense bundles of electrical and communication cables. Wire harnesses enable power transmission in aircraft engines, data transmission from satellites, and similar aerospace applications.
The automotive industry makes extensive use of wiring harnesses and cable assemblies, including in both gasoline and electrical vehicles. In these contexts, harnesses are indispensable for saving space and ensuring wires fit around mechanical components. Organizing conductors is also essential for keeping distinct systems separate under the hood, enabling both efficient operation and easy maintenance. Automotive systems using harnesses include lights, turn signals, displays, and more.
In the hospital, clinicians must be able to quickly establish reliable connections. In many cases, this is a matter of life and death, such as when setting up critical care equipment. Harnesses enable these rapid links, keeping patients safe. Other medical applications include more permanent installations such as imaging equipment and dental chairs.
Telecommunications systems may include anywhere from tens to thousands of cables, all of which must be organized to save space and facilitate identification. Assemblies serve this role, bundling cables for modems, routers, and similar communication equipment.
Within IT, harnesses are used at every scale. Wire harnesses and cable assemblies save space within small laptops and organize the thousands of cables within a networking facility.
Safe and efficient wiring powers residential and commercial buildings alike. Construction personnel rely on harnesses to insulate and organize electrical wiring in compliance with all relevant codes.
In a manufacturing environment, stray wires represent a significant safety hazard. At the same time, many machines include extensive wiring, including CNC units, 3D printers, and conventional workstations. Harnesses keep facilities safe by containing wiring and ensuring connections are reliable.
Robotics and Automation
Robots of all sizes require organized and durable wiring to function properly. Often, space is limited, so harnesses are needed to route and contain circuits.
Benefits of Wiring Harnesses and Cable Assemblies
The advantages of wiring harnesses and cable assemblies have made them nearly ubiquitous. Key benefits include:
- Decreased Installation Time: Assemblies group cables sensibly, speeding installation for large or complex systems. This organization makes it easier to identify and locate the appropriate components.
- Safety: Harnesses can incorporate structural supports, insulation, and shielding to protect against dangerous shorts. Harnesses also keep wires contained to avoid accidents in the workplace.
When working with wires and cables, it is nearly impossible to achieve the same efficiency without a well-designed harness or assembly.