What's the difference between Wire Harness and Cable Assembly?

The terms wire harness and cable assembly are often used interchangeably but what many people do not know is that they are very different and distinct. The actual items themselves have very similar functions but their function and design operate significantly differently. Note that they are unique in their own way because a wire is basically a piece of material that can conduct electric currents, with some examples being copper and aluminum. On the other hand, a cable is not the same because it consists of two or more wires that are bonded together. You can sometimes find them to be braided or melded together as one, which explains why you might see cables that appear like bundles of intertwined wires. For more information on the difference between a cable assembly and a wire harness, read the article below.

A Wire Harness is at its most basic a sheath exterior that is shielded by either wires or cables made out of thermoplastic or thermoset material. The thermoset material can aid in preventing harm to the wires or from experiencing damage from its surroundings. Typically,  wire harnesses will bunch up cables and wires that are already covered by their own exterior sheaths. When it is shielded, you could access the wire harness from the inside and see multiple cables with their own coverings. When you are able to do this, you can see that the cables are all attached in one singular wire harness.

Typically, the wire harnesses are inexpensive as they are a low-cost electrical solution that is recommended for keeping electrical systems organized. When you bunch up cables and wires together, maintenance workers and engineers will be able to efficiently keep their wiring systems organized. Because wire harnesses are primarily a low priced sorting item, they are not normally able to shield the wires inside from constant and persistent friction, swings in temperature levels, or other aspects that could cause harm to the wires inside the harness.

Meanwhile cable assemblies refer to a number of wires or cables covered by a much more intensive exterior product. In general, they are made from heavy-duty materials, including shrink-wrapped thermoplastic, thermoplastic rubber, or vinyl. These assemblies serve a similar function to wire harnesses, including keeping wires and cables organized, but are designed for entirely different environments.

Cable assemblies are designed for specific environmental factors, including the size of the area where it’s being used and the types of environmental factors it’s likely to encounter. For this reason, cable assemblies can come in many different shapes and sizes, and are built to shield the interior wires and cables from heat, friction, moisture, abrasion, compression, and other hazards.



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March 18, 2021

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