We’ve talked a lot about wire harnesses and cable assemblies and the terms are often used interchangeably within the industry. However, the two are very different components with different roles and we’ll discuss them in more detail here. If you’re interested in finding out more about cable assemblies or how wire harnesses can be used, take a look at our cable assembly blog. If you’d like to find out more about how wire harnesses can be used in the aerospace industry, take a look at our wire harness blog.

Wire Harness vs Cable Assembly

A wire is a single piece of material that conducts electricity. This could be either copper or aluminium. Wire harnesses bring multiple wires together neatly in one place. A cable assembly is a group of two or more wires that are usually intertwined together. These assemblies can often look like one singular component, but it is only because cable assemblies are wrapped in a thicker, durable material to keep the wires together and organised.

Advantages of a Cable Assembly

Cable assemblies can be adapted to your system, whatever the application. There are many advantages to including a cable harness in your system: 

  • Cable assemblies are durable and capable of withstanding tough and harsh environments, especially for military or medical applications. 
  • Any number of wires can be included in the cable harnesses, depending on how many wires are needed. Using an exact amount for each application means that there isn’t an excessive amount of unneeded wiring.
  • Cable harnesses can be tailored specifically to your application, saving time on trying to find harnesses that might not be right for your specification.  
  • Cable harnesses go through rigorous testing before being installed in the application. This ensures that the harnesses are fit for purpose and won’t cause any expensive downtime. 

Advantages of a Wire Harness

Wire harnesses are usually made from thermoset or thermoplastic material. The wires aren’t protected by this plastic, but by the casings on the individual wires. Other advantages include:

  • Wire harnesses are much cheaper than cable harnesses as they don’t require as many materials before being installed in an application. 
  • They are very secure, as the wires are tied together. They are kept neat and tidy within the application and are less prone to abrasions and moisture. This also increases their service life.
  • As the wires are all tied together, there isn’t a need to install each and every wire in the system. Wire harnesses are simply placed within the application and are ready to go once installed. This reduces installation time and saves on cost of installation and labour. 

The Copper & Optic Solution

We can provide you with a solution for your application. If you are an OEM or business with a need for a wire harness or a cable assembly, get in touch with us to find out which one you should use for your system. Use our online contact form or call us on 01782 275810.