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Electrical Wire Harness: The Elements of Design
As in any field, the electrical wire harness and wire cable industries have a passion for design. The designs for wire harnesses tend to focus on the reliability, function, and efficiency of the product, rather than the art. But there are a few elements of the design work that goes into manufacturing these harnesses that deserve to be noticed. After all, there are so many different options, functions, colors, and materials in the industry, that at some point design has to step in to keep everything in line.
Many parts of the design are for safety specifically, for example the covering and sheaths that prevent you from being electrocuted by live wires when the harness is in use. These sheaths are usually made out of a thermoplastic insulating material. The basic harness design tends to be the most popular, since it can be purchased at almost any electronics store or retailer. They are usually mass-produced and as a result end up being cheaper for the consumer, and are quicker to install as well. A basic harness might be something you use when replacing a car stereo for instance.
There are wire harnesses that are customizable for more complex electronics needs, or DIY projects. This is where the design element is key, especially when you have a specific function or purpose for the harness. For example, most harnesses are not well equipped for outside work, or environmental threats. That is something that should be included in the design, if you know you are going to be using the harness in conditions that might cause stress or damage to the electronics.
Sheathing and sheathing materials are a large part of the design as well. There are many options as far as materials, such as shrink-wrapped plastic, thermoplastic, vinyl and rubber. This sheathing is in addition to the insulation that is already around the wires, and is good for protecting the cable from the elements such as moisture, heat friction, and pressure. For cables that will only see indoor use, design may focus on length of the cable, the flexibility and the transportability, as opposed to the ruggedness. This extra sheath is also useful for keep multiple individual wires together for convenience.
As far as the actual harness goes, it is different from the cable and sheathing technique. There are still multiple wires with insulation, and there may be some of which that are cables, or several wires sheathed together, but the harness is designed to make sure all the wires and cables stay in a working formation to serve their function. Harnesses are used wherever there is complex wiring involved. Also, basically any and all vehicles with motors and some kind of control panel tend to have wire harnesses involved. For example, if your car has a sound system, that requires a harness to operate. The same goes for any variety of complex machinery. The bottom line is that custom harnesses are specifically designed to meet your wire harness needs, in the most efficient and reliable way.
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