Cable Assemblies for Harsh Environments

Posted on October 9, 2018 by

Since 1983 we have been making cable assemblies here in the UK, and this month alone we have shipped our products to the UK, all over Europe, North and South America and even to China. Our cable assemblies can be found in all sorts of market sectors but one particular sector we are trusted to work in are Harsh Environments. Why do I say trusted, you may ask; surely making cables anyone can do? Why do you need to be trusted? The simple answer to all of those questions is that we are trusted to be a reliable manufacturer whose product will work under these harsh conditions. Below are just three examples where our cables are working and what the conditions and requirements are.

Deep Sea Exploration

deep sea cable assembliesWe were selected along with some other competitors to compete for a tender where our cables would be in a deep sea exploration module. These modules would be launched from boats and would go to 4km deep under the ocean. For us that was not a real challenge and that may sound slightly blasé, but we knew our manufacturing processes, our choice of vendors and finally our excellent QC department would all work together to give the customer a quality product that will not fail. To the customer it was not that simple. Imagine the cost involved on such a project, and then imagine the cost of getting that project out to sea, the cost of the engineers on the boat, waiting for the correct window of opportunity with the currents and weather, then launching the module to the sea bed; a journey that takes over 6 hours each way. Imagine if they chose the wrong supplier, and when that module was set to work at its destination it did not work. The cost of choosing the wrong supplier would have been millions of wasted money. Luckily for us, our customer was not focused on price alone, quality and processes were far more important to them and they made the correct choice. In this case all our cables were CNC prepared on automatic machinery, all crimp processes were also checked and recorded and multi stage electronic QC tests were carried out throughout the process using HiPot voltage testing. We have the experience to produce these high quality looms and thankfully our customer had the trust in us to work with us.

 

Unmanned Air Vehicles

cable assemblies for unmanned aircraftThis is a growing industry in the world and one that has many levels of and types of aircraft. We were selected for an unmanned fixed wing aircraft that has a petrol rotary engine. It has a wing span of some 6m so is a pretty large drone. The use of this aircraft is for surveillance, it is used in the Arctic so it is prone to pretty low temperatures all the time. The customer could not afford to have a harness that would fail in any temperature. We helped with the design of this project, selected the correct materials that would withstand both low and high temperatures, chose some special wire that was very lightweight, strong and able to carry bigger current than standard same AWG could take. In this case we could lay up the loom on the air frame before and then we could look at minimising the weight further. Less weight equals longer fly time. We tested these cable assemblies on our Cirris CH2 tester. With that experience, we have since embarked on further unmanned aircraft and marine vehicles.

 

Ocean Marine Racing

cable assemblies for ocean racingWe have for the past 15 years had involvement in the world of motorsport, but in the past 5 years we have moved into the world of ocean sail racing. We have supplied many round the world yacht teams, and Americas Cup challenge teams. We are perfectly positioned on the South Coast of the UK and can see the Solent waters from our facility. We got involved in this industry from our motorsport work. Some of the challenges we have had in this area are the lengths of these looms, some are over 40m long as they go up masts, plus the other big challenge is sea water. It is very corrosive and gets in absolutely everywhere. We witnessed the destruction of one such harness, not ours I will add. A racing yacht had capsized over one weekend, and the harness was brought into us to repair two days later. The connectors were destroyed as standard autosport connectors had been chosen. So our guys set about the task of removing the connectors and the boots. As they did this it quickly became evident that water had got into the back of the connector under the boot on the back. When we fit heatshrink boots, we ensure that a ring of glue is fitted 360 degrees around the boot and cable. This other manufacturer had just missed a bit and salt water had got in. The simple fix of replacing a connector ended up being stripping the cable back about 300mm further back, splicing and replacing that cable length, then re-crimping and loading of the connector. It was just bad luck the boat capsized, but if the booting had been done correctly by this other manufacturer then salt water would not have got inside the harness.

As you can see harsh environments is a test of any manufacturers capabilities, but only the best can ensure they can do the job each and every time. Quality is key to us!


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