3 Challenges of Cable Design and How Engineers Can Overcome Them

Have you ever been inspired by a recent connector technology, but found the challenges of adopting the new connector type too daunting?

Engineers face many hurdles when designing in new or custom cable assemblies, including tooling costs, time-to-market, and connector errors. Needs such as prototyping, UL testing, and identifying the correct tooling can introduce many potential issues. Molex has developed a broad offering of Off-the-Shelf (OTS) Cable Assemblies to solve these problems. These solutions provide a range of Molex connectors and a variety of cable lengths, facilitating prototyping and global production.

Tooling costs
Many engineers have trouble designing in prototype cables due to the high-tooling investments – for example, the need for crimp terminal tooling. Due to this, engineers can face substantial costs when prototyping UL testing systems. Molex provides the ability to prototype with an off-the-shelf cable, eliminating the time taken and costs required to establish tooling. A completed assembly that meets the IPC-specification design solves start-up costs associated with tooling and removes any possible constraints expected from an absence of prototype cables.

Time-to-market
In addition to tooling costs, minimising the time to get a cable solution to market is a priority. After prototyping, significant time and resources can be spent identifying a supplier to build cable assemblies for end products. This can prevent engineers from achieving the fastest design cycle and fastest time to market. Long development cycles can also lead to missed opportunities. Molex resolves this issue by offering both the connector and assembly from one vendor, creating a one-source solution. This simplifies design requirements and eliminates the need to find multiple vendors. Designers can build prototypes faster and focus on other parts of their design.

Connector errors
Other connector challenges faced during assembly can contribute to end-product failure. Errors such as mis-mated connectors and terminal backout can be common. Molex’s standard cable assemblies are available with a range of Molex connectors off-the-shelf. Products such as PicoClasp, MicroClasp, CLIK-Mate and a range of connectors from the FiT Family offer premium housing features to prevent these issues and aim to reduce operator fatigue. These are designed to support both production and development programs and ensure correct connection via multi-colour cables.

These Molex products also feature pin-to-pin mapping from the receptacle to PCB header, creating a ready-to-use, plug-and-play connection. Current cable assembly industry standards and 2011/65/EU RoHS compliance requirements are met to ensure high quality and decrease engineering time. Aiding the design, prototyping, and production stages, UL 1061 and UL 1007 discrete wires are ready to use in electronic applications.

Molex Off-the-Shelf (OTS) Cable Assemblies
The variety of applications where off-the-shelf cable assemblies can be used is growing, meaning standard cable assemblies can be used for several challenging environments. Suitable for a range of target markets, pre-assembled wires are already used extensively in markets such as consumer, commercial vehicle, industrial, medical, and others. 

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