A key component of any printed circuit board assembly is its corresponding cable assembly which connects the PCBA to other devices. Because cable assemblies often require complex, custom designs, engineers, focused primarily on functionality, often overlook material cost concerns or ease of manufacturability during the design process. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) may worry that outsourcing cable assemblies will incur higher costs or jeopardize assembly quality. This decision, however, can actually help to alleviate both concerns if you choose experienced contract manufacturers (CMs) who can strategically identify cost saving opportunities. Of course these are only suggestions which may or may not be adopted by the OEM.
Let’s examine the key ways that experienced CMs provide feedback that can help reduce cable assembly costs for OEMs:
1. Analyzing bill of materials and assembly specifications – CMs inspect every single component and material involved in the assembly. Outside considerations such as the product’s final environment are weighed in conjunction with the OEM’s bill of materials in order to identify more cost-effective raw materials, or other potentially cost-saving recommendations.
2. Selecting the right conductor size – Generally speaking (with the exception of ultra-miniaturized components), the smaller the conductors, the lower the costs, so long as they transmit the necessary amount of electricity without a drop-off in performance. Reducing conductor size, thus, can yield valuable savings on overall assembly costs. An experienced CM will only recommend a smaller conductor size, so long as there is evidence suggesting that a conductor size reduction will not negatively impact product quality.
3. Selecting the right connectors – Whether the lugs, terminals, or contacts of a connector are crimped or hand soldered onto wires will depend on the desired transmission characteristics of the final assembly. Different types of connections require different methods, each of which boast unique cost implications. Not only can an experienced CM assess an OEM’s chosen manufacturing techniques for cost-effectiveness; but they can also assess whether any connections can be consolidated without jeopardizing product quality.
4. Selecting the right wires – An assembly’s wiring is determined by the certifications and safety ratings it ultimately requires (such as UL or CSA). Once the certification of an OEM’s application has been verified, CMs can determine which wires, sheaths and insulations will be necessary to achieve the safety requirements of the assembly.
5. Ensuring proper testing – For assemblies with many connections or large volume orders, partial auditing and visual inspections are not enough. CMs that perform rigorous cable assembly and wire harness quality checks produce savings on potential downstream corrections as well as wasted time, energy, manpower, and materials on defective part(s).
Achieve More with Syscom Tech
An experienced manufacturer of custom cable and harness assemblies, Syscom Tech maintains an unwavering commitment to quality control, testing 100% of the assemblies built for customers. With cable and harness assemblies being our first-introduced line of business, we take pride in the high-level industry and application expertise, and long-standing supplier relationships that we’ve acquired over the years. Contact us today to learn more about how our team can help you save on a cable assembly.