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Value-added Services: Wire and Cable Modifications

Wire and cable do not generally come with all the modifications needed for a specific application. For example, your application could call for wire with ink-jet printing for easy identification during installation and usage. Similarly, you may want your wires dyed various colors for prompt circuit identification. This is where value-added manufacturers take over.

Several manufacturers supply distributors, wire harness manufacturers, and OEMs with value-added services for wire and cable products. A value-added service indicates a customization on an order that goes beyond a basic or core service. In other words, it benefits the end user by “adding value” to the standard service offered.

In the electrical wire and cable industry, value-added services include braiding, cut and strip, printing, bar-coding, dyeing, custom put ups, striping, and more.  These services can be broken down into four main categories – Identification Solutions, Installation Solutions, Labeling Solutions, and Packaging Solutions.

Identification Solutions:  Striping, Dyeing, and Printing

Striping and Dyeing

Manufacturers and distributors of electrical wire often add stripes or dye a base wire another color. These processes are multifunctional as they add value to the product, differentiate the wire for circuit identification and help control inventory volumes of stocked material.

In order to dye a wire, a specially-built machine feeds the wire product through a system of pulleys. First, the wire passes through a “wiper,” a foam circle that encompasses the entire cable. The jacket of the wire absorbs a formulated dye that is present in the foam. After passing through the wiper, the wire goes into a heat tower to cure and dry.

Striping, which many manufacturers offer for extruded wire, is performed in the same machine as dyeing. However, for striping, the wire does not pass through a foam wiper. Instead, the wire passes through a striper head that spins around the wire before it goes into the dryer tower.

The produced stripes are either longitudinal or spiral. Post-production striping usually generates a spiral stripe, like that on a candy cane.  Longitudinal stripes, which run along the side of a wire, are also available post-production, but are not as common as the spiral type.  Contrasting stripes are generally used when more than ten circuits have to be identified.

Almost all insulations are able to be striped, including PVC, rubber, silicone, and PTFE. Similar to striping, most PVC compounds can be dyed to individual specifications without encountering any problems. However, some compounds that are CV-cured or irradiated are not able to be dyed because they were originally designed to repel both petroleum- and alkaline-based chemicals. The color will not soak into the insulation and is prone to flaking.

Printing

In addition to common striping and dyeing methods, there are other ways of marking wire for identification. Many OEMs and harness manufacturers prefer using printed wire in their assembled products. Printed wire not only helps in the assembly of products, but also benefits installers and users of the finished product.

One way of marking wire is with ink-jet printing. Using a dot matrix printer, a series of “dots” create characters on a wire. For example, in the automotive industry, a harness may be manufactured for turn signals. In this case, the specific wire would be ink-jet printed “left front turn signal” or “tail lights.” Each wire would be color coded in the harness and ink-jet printed, making it user-friendly and easily identifiable.

Another way of marking wire is hot stamping, which entails a process similar to that of a typewriter. A character-shaped “head” strikes a colored tape, causing the chosen character(s) to appear on the wire.

Installation Solutions:  Twisting, Braiding, and Cut & Strip

Twisting

Many OEMs need paired wire in the manufacturing process. Grouping single- or multi-conductor cables into various configurations can cut installation time dramatically.  It allows wires to lie together, which in turn makes working with them easier.

In order to create paired wire, a process known as twisting must occur. Twisting entwines multiple wires and arranges them tightly next to each other. Two, three, and even up to eight wires can be twisted together.

The process of putting wire ends into a drill and twisting the wire is one home-grown twisting method that’s still practiced on the production floor. It will get the job done to some extent, but it will not remove the natural twist in each wire. This means that if the wire is cut into small lengths, it will not stay twisted together.

Another problem with this method is the wire acquires dirt and grit on the production floor. The dirt could transfer to the finished product, which could then pose major problems. Twisting using a dedicated wire twisting machine is the only way to get a good lay to the wires.

Braiding

One process that helps add protection against abrasion in harsh environments is braiding.

Braiding is a process in which small strands are woven together on top of a wire or cable for added protection. At the start of the process, numerous spools, also called “Bobbins,” of very small gauge wire (32-36 AWG) are inserted into a wire braiding machine.

The bobbins are each placed in a precise location within the machine and the ends of each bobbin are pulled to the top of the braiding machine. Next, the bobbins are subjected to a spinning or circular weaving motion, while a wire or cable is pulled up through the center of the bobbins. As the synchronized process commences, a weave or braid is manufactured over the cable. Finally, the finished product is drawn out of the braid machine onto a larger spool or payoff.

Cut & Strip

Having your wire cut and stripped saves time and money and prevents excessive waste. Let’s say you need 1000 four-inch pieces of wire to install in printers that you manufacture. For each piece, you need .5 inches of wire exposed on the ends. Instead of having your factory workers manually cut each piece off the reel and then remove the insulation from the ends, have your value-added manufacturer complete the process for you.

The cut and strip process starts at one end of a cut and strip machine where a reel is held in what is called a “payoff.” The machine operator enters the overall length and desired cut and strip measurements for the pieces. Next, the wire is fed through a set of pressure-sensitive wheels that hold the wire tautly.

Then the wire is passed through a pair of blades that strip the insulation, as it can sense where the bare wire begins. The wire is then pulled to the end to make the length cut. Finally, it is pulled backward slightly in order to make the final ‘strip’ cut. The pieces of insulation cut for the strip can be left on the end of the wire to prevent the strands from fraying. This detached piece of insulation is called the slug.

The final cut and stripped wire is dropped into a bin.  The machine will finish the process for the total amount of wire length the machine operator entered at the beginning.

Labeling Solutions:  UL/CSA Labels, RFID, Custom Labels, Bar-Coding

UL & CSA Labels

Wire and cable products can be sent pre-labeled with UL and CSA tags.  Use of these tags ensures that products will arrive at the delivery-point already marked to meet internal classifications, aiding in proper identification and distribution upon receipt.

RFID & Government Labels

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is another Value-Added option to pre-label products for ease of receipt.  These labels are encoded with a radio frequency that can be “read” by a transponder.  RFID labels provide more than the basic information offered by a standard print label or even a bar-code, and can be read at long distances.

Value-added manufacturers will also produce Government labels.  These specify any government-level classifications of Mil-Spec wires and cables, and can aid in tracking and inventory.

Custom Shipping Labels

Custom shipping labels include the specific information a company requires to meet their standards right on the package.  The types of information likely to be found on a custom shipping label, aside from the shipping address, include Part Number, Supplier Part Number, PO Number, Lot Number, and Date.

Bar-Coding

This service will print the needed information right on the shipping label in the bar-code standard the company uses.  There are two general types of bar-codes:  linear, which is used more often, and matrix, which holds more data.  Common linear formats are UPC, generally used in retail, and MSI, generally used in warehouse inventory.

Packaging Solutions:  Special Packaging/Reel Sizes

Wire is heavy, consumes space, and is hard to keep in inventory. In addition, OEMs worry about the costs in set-up and handling of preprocessed and post-processed wire. Many OEMs that regularly use wire have gotten special reels or spools in order to efficiently use storage area, maintain an accurate inventory, and keep costs to a minimum.

Wire and cable distributors that cater to OEMs and harness houses have developed unique ways to store wire. One such way is to use large bulk Drum “reels.” Drums are commonly constructed of cardboard or pressed paper (with a center core of the same material) and metal rings around the top and bottom. When wire is ready to be stored, it is laid into the Drum using a circular motion that allows for easy removal. Storage capacity in any given Drum can be thousands of feet, depending on the gauge of the wire. However, if the Drum is rolled or damaged, the wire may become almost impossible to remove.

Reels and spools come in many different sizes and configurations for use with varying wire types. For example, large 6 to 8 foot tall wooden slatted reels hold large gauge power cable.  Many wire manufacturers use 2,500 ft to 5,000 ft spools for hook-up wire.

Small gauge wire may be spooled on a 10-inch plastic spool that has a center core length of 5 to 6 inches and holds up to 10,000 ft.  Certain factors determine the spool size you will need; one important factor is how the wire will be used in the manufacturing process.

If the manufacturer usually cuts their wire by automated machine, the spool size or Drum size may be critical. For example, using an automated machine, a large Drum of wire can be gone in as little as 30 minutes, depending on the length of the cut. Cost is another factor. As an added benefit for a large reel size or Drum Packs, many distributors offer discounts on bulk reels.

With all of their unique abilities, value-added services conveniently customize while offering solutions for precise wire and cable specifications. As an additional advantage, purchasing wire and cable from a value-added manufacturer proves to be cost-effective because everything you need can be completed in a single location by one vendor.

Electrical wire and cable distributors have the tools to prepare wire for the buyer’s convenience. Whatever the service, the value-added distributor offers the ability to custom-order inventory to fit individual process and storage needs. This translates into better usage of time and space, and that further translates into profit.

Tim Flynn is the President of Allied Wire and Cable, a leading value-added distributor of electrical wire, cable, tubing, connectors, and accessories, headquartered in Collegeville, PA. Tim, a graduate of Drexel University, has been President of AWC for its entire 20+ years in business, and he has guided the rapid growth of the customer-focused, relationship-based company. For more about AWC, please visit: Allied Wire and Cable, Inc.

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Residential Wiring Diagrams – Who Needs Them?

You will benefit from using residential wiring diagrams if you plan on completing electrical wiring projects in your home. An electrical wiring diagram can be as simple as a diagram showing how to install a new switch in your hallway, or as complex as the complete electrical blueprint for your new home.Although household electricity is nothing to play around with, in many ways, wiring is simpler than other repair and remodeling skills such as carpentry. Once you’ve learned some basic skills such as installing boxes, running cable, and splicing, you just need to determine which wire goes where. This is why a good wiring diagram is important for wiring your home safely. Keep your diagrams near-by. You’ll want to refer to them often as you work on your project.Wire Colors:Electrical wiring diagrams that are in color have an advantage over ones that are black and white only. The wires will be colored the same as the actual wires you will be using. Commonly, the green wire is ground, white or off-white is neutral, and black, red or other colors indicate the hot wire. In some instances, such as some switch legs, the function of the wires will be indicated by colored electrical tape.Symbols:When looking at any residential wiring diagram, start by familiarizing yourself with the symbols that are being used. The electrical symbols will not only show where something is to be installed, but what type of device is being installed. Make sure you understand the symbols on your diagram before beginning your project. There should be a chart on your diagram showing the different symbols being used, much like a legend on a map.For example, a surface ceiling light will be shown by one symbol, a recessed ceiling light will have a different symbol, and a surface fluorescent light will have another symbol. Each type of switch will have a different symbol and so will the various outlets. You’ll even find symbols showing the location of smoke detectors, your doorbell chime, and the thermostat.Switches:When it comes to household electricity, there’s a lot more to consider than simply turning a switch On and Off. Some of the most common questions electricians receive involve switches. Once you understand the different types of switches and follow a good wiring diagram, you should be able to install a new switch in your home.Here are some of the more common switching configurations:A Single-Pole Switch provides switching from one location only. “Single-Pole” may sound simple, but there are different ways to wire a Single-Pole Switch and a set of electrical wiring diagrams will explain each of them to you clearly.3-Way Switches are used to control one or more fixtures from two locations. This is a common configuration in hallways and staircases. There are many ways to wire a 3-Way Switch. The power can start at a fixture or either of the two switches. Without a wiring diagram it can be very easy to make a serious mistake.A wiring diagram will even take the mystery out of wiring a 3-Way Dimmer Switch. What a great way to enjoy softer light and a reduced energy bill!One of the most complicated wiring configurations is a 4-Way Switch. These switches enable you to control one or more fixtures from three or more locations. It would be almost impossible to write the instructions in a way that you could simply read them and complete your project. However, a good wiring diagram will make it possible for you to successfully and safely tackle wiring 4-Way Switches.As important as electrical wiring diagrams are to the successful completion of your wiring project, safety and respect for electricity are essential. Never work on live circuits. Before you begin your project, identify the circuit you’re working on and then turn off power to that circuit at the main panel. Then confirm that the power is off with a voltage tester. If at any time you feel unsure about what you’re doing, please call a licensed electrical contractor.

More information on residential wiring diagrams and diagrams for all of these switches can be found in the Residential Wiring Diagrams section of my website: Ask-The-Electrician.com.


Dave Rongey is a Licensed Electrical Contractor with over 35 years of experience. He is also an avid Do It Yourselfer. Through the years Dave has seen too many DIY projects that are serious fire and safety hazards. Visit Dave at Ask-The-Electrician.com for electrical project guides, complete with photographs, which will enable you to enhance the beauty and value of your home safely.

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★★★★ 1967 ford truck f 100 wiring diagrams

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1967 Ford Truck F-100 Wiring DiagramsThis wiring diagrams applied for 1967 Ford Truck F-100 series. Here you will find 13 diagrams depicting the 1967 Ford Truck F-100 wiring installation including truck auxiliary tank diagram, truck courtesy light wiring, exterior lights and turn signals, truck horns diagram, ignition, charging, starting and gauging diagrams, instrument panel diagram, interior lights, instrument lights and cigar lights, truck overdrive series diagram, overdrive diagram, roof and platform marker lights diagrams, transmission system diagram, windshield wiper and wiper diagram. Please download the 1967 Ford Truck F-100 Wiring Diagrams here (pass: wiringdiagrams21.com)

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♔♔♔ chevrolet monte carlo wiring diagram Chevrolet Monte Carlo was first introduced by Chevrolet in 1970s. The following wiring diagram and electrical system schematics apply for 1997 Monte Carlo series which covers 3.1L and 3.4L engine performance circuit, transmission system, 6-way power circuit, air conditioning schematics, anti-lock brake, back-up lamps, charging circuit, computer data lines, cooling fan circuit, courtesy lamps, cruise control, defogger, electronic power steering, exterior lamps, ground distribution circuit, headlight, horn, instrument cluster, instrument illumination, power distribution, power door lock and power mirror, power window, shift interlock circuit, starting system, wiper and washer.

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★★★★ 1994 mitsubishi montero wiring diagram

♔♔♔ mitsubishi-montero-wiring-diagramThe following wiring diagram applies for 1994 Mitsubishi Montero car series. Herein you will find complete illustration about the electrical system which includes air conditioning system diagram, Anti-lock Brakes circuit, Computer Data Lines, Cruise Control System, Defoggers, Electronics Suspension, Engine Performance, Exterior Lights diagram, Ground Distribution, Horn, Instrument Cluster and etc of Montero models.

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★★★★ general motors radio wire harness color diagram

♔♔♔ general motor radio wiring diagram The following wire harness applies for General Motors Radio. Herein you will find detail information about the color diagram of GM radio wire harness e.g. Pin A for right rear speaker has a light blue color for typical GM factory in Dash Wire Color while it is purple with black stripe for typical new radio equivalent wire color. Another example, Pin B for left rear speaker is yellow for typical GM factory in Dash Wire Color, while it is green with black stripe for typical new radio equivalent wire color. (Source: installdr.com)

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★★★★ 1991 bmw 318 series wiring diagrams

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This wiring diagram applies for 1991 BMW 318 Series. Here you will find 11 diagrams depicting 1991 BMW 318 Series wirings schematics which are including Engine Compartment and Headlights Diagram, Computer Engine Control Diagram, Fuse Block Diagram, Fuse Block and Ignition Switch Diagrams, AC & Heater, Multi Function Clock, Inter Lts Diagram, ABS, SRS, Seat Belt & SRS Warn Module wiring diagrams, Comb Sw, Light Sw, Defog Sw, Pwr Antenna diagram, Instrument Cluster, Power Widow/Mirror, Wiper/Washer, Taillights diagram, Control Locking, Passenger Compartment & Taillights diagrams. You can download the 1991 BMW 318 Series Wiring Diagrams from here (pass: wiringdiagrams21.com)

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★★★★ 2003 honda civic electrical engine wiring diagram

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2003 Honda Civic Electrical (Engine) Wiring DiagramThis engine electrical wiring diagram applies for 2003 Honda Civic series. In this manual you can get complete discussion on electrical system of 2003 Honda Civic engine which is including discussion on Special Tools to be used on maintaining or repairing the engine electrical system, Starting System (e.g. circuit diagram, starter circuit troubleshooting, starter solenoid test, starter overhaul, starter replacement, etc), Ignition System, Charging Diagram, and Cruise Control System Diagram. There is also special section which discussing troubleshooting for each part mentioned above.

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★★★★ 1998 audi a6 system wiring diagram

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1998 Audi A6 System Wiring DiagramThis wiring diagram is applicable for 1998 Audi A6 series. The wiring diagram system provides detail electrical circuit information installed on this vehicle. This wiring diagram manual is divided into 52 pages, each page depicting the actual wiring of each system circuit. Content: Exterior Lamps Circuit, Ground Distribution Circuit, Air Conditioning Circuit, Anti-Lock Brake Circuit, Anti-Theft Circuit, Computer Data Lines, Cooling Fan Circuit, Cruise Control Circuit, Defogger Circuit, Electronic Power Circuit, Engine Performance Diagram, Back-up Lamps Diagram, Exterior Lamps Diagram, Power Door Lock Diagram, etc.Download the 1998 Audi A6 System Wiring Diagram here (pass: wiringdiagrams21.com)

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★★★★ 1996 ford explorer wiring diagram

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1996 Ford Explorer Wiring DiagramThis wiring diagram manual applies for 1996 Ford Explorer series. This 67 pages pdf. file type manual depicting the detail 96 Ford Explorer electrical schematic diagram of its parts which are include Air Conditioning Circuit, Anti-Lock Brake Circuit, Anti-Theft Brake Circuit, Body Computer Circuit, Computer Data Lines Diagram, Cruise Control Diagram, Defogger Diagram, Electronics Suspension Circuit, Engine Performance Diagram, Exterior Lamp Diagram, Lamp Outage Module Circuit, Trailer/Camper Adapter Circuit, etc. Please download the 1996 Ford Explorer Wiring Diagram here (pass: wiringdiagrams21.com)

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