As of 2023, there are approximately 96 fiber optic cable manufacturing businesses in the US. So, there is no end of eager companies ready to meet and supply your requirements. But how do you choose the right fiber optic cable supplier and manufacturer? This article provides all the insight you need to make the right choice.
Ten Steps to Choosing Your Fiber Optic Cable Solutions Supplier and Manufacturer in the U.S
1- Identify Requirements. The very first place to start is reviewing your requirements. That should start with your early design and specification efforts. But it shouldn’t end there. The fiber optic cable supplier you eventually identify will become a partner in your design and particularly in your sourcing options for the ideal custom fiber optic cable assembly.
2- Read Reviews. A good starting point is to check online reviews and comments about prospective fiber optic cable manufacturers. Then, dig deep into reviews of all their types of cables, from hybrid and custom to assemblies and harnesses. You’ll learn about the successes and, hopefully, not too many failures of your prospective cable supplier partners.
3- Contact References. Once you’ve sifted through the reviews, you should have a narrow list of prospective manufacturers. Now it’s time to contact each one and begin the evaluation process. First, ask for a list of several current or previous customers. Then contact those references that are most aligned with your own requirements and industry. Next, ask each reference about their experience, making sure to inquire about the successes and problems they encountered. Finally, ask them specifically if they would recommend the supplier.
4- Validate Experience. Manufacturing fiber optic cable and cable assemblies is a complex process requiring considerable expertise built upon broad experience. Therefore, they should have extensive experience in the cable manufacturing business and your specific industry. Only then will they be able to identify issues before they happen, advise you of changes that might be needed in your design, and ensure you both are successful.
5- Assess Capabilities. The best manufacturers provide quick prototype design, development, and rapid scaling into full-blown production. Any custom fiber optic cable wire harness manufacturer will also have extensive component sourcing capabilities. Plus, they should be able to share their insight into where you’re most likely to run into problems. Moreover, the right supplier can provide real-time supply issue updates, from shortages to discontinued connectors. Finally, in this day of everything online, it’s wise to visit your supplier in person to see their work in action.
6- Verify Product Quality. The list of factors to consider when examining fiber optic cable quality is extensive. It begins with the basic optical fiber, the insulation, applying connectors, and bundling it into a cable assembly that includes copper wires. Next, those conductors are developed through an extrusion process along with any required stranding. That’s followed by the insulation, which requires mold design and tooling, where custom colors, artwork, logos, and product numbers are also applied. Finally, terminations are applied to the conductor using manual soldering or semi-automated crimping tools. There may also be a process step to cut and shrink tubing around several conductors. All that must be examined closely in your overall supplier review process within the U.S.A.
7- Review Testing Procedures. Then there’s testing to ensure that the fiber optic cable assembly or hybrid fiber optic wire harness has been correctly wired and meets rigorous U.S. standards. Those standards include environmental factors such as vibration, heat, cold, abrasion, and even moisture. Fiber optic cable further requires testing the transmission quality of the fiber as well as the connections. That covers a wide range of measures from insertion loss to attenuation and more. Make sure your potential suppliers have this area down to a science, providing the best quality fiber optic cable assemblies the first time and every time.
8- Assess Certifications. Manufacturing custom fiber optic cable assemblies and wire harnesses requires deep expertise, broad experience, and alignment with industry certifications and regulations. You can tell the top manufacturers from their list of certifications.
9- Seek Competitive Pricing. The cost will always be on your list for any supplier or manufacturer. However, it’s also a very real possibility to save a few cents that end up costing you far more in the long run. Those costs could be delayed production, cost overruns, and even failed projects. This should not be the number one factor on your list.
10- Evaluate Customer Service. Over the long haul, customer service will make a huge difference when working with any fiber optic cable supplier. The right custom cable manufacturers engage you from your first moment of contact and through every step of every project. You can almost tell on the first call whether they have your interests at heart. Therefore, this aspect should be weighted highly in assessing the right cable harness manufacturer for your business.
We Can Meet Your Fiber Optic Cable Assembly Manufacturing Needs
We are a Corning Gold House Partner and work with many other suppliers to source materials. We also have extensive in-house capabilities. Plus, we make it a special point to work with USA-based suppliers, many of them located near our manufacturing facilities on both the East and West coasts.
If your requirements are already specified and ready for a quote for your current projects, we are prepared to meet your deadlines and pricing targets. Our extensive in-house services and advanced manufacturing capabilities are in place to meet your requirements.
But Cables-Unlimited offers much more than state-of-the-art manufacturing – our dedicated team is also known for going to great lengths to meet the needs of our customers, including working round-the-clock to meet tight turnaround time requirements.
Our sales representatives are standing by to assist you with product questions and quotes Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern. Of course, you can also email us or complete our contact form, and we’ll get right back to you.