While we are devoted to manufacturing the best custom cable assemblies, custom wire harnesses, fiber cables, and custom hybrid cables, we also offer hundreds of cables in standard lengths with standard connectors on an off-the-shelf basis. After all, who wouldn’t want the convenience and speed of cables that are ready to go?
Unfortunately, in today’s demanding environment of increasing complexity, from developing products and systems for the Internet of Things (IoT) to 5G—along with small cell networks—there’s not much that can be standardized from one project or installation to the next.
The real trick then is to find the right cable design for your installation while you’re partnered with the right custom cable manufacturer.
What Are Hybrid Cables?
A hybrid cable is a single cable with multiple types of fibers, conductors, and connectors. They can contain various AWG-size wires, coaxial and ethernet cables, fiber optics, and even more. They are also built with the exact jackets needed including PVC, Plenum, and LSZH which are heat, moisture, and UV resistant. Not only that but they are also built with the exact type of shielding needed for each specific installation. Add to that the needed strain reliefs, as well as desired color, logos, and text, and you have a hybrid cable.
Why Not Bundle Standard Cables?
One option is to bundle standard cables together by hand. This offers quite a bit of design flexibility. For that reason, this approach can be just the ticket for prototype development or extremely limited production quantities. Even so, it has the challenges of finding all the right length standard cables and fitting everything together in some semblance of order.
On the other hand, a single hybrid cable offers the benefits of a much more compact cable and certainly a smoother cleaner look. Plus, a hybrid cable can be relied upon batch after batch to meet the precise requirements of the installation. Not so with off-the-shelf bundles where each individual cable’s performance within the bundle might vary from one batch to the next.
On top of that, custom testing can be added to the hybrid cable manufacturing process to ensure all emissions and electrical performance standards are met as well as mechanical standards including leak tests.
Custom Hybrid Cables Common Misperceptions
For those who are inexperienced with custom hybrid cables, there are a few misperceptions that can confuse things.
- It takes too long to develop. If you’re working with a manufacturer who is just getting started with this type of cable, you could well run into delays and unforeseen challenges. It’s best to choose a partner who is a proven performer in this area and that has all the systems and people in place to work closely with you to address your requirements in a timely manner.
- Adds manufacturing time and cost risk to the project. Here again, you’ll need to carefully vet your prospective partner, fully assessing their track record with your type of cable, along with their history with other clients and projects. Also, compare the time and cost to procure one cable versus the multiple cables potentially from different manufacturers for a hand-built cable bundle. One missing cable can bring your efforts to a sudden halt.
- They are too expensive. The starting point for cost comparison begins with the hand-built bundle of cables. Be sure to include the procurement costs for shipping and expediting several different types of cables along with the full labor cost and effort to put the cables together. Hybrid cables give you exactly what you want without the hassle of assembly and tedious procurement.
Off-the-shelf cables definitely have their place. But when it comes to pulling together a hybrid cable that meets your exact requirements, off-the-shelf cables can’t really compete.
We Can Help with Hybrid Cable Customization
With production facilities in multiple locations across the United States, Cables Unlimited can assist customers here and worldwide with their most challenging hybrid custom cable requirements.
If you are in the design stages, we can provide engineering assistance and prototyping. If your requirements are already specified and ready for quote, we are uniquely positioned to meet your deadlines and pricing targets, due to our extensive in-house services and advanced manufacturing capabilities.
But we offer 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. You can also send us an email or complete our contact form and we’ll get right back to you.