Overmoulded Cables for Harsh Environments

Overmoulded cable assemblies are extremely flexible and durable, and most of us who work in an office will see one practically every working day, with the greatest possible “risk” being a coffee spillage or running over the cable with our office chair.

Yet overmoulded cable assemblies can be used in much harsher locations than the standard office and are ideal for protection against a variety of different environmental factors, including shock, vibrations, fluid immersion, abrasion, corrosion, extreme temperatures and pull forces.

The process of overmoulding is generally considered a “mature” manufacturing technology, but selection of materials used in the overmould is critical to the final performance characteristics of the cable assembly. For example, matching the material used for the cable jacket to the overmould material is crucial to safeguard against chemical or moisture ingress. If waterproofing is a requirement, the seal between the overmould and the cable jacket creates an additional solid bond. O-rings and gaskets can also be added for extra protection. For OEMs wanting their products to comply with IP ratings these additional measures are advisable. If vibration is a potential concern, the overmoulding element of the cable assembly means that all the contacts are enclosed, with no room to move.

An overmoulded cable assembly is less compressible, meaning that it is less susceptible to damage if objects are placed on or run over it.

Tom Hennessey, business manager for cable assemblies at GTK, said, “Overmoulding technology offers many benefits when used in cable assemblies as it provides protection against a variety of different elements that could otherwise compromise performance. This technology has been around for many years and is now relatively advanced and, as such, the cost of overmoulding is relatively stable. An added advantage of overmoulding is that OEMs can use it to brand their cable assemblies, using corporate colours and including their logos, which is proving increasingly popular in both industrial and consumer electronics. We work closely with customers who require overmoulded cable assemblies to ensure that the materials selected for their products are going to meet their product performance requirements.”

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