The Terminal Basics

Category Archive: Cable Assembly

Terminals Basics

What is a Terminal?

Terminals are crucial components to any cable assembly process. By definition, a terminal is part of a class of electrical connectors used for the transfer of electrical currents from a grounding source or power. The terminal of a wire also indicates the point at which the conductor, from a component, device, or network, comes to an end. The multitude of cable applications introduces a wide selection of terminal variations and types. Each project consists of specified requirements that lead to the use of some terminals over others. PGF supplies customers will all kinds of terminals, effectively integrating the necessary parts for a successful cable assembly!

Variations

There are two main variations amongst cable terminals: insulated and non-insulated. Depending on the designated project, either one of the two variations is preferred for high quality product performance. Insulated provide an additional protective cover to avoid water and other moisture from getting to the wire. The insulation can be found in nylon, heat shrink, or vinyl material to act as a non-conductor wire. On the other hand, non-insulated are typically used in the instances in which the extra wire protection is not necessary. Additionally, the non-insulated wires are cheaper to manufacture, thus proving to be more economically valuable.

ring terminal

Terminal Types

Ring 

a round-ended terminal that easily allows a screw or stud to be attached. Ring Terminals are either crimped or soldered to the wire. Available in insulated or non-insulated.

Common Applications: Ring terminals are typically utilized within the automotive industry. The shape is ideal for connecting various contactors or mechanical relays to car engines and circuits.

fork terminal

 

Spade (Fork)

an open-ended spade terminal that is convenient to use allowing easy attachment or removal from the screw. Available in insulated or non-insulated.

Common Applications: Wire harness assembly projects commonly consist of tightly spaced installation spaces, thus mostly utilizing spade terminals. The spade provides reliable and quick electrical connections that are solderless.

hook terminal

 

Hook

a terminal convenient to use with an open end. Produced insulated or non-insulated, hook structures offer a simplistic yet durable connection for a variety of projects.

Common Applications: The simplistic hook design allows for easy-to use terminals that are durable and efficient. Thus, instances in need of electrical wire connectors are the most common hook terminal applications.

quick disconnect terminal

 

Quick-Disconnect 

A quick-disconnect terminal provides convenient and reliable use offering an easy connect and disconnect for two wires. Produced insulated or non-insulated.

Common Applications: Quick-disconnect terminals can be found in a multitude of auto, industrial, and consumer products. As one of the fastest ways to connect and disconnect two wires, such terminals are easily reusable and highly efficient.

bullet terminal

 

Bullet

Bullet terminals connect with the male and open-ended round female connectors creating a high-quality connection. The connection with bullet terminals helps prevent corrosion and other potentially harmful materials from entering a wire harness.

Common Applications: The automotive industry utilizes bullet terminals for quick and simple wiring connections. The bullet design provides durable connections that can be easily assembled and disassembled during manufacturing.

butt terminal

 

Butt

a Butt Terminal connects or terminates single or multiple wires. They help prevent abrasion and cutting. This extra protection helps keep out moisture, corrosion, and other negative elements. Butt Terminals serve as a simple solution to extend wires due to the ability to mate and connect wires.

Common Applications: Amongst various industries, butt terminals safely terminate any given wire. Additionally, another common use is to connect one wire to another.

flag terminal

 

Flag

 terminals that offer a convenient and secure connection. Flag terminals work well in tight spaces as well as when a quick-disconnect is too large. Provides a quick and easy connection and disconnect. Also available in insulated and non-insulated.

Common Applications: Flag terminals reliability promote their use for applications that require frequent connections.

 

PGF Terminal Services

Through the variety of industries and applications, PGF Technology Group, Inc. adheres to all customer project specifications and requirement. The company’s devotion to supreme quality, on-time delivery, and competitive industry pricing allows customers to trust PGF with all terminal needs. The wide range of manufacturing diversity within the company guarantees proper product assembly from highest expertise. Learn more about PGF capabilities and request a quote today!

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Cables and Wire Harnesses: What’s the Difference?

What Is the Difference Between a Cable Harness Assembly and a Wire Harness Assembly?

Cables and wire harnesses are both responsible for supplying electrical components with power, organizing cables and wires to optimize space, and providing them with some manner of protection from environmental conditions. Despite their functional similarities, however, these assemblies are not interchangeable. Each has its unique advantages and optimal applications. At PGF Technology Group, Inc., our team can assist you in finding the right assembly for your project.

Just as these assembly types are two different products, the same is true of wires and cables. A wire is a strand of electrically conductive metal like copper or aluminum that can transmit power as well as information. A cable, then, is made up of multiple wires that are usually joined in a braided or bonded configuration.

The key variation between the two assemblies has to do with how protected their cables or wires are from chemicals, moisture, dust, extreme temperatures, and friction.

 

Cables vs. Wire Harnesses

Cable Assemblies

Cable assemblies bundle wires or cables together for organization and efficient electrical system operation. Of the two assembly types, cable assemblies are best suited to outdoor applications. They are superior for withstanding environmental stress because they utilize a durable cover of materials such as vinyl, thermoplastic rubber, or shrink-wrapped thermoplastic. This robust insulating sheath safeguards internal cables from high heat, dirt, or other contaminants, detrimental weather, compressive force, abrasion, and more. 

Wire Harnesses

Wire harnesses work well as cable system organizers, particularly in grouping smaller internal wires or cables for added connectivity. However, while these assemblies do include a protective casing to prevent short-circuiting in the wiring, it is far less rugged than a cable assembly cover. Instead, the grouped cables and wires in wire harnesses typically have their outer coverings already for that protection. While the assembly does group them in one harness, their sheaths still make it easy to see individual cables. Additionally, these individual sub-assemblies allow for highly complex projects that are adaptable for many unique uses. The harness’ simple outer sheath of thermoset materials or thermoplastic helps protect the wires and cables from their environment for indoor applications.

 

Looking for a prototype cable or wire harness solution? Make sure to download our free eBook.

Cable Assembly and Wire Harness Advantages

Cable assemblies and wire harnesses increase organizational and spatial efficiency. They also improve operational safety by preventing electrical fires and taming loose wires. However, each assembly type has its advantageous qualities. The covers that jacket cable assemblies are durable and strong, enabling more versatile applications as they can withstand a wider variety of environmental conditions. Also, as the internal bundled wires are all contained within a single outer sheath, it makes them more accessible for threading within smaller areas.

Wire harnesses are ideal for their ease of installation and simplified maintenance, resulting in reduced labor time. Providing less protection, wire harnesses work best indoors. This characteristic, added to their simplistic design, typically makes them more affordable. Also, the outer covering will still safeguard against moisture or chemical solvents.

 

Applications of Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies

Given the assemblies’ strengths, wire harness and cable assembly applications are varied, spreading across diverse industries.

Cable Assembly Applications

Cable assemblies organize or facilitate safe wiring in the following applications:

Military

  • Flight Simulators
  • Ground Equipment
  • In-Flight Medical Systems
  • Links for Field Communication 
  • Remote Control Weaponry
  • Navigation Systems
  • Rugged Computers

Aircraft

  • Cockpit Instruments
  • Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
  • Electronic Systems for In-Flight Entertainment

Automotive and Transportation

  • Data Transmission Systems
  • High-Voltage Current Transmissions
  • Navigation Systems

Electronics

  • Audio Systems
  • Communication Systems
  • Flat-Panel Displays

Wire Harness Applications

Wire harnesses allow for orderly wire organization in:

Aerospace

  • Aircraft Power Transmission
  • Airplane Engines
  • Communications Systems
  • Drones
  • Satellites

Automotive

  • Dashboards
  • Lighting and Turn Signals
  • Navigation Systems
  • Engine Bays

Healthcare

  • Crash Carts
  • Dental Equipment
  • Diagnostic Equipment
  • Imaging Equipment

Robotics and Automation

  • Assembly Line Systems
  • Automated Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machines
  • Computerized Systems, Servers, and Electronics
  • Data Transmission
  • Power Distribution

Cable and Wire Harness Solutions from PGF Technology Group

At PGF Technology, we pride ourselves on providing high-quality, cost-effective wire harnesses and cable assemblies for industry compliance in some of the most demanding electrical applications. Backed by over 50 years of ISO-certified design and manufacturing experience, our team can work with you to determine your installation requirements, space limitations, power needs, and environmental challenges to develop a reliable assembly solution tailored to your specifications.

Our comprehensive capabilities for residential, industrial, and commercial applications include:

  • Product development
  • Prototyping
  • Design and Inspection Support
  • Fabrication and Manufacturing
  • Turnkey Component Assembly

Partner with PGF Technology

Determining the appropriate cable and wire harness assembly for your application will keep your systems and workspace organized, compliant, and functioning efficiently. PGF Technology specializes in assembly creation, with capabilities for C-Track cables, D-Subminiature cables, motor cables, sensor cables, data link assemblies, potting, and more. Contact us to learn about our electronic manufacturing solutions, or request a quote today.

 

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“EV”erything to Know About EV Power Cables

Charging Up

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are quickly charging up in the ranks as one of the most important innovations to watch in the coming years. Presently, the push to pump the breaks on CO2 emissions starts with determining the most significant contributing factor: gas-powered automobiles. Therefore, this “rEVolution” means assembling powerful components to ensure performance, longevity, and safety in an immediate timeframe. With this in mind, EV Power Cables drive forward with innovation to adhere to strict guidelines and certify proper conditions.

 

Here is a breakdown to amp up your knowledge about the top considerations for EV Power Cables during these changing times:

 

Critical Factors of the EV Power Cable

Seeing that the Electric Vehicle itself is on the cutting edge of technology, it would only make sense for the components involved to caravan behind. Hence, the regulations for EV Power Cables must reflect the industry’s future with added adaptability for the fast-changing times. By and large, these cable assemblies must be:

 

EV Power Cable Factors InfographicExtremely Flexible

Coupled with the Battery Management System (BMS) and various charging components, EV Power Cables must mold into different spaces to maintain balance in the vehicle and not obstruct any necessary operations. 

 

UL-Listed

Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) evaluates components for nationally recognized safety requirements for component manufacturing. At length, in a growing industry with many fresh ideas, increased testing shows responsibility for the drivers and manufacturers. 

 

Compliant with RoHS 

Similarly, if a product is certified by the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS), its hard-to-dispose substances are limited to a set amount. Especially with the push for renewable energy sources, minimizing hazardous substances remains a top priority for each piece of the product. 

 

Temperature-Controlled

When dealing with high-power electronics and batteries, heat becomes a central awareness topic. Cables must withstand heat to protect the inner layers and maintain the processes of the vehicle without becoming a hot mess. 

 

Resistant to Chemicals, Cuts, Abrasion, and Crushing

Equally to heat resistance, the ability to withstand unwanted impacts or leaks marks a well-made EV Power Cable. When you enter your electric vehicle into the Monster Truck Rally, you need to know that the cables will last!

 

Supportive of Different Charging Modes

As stated above, adaptability for EV Cables must be the main factor for their assembly. With this in mind, EMS Providers must manufacture cable assemblies for every charging mode to power the vehicles correctly. Imagine how frustrating it is when your phone runs out of battery mid-call during an interview; now imagine your car in the middle of a snowstorm. Thus, assembling cables with these different charging modes is critical for safety and mental health:

 

  • 1-phase AC charging for domestic connection
  • 3-phase AC charging for domestic connection and public charging station
  • DC charging for quick charging

 

Design Dilemma

Now that the requirements are established, another critical point becomes the design of this adaptable cable. Engineers must design cables to fit wherever needed while still providing the proper power. This design dilemma calls for:

 

Smaller DiameterDesign for EV Power Cables Infographic

Reducing the size and weight of the power cable is always a requirement to downsize the drive train and trim vehicle weight. Besides reducing carbon emissions, the vehicle’s weight is another draw for prospective drivers who desire a change of pace. 

 

Thick Outer-Layer

EV Power Cables must withstand road travel accidents, battery leakage, and user error. Indeed, the idea of having thick skin applies in a more literal sense to this electrical assembly. 

 

Copper 

Chiefly, copper electrical wires are safer to use than wires made of most other conductive metals because they are resistant to heat.

Copper is the preferred metal for electrical wires because of its high electrical conductivity, inexpensive, malleable, and thermally resistant properties. These details make it the universally accepted standard for manufacturing electrical wires.

 

Assembly Process

Tooling for Heavy Gauge Cables

We process our wiring for cables by using both automated and manual methods. This combination guarantees accurate work and checkpoints for assembly finalization. 

At PGF, our Wire Processing Center and Cable Assembly Work Stations turn a grouping of wires and jackets into a functioning EV Power Cable. To learn more about our distinct processes, visit our PCBA and Cable Assemblies in EV Applications page.

 

Automated Assembly

Whenever possible, Schleuniger’s Manufacturing Machines assist in the automated operation of processes, mainly the following functions: Cutting, Stripping, and Terminating. For further uses, they are also handy (or should I say machine-y) for crimping and wire twisting

 

Manual Assembly

In the next steps for projects, manual assembly is necessary for connector layout and visual inspection. Trained personnel can take a hands-on approach to finalizing and testing the assembly for the highest quality output. 

 

Quality Testing 

PGF goes through multiple rounds of testing to provide customers with durable, long-lasting cable assemblies. Our team utilizes:

  • Pull-Testing Machines
  • Schleuniger’s Inspection Machines
  • UL Standard Inspection 
  • IPC 610 Class 2 and 3 Trained Personnel

 

Field Applications

EV Power Cables are essential for in-vehicle function and performance. Their applications range across many avenues, but ultimately, they connect and transfer power to crucial components of whichever vehicle they are implemented. Overall, they create a network of intelligence that allows the completed project to function correctly. 

Power cables connect the inverter with two three-phase alternating currents (AC) motors, one for driving and generating electricity.

Many updated industries: 

  • Automotive
  • Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
  • High-Lows
  • Helicopters
  • Public Transportation
  • School Buses
  • Aerospace
  • Battery Charging

 

Above all, noticing the constant updates to this industry as a whole, knowing that influential minds are innovating every component, is reassuring for electric manufacturing and should amp up solutions providers who have the opportunity to grow.

 

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