Cable Assembly and Wire Harness Explained

Cable Assembly and Wire Harness Explained

Cable assemblies and wire harnesses are standard terms in the wire and cable industry. Some people call it cable harness, wiring harness, or wiring loom, and most of the time, the terminologies are interchangeably used.

These cables are bound together by heavy-duty materials such as rubber, vinyl, flexible conduit, electrical tape, metal mesh, or some combination. But all of them function to transmit signals or electrical power.

But, there are clear differences between cable assemblies and wire harnesses; let’s learn more about them.

What is a cable assembly?

A cable assembly usually goes into a panel or port that forms a single unit and is directly connected to a power source. Because of its sturdy design, it is mainly employed for outdoor applications and handling stronger electrical current.

What is a wire harness?

The wire harness is a wrapping material that bundles up various cables together. It could be as simple as a zip tie or a nylon string. A wire harness groups different lines and wraps them into a compound structure for more effortless connectivity.

Industry Applications of Cable Assemblies and Wire Harnesses

Communications and Networking

Cable assembly manufacturers for the communications industry are significantly complex and must handle even greater data and signal transfer. The design of cables in telecommunications must have suitable shielding to fit the application and the environment.


Precision wiring is an essential need for electronics instrumentation. Even a slight hiccup in the instrument’s calibration could spell a difference between an airplane landing on a runway and winding up on a busy highway. Check on websites like for your instrumentation cabling needs.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT devices that use Local Area Network (LAN) work on wired communication. It is compliant with IEEE 802.3 Standard; it is a physical and link layer protocol. Ethernet cables are utilized for connecting computers with routers to provide an internet connection.

Oil & Gas

The types of cables and wires used for the oil and gas industry must have the ability to stand the harsh and demanding environments it operates. Polyurethane-jacketed, polyethylene-jacketed, and armored cables are the ideal of the most common type for the oil and gas industry.

Power & Renewable Energy

Like the oil and gas sector, the power sector needs cable assemblies that can endure severe environments. The cables may get exposed to the sun, strong winds, extreme weather, and salt spray. That’s why durable and ruggedized wires are necessary for this industry.


The cabling requirements of the transportation sector are broad and varied. Each transportation network relies on an intricate array of links to function correctly. The wiring must provide clear and reliable communications in different operating areas, whether on cars, trucks, aircraft, trains, or yachts.

Key Takeaways

The cables look and act as one thick wire in a cable assembly. While each cable inside the sleeve or jacket may work differently, the system appears as one thick wire. A cable assembly is more resilient in layout and can be routed into tight and smaller spaces.

A wire harness is merely a bundle of separately sheathed cables. Individual components can conveniently be broken out and may run in different directions. A wire harness is more appropriate for indoor usage because the materials are not fit for direct sunlight exposure, moisture, and other ecological concerns.

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