Custom vs Off-the-shelf Strain Relief: 3 Critical Factors to Consider

Finding the right solution for your cable connections doesn’t have to be so difficult, even if you’re using unique connections and equipment. Both custom overmolded and off-the-shelf strain reliefs are viable options. It all depends on what your specific operation needs.
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What Are Strain Reliefs?

Strain relief is added to a flexible cable that’s fed into a fixed connection port. The purpose of strain relief is to prevent the cable from getting damaged due to over-bending.

If you look at your phone charger, you’ll notice strain relief built-in on the plug. It’s the rubber piece that flexes right before the plug that goes into your phone or charging brick.

Custom Strain Reliefs

For unique applications, you might rely on a custom overmolded version of this part. Overmolding is the process of making two components over one another. Using multi-step injection molding, plastic pieces are formed together to make a single, solid piece.

The result is sturdier, more desirable, and more customizable. A plastic handle with a rubber grip is a common example of overmolding. By doing this, you can combine properties of two materials without using adhesives or secondary processes.

Off-the-Shelf Strain Reliefs

Most strain reliefs are designed based on only a few factors such as rib style, body style, cable diameter, slot thickness, slot shape, and inner flange style. With off-the-shelf strain relief, you’ll be choosing from a list of available products from the manufacturer.

Check out our Molded Strain Relief Configurator.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Custom and Off-The-Shelf Strain Relief

So, what's the right solution for your project? Here are the main factors to consider when choosing between custom strain reliefs vs off-the-shelf strain reliefs.

Customization

At its core, you’re getting a truly customized piece. For operations using custom machinery, it becomes essential to use customized strain reliefs.

Rather than settling for a close enough strain relief, you can use a tailor-made solution for your unique circumstance.

Moisture Resistance

Overmolded strain reliefs provide a higher level of moisture resistance compared to off-the-shelf solutions. This is largely due to the bonding in an overmolded piece. It uses physical and sometimes chemical agents to securely hold the connector and cable jacket together.

If your product will be exposed to harsh conditions where moisture is a factor, such as those often found in the defense and medical industries, custom overmolded strain relief is the ideal solution.

Strength and Durability

The combination of an overmolded and customized part results in a stronger and more durable piece. You don’t have to worry about your cabling connections being the weak point of your equipment anymore.

They will last longer than a standard off-the-shelf strain relief in most cases. This translates to less downtime and fewer headaches over time.

Along the same vein, you can also enjoy the superior performance that’s offered by a custom solution.

You might not realize how weak your equipment’s connection points are. A low-performance strain relief will allow cables and wires to fray and get destroyed, rendering your equipment useless.

Which Is Right for You?

If you are looking for a high-performing solution designed for mission-critical applications in harsh environments, then a custom overmolded strain relief is the best option hands-down.

However, if lead time and overall costs are the two main factors in your decision and the environment is not a factor, off-the-shelf strain reliefs could be the perfect solution for you.

Either way, ISC can help. If you're not sure what the best solution for your product is, our experts can help you make the right decision for your project.

Conclusion

At Interconnect Solutions Company, we offer standard, off-the-shelf, custom, semi-custom options, and made-to-order molded strain reliefs, plastic strain reliefs, and slip-on strain reliefs. Our customers prefer us due to our expertise, industry knowledge, and ability to quickly deliver customized strain relief. Contact us today to see the ISC difference for yourself.

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