If your project requires a custom solution or build-to-print for overmolded cable assemblies, encapsulated circuits, or connectors, let us help you design a better product. We can create custom cable overmolds with our in-house tooling group or save you time and money by using an existing or standard overmold to fit most connectors.
There is no cookie-cutter approach to solve every design dilemma. That is why we offer our customers access to our full-service, in-house engineering experts. They work across all industries to develop comprehensive solutions for every engineering challenge, from build-to-print cable overmolding assemblies to complex and custom overmolded cable harnesses.
The Interconnect Solutions Company overmolding process offers high flexibility in any phase. ISC is ready to help.
It’s fairly common to specify the use of an overmolded cable assembly for applications in the industrial, heavy-duty commercial and high-reliability applications (medical, defense, aerospace). Most people that work with electrical cable and wire assemblies have a conceptual idea of what a finished cable assembly should look like. A typical example is shown in the illustration.
Getting the cable assembly design that you need
When specifying an overmolded cable assembly, some designers start from a vendor catalog. Though it may seem like a convenient method, the trade-off is flexibility of design. By comparison, with a custom cable assembly, there is no need to compromise performance. If the perfect cable assembly must have low-temperature flexibility, or a specific color code or chemical resistance, the experts at Interconnect Solutions Company (ISC) can advise you. Being able to specify the exact features needed to meet the design requirements pays for itself in terms of overall performance, reducing or eliminating service calls, and making sure the cable design is seamlessly incorporated into the overall design. ISC’s vast library of cable assembly designs along with vertically integrated processes allows them to provide quick turn-around on initial prototypes. Just one example of ISC’s versatility is the ability to work with such diverse materials as PVC, Santoprene, TPR (Thermoplastic Rubber), TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), and Polyurethane.
Want to find out if we can meet your specific requirements? Get in touch with our experts.
What it takes to build a quality cable assembly
To better understand the options available to the designer, it’s useful to unpack the elements that make up a complete overmolded cable assembly. Having full control of the elements that make up a custom cable assembly ensures that the result is exactly what’s needed. No more and, certainly, no less.
There are three obvious main parts to overmolded cable assemblies: the connecter, the cable, and the overmolded portion, which provides an engineered transition between the two.
In this example, the connector has an attached cap. This isn’t always required, but this design element helps to protect the pins from being damaged during transport prior to installation. It also provides some dust and dirt protection when it is not plugged in. Those are the details that make one think through the lifecycle of the cable assembly from the moment it leaves the manufacturer’s facility until its final day in service and the types of environments it might encounter along the way. By specifying exactly the connector (and any protective hardware) if there are special environmental requirements, like RoHS or REACH that apply, they can be incorporated in the design stage.
A closer look at the cable assembly design
In this cut-away illustration, it is possible to see a lot of the detail that goes into the overmolded portion of this custom cable assembly. The overmold portion, in the dark blue color, is the bulk of material that is visible and holds the connector assembly together. It completely encapsulates everything from the back of the connector all the way through to capturing and providing an environmental seal against the cable jacket portion of the cable.
At the same time, it is also providing:
- Mechanical strain relief at the cable exit end of the assembly
- Helping to maintain alignment of the cable conductor all the way to the insertion point at the back end of the connector
- Material compatibility for good adhesion between the cable jacket and the overmold material
- Environmental resistance to the range of environments expected over the lifetime of the assembly
- Forms a gasket seal at the attachment point of the connector cap chain.
- And other options are available like:
- thumbpads for better grip
- key indicator for connector orientation
- molded-in logo or part numbers
- laser marking on cable jacket
Details make the design
Stripping off the outer part of the overmolded assembly reveals a couple of other features that you won’t necessarily find in the off-the-shelf version of this cable assembly. Shown in orange, at the back of the connector is an encapsulant that not only encloses, but it helps secure the individual connections to the back of the connector, reduces strain at those critical locations, and is an extra barrier against the environment.
In addition, the white, bell-shaped portion, called the “pre-mold” adds strength and support to the visible outer shell of the overmolded portion, provides proper alignment for the cable relative to the connector, and further strengthens the cable against excessive strain. In some cases, it is important to have a specific set of color codes for the various functions carried by the cable. One of the advantages of a custom overmolded cable assembly is the opportunity to specify the color codes (and in some cases the gages) of the conductors, which makes it easier to connect the cable end to a terminal strip in a control cabinet if that is the ultimate termination requirement.
ISC is your design team solution
Given the advantages of being able to precisely specify the performance requirements for a custom overmolded cable assembly, it is easy to see why system designers often go that route. We already have a lot of overmold tooling for standard connectors, both mil/aero and commercial designs. In fact, we may be closer to a custom design that would fit your project, than you might imagine. And where we are close to a solution we have the ability to create custom cable overmolds with our in-house tooling group.
Want to see if we already have an overmold for your connector style?
Get in touch with our experts.
We know there is no cookie-cutter approach to solving every design dilemma. That is why we make sure that our customers have access to our full-service, in-house engineering experts. They work across all industries to develop comprehensive solutions for every engineering challenge, from build-to-print cable overmolding assemblies to complex and custom overmolded cable harnesses. The Interconnect Solutions Company overmolding process offers high flexibility in any phase of your design. ISC IS ready to help. Below are a few other examples of overmolded cable assemblies that showcase our versatility.
When you engage with Interconnect Solutions Company, in addition to our work with overmolded Cable Assemblies you also have access to capabilities for:
- Build to print
- Wire harnesses
- Overmolded cable services
- Smart Cables
- Custom overmold cable assemblies
- Standard and custom overmolds
- Thermoplastic, polyurethane, and more
- Existing library of standard molds & in-house tooling
- Turnkey production
- IPC & J-standard trained operators
- IPC/WHMA-A-620 Worksmanship Standards (Classes 1, 2 &3)
- ISO 9001:2015 registered
- Standard testing for open, shorts & continuity (Hi-pot available)