Braided Wiring Loom: Is It Better Than Convoluted Tubing To Protect Wire Harnesses On Heavy-Duty Equipment?

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Agriculture and other heavy-duty equipment must run 24 hours a day for all seven days of the week. So, you need reliable wire harnesses in their engine compartment that are made of durable material. Also, these harnesses must have a wide range of temperature ratings. Braided wiring loom and convoluted tubing are common types of wire harnesses.  This post will learn about these wire assemblies’ protections and see which is better.

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Braided wiring loom

Braided wiring looms are harnesses that come wrapped with polyvinyl-coated nylon. A looming machine executes this process. The loom helps protect from vibration and heat in several heat resistance ratings. You can also opt for metal sleeving like copper that offers further protection to harnesses from electromagnetic interference. Further, in the braided wire loom, water can pass through the loom, which is essential when the harness faces freezing conditions. 

Direct nylon braiding is on the wiring harness in the braided wire loom, offering aesthetic cable concealment. Thus, it looks very clean and one piece. There are no extra tape and cable ties on it. PVC-coated nylon is available in a wide variety of colors, which can enhance the looks of the harness. You can also use different colors to differentiate your brand from others. If you are picking black-colored nylon, you can use tracers. Tracers are strands of different colors which are woven into the braid. Tracers in a braided wire loom help your OEM know which supplier partners the wire comes from and what system it controls or operates. 

Though the braided wire loom is flexible and has several advantages, it also has drawbacks. Firstly, the looming process requires a machine that is quite loud. Further, the process is quite labor intensive, and laborers need to tape the harness before looming. 

hand holding plastic sleeving for wires

Image:  hand holding plastic sleeving for wires

Convoluted Tubing

Convoluted tubing is a non-heat shrink tubing that gives high protection against abrasion & cuts. Also, this tubing is highly flame retardant. You can find this tubing in different plastics with varied chemical and heat ratings. Unlike braided looms, this tubing is liquid-tight and can accommodate various connector back shells. Also, you can put several fittings for harness configurations in the tubing to provide a liquid-tight seal or covering. 

You can find convoluted tubes in a wide range of diameters to make the wire harnesses flexible. Also, many colors are available to enhance the aesthetics and set the branding. The major challenge of convoluted tubing is fishing the wire harnesses through the tubing and other fittings, and the process becomes more difficult for complex wiring harnesses. If you do not use fittings at the intersection of the branch, you will need zip ties or electrical tape to secure the convoluted tubing.

Like a braided wiring harness, you must tape the harness before feeding it into the tubing. Further, you will need to take separate tubing for each branch. As a result, the liquid-tight seal may get affected.

corrugated pipe

Image: corrugated pipe

Benefits of Braided wire Harness Assemblies Over Convoluted Tubing

Braided wiring harnesses are more advantageous for wire management over convoluted tubing. Let’s see why.

  • Firstly, harnesses with convoluted tubing covering can handle a maximum load of 70-80% wire. It means the remaining 20-30% tubing should be free space so that wires can move around with the equipment vibration. As a result, it will reduce the insulation of the wires and will expose the conductor leading to electrical failure. In comparison, wire harnesses with braided technology have tightly bound wire assemblies and last longer. Further, they are designed for 100% loading capacity and reduce wire movement, preventing wire insulation deterioration. 
  • Secondly, convoluted tubing also causes wear and tear due to abrasion. As there is free space, it attracts dirt, dust, stones, and other particles leading to erosion and weakening of wire insulation. On the contrary, braid sleeving has high abrasion resistance as it prevents the entering of abrasive materials due to its tightly bound nature. So, wire loom sleeving offers optimum wiring protection.
  • Thirdly, braided sleeving in wire assemblies has open holes to allow water and air to pass through so that insulation remains protected. As a result of this breathable nature, higher heat resistance leads to a longer lifespan. Conversely, in convoluted tubing assemblies, there is no breathability, and thus it accumulates engine fluids and other debris within. When these particles and fluids maintain long-term contact with wire insulation, it erodes wire insulation and tubing. Further, convoluted tubing cannot provide thermal protection in extremely high and low-temperature environments.
  • Braided sleeving has a longer life span of around 10-12 years than convoluted tubing assemblies, which can last only about 2-4 years. 

Conclusion

When you need an automotive wiring loom, you must consider several factors. If you have large wiring harnesses, it is always better to pick braided looms as they offer extra protection. However, when you have a small harness that requires chemically resistant and liquid tight, better to go for convoluted tubing. Our technicians can help you get an accurate product if you are confused. We have all kinds of cable management sleeves made of quality materials and offer high performance & reliability in agriculture equipment and the heavy-duty construction industry. Please feel free to reach us.

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