Wire Harness Tools: An Ultimate Guide 

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Manufacturing cable and harness assemblies can be costly and challenging without the right wire harness tools. From the beginning of the project to the end, some of the tools needed to ensure you make standard cable and wire harness assembly include:

Custom Quick-Connect Wire Harness
Custom Quick-Connect Wire Harness
  • Injection mold machine
  • Programmable cutter/stripper
  • Semi-automated crimper
  • Continuity and hipot testers
  • Automated cable testers
  • Positioners & die sets
  • Insertion & extraction tools 

When enlisting a wire harness manufacturing service provider, you want to ensure they are adequately trained and equipped to excel at cable and harness assembling. That’s the only way you can be sure they don’t produce substandard products. 

Despite a Growth in Automation, Hand Tools Still Prove Effective

The electronics manufacturing industry has evolved, availing of new technologies. Today, most complex and connected wire harnesses are automated, and, as expected, there’s a high demand for automated solutions. However, some complex tasks can only be accomplished using hand tools, making the process costly and time-consuming. 

For instance, when you need to test a design, there is no automated machine you can use. Therefore, you must design a custom testing hand tool to accomplish the task.

Advanced Wire Harness Tools and Products Used Today

Today, the custom cable and wire harness manufacturing industry utilize an endless list of tools to complete a job (over 5,000 for junctions, overmolds, connectors, and housings). To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the essential wire harness tools and products used today:

Cable Tying Tools

If you use a simple cable tying-like tool, it’s recommended to use an industry-approved one to maintain the tension around the cables. You can pick from the wide variety of means of different sizes and styles capable of incorporating ergonomics and using various materials. 

For hand tying cables, you can choose between pneumatic and manual. And if you’re handling large-scale manufacturing, you could use an automatic cable tying set-up.

Attachments for Wire Harnesses

Though often overlooked, fixtures for wire harnesses are essential. Fixtures attribute the height, distance from the wire harness board, and uniform spacing between wire bundles. 

You can incorporate fixtures with a hand tool or automated system to ensure smooth cable tie application.

Ferrules

A ferrule is a compact plastic or metallic ring crimped on top of a cut-off wire to seal, secure, or reinforce a connection to its terminal. Enforcing a ferrule in your work is vital and can’t be overlooked. 

However, to properly apply its use, you require skilled hands. Otherwise, if not properly handled, you risk damaging the seal by applying too much or very little pressure, destroying its quality.

Image of ferrules

Image of ferrules

Cable Tie Mounting Components

Cable tie mounting components are used to physically secure the cable ties to the rest of the assembly. While there’s not such a large selection when picking such features, it’s best to opt for one with high installation flexibility.

Printers and Other Media Software

These are also essential yet often overlooked. The printers incorporate custom labels that give a product its unique identification and act as a mark of quality. However, you can’t move forward with anything without the necessary media software that allows designers to accomplish such tasks.

Built-in Abrasion-Resistant Products

To ensure product quality, safety, integrity, and functionality, you need a wire harness engineer who can come up with the best combination and components. 

Some abrasion-resistant products include; grommet edging to protect the cable wires. Also, in harsh environments, heat shrinks and components like spiral wraps. 

Image of Spiral wrap 

Image of Spiral wrap 

Connector Compressor Tools

You’ll need automated compression machines or specifically designed hand tools to ensure a connection. Luckily, you have an endless list from which you can pick when it comes to connection compressor tools.

Terminal Wire Harness Tool

The terminal wire harness tool is used as a custom crimping tool to ensure the best crimp at terminals depending on the types of wire. Terminal wire harness tools are vital since the system cannot function correctly without them. 

You can use an automated terminal wire harness tool to accelerate the task of indexing and crimping the connectors. It will help maintain consistency and quality terminals. In most cases, automatic termination is quicker compared to manual stop

Terminal Tools

Terminal Tools

Rather than overwhelm you with a long list of the various wire harness tools required for the job, the tools outlined above are a compilation of the essential wire harness tools and equipment that are necessary but often overlooked. Also, components are required to produce the best cable and wire harness equipment to fit the client’s best interests. However, there’s still a wide range of wire harness tools needed to produce quality products. Some applications include medical, telecommunications, automotive, military equipment, and hardware; just about every type of industry. 

Benefits of Using Automated, Semi-Automated, and Hand Tooling All Together

You’re probably wondering why you should also use semi-automated and hand tools when you could go fully automated. Below are some advantages of using all three types of equipment (mechanical, semi-automated, and hand tools) together:

Increases Flexibility of the Wire Harness Design Process

To increase the flexibility of the design, ensure you have an experienced team with the knowledge and expertise to fully maximize using all the available tools and choose the best materials. 

When your team fully maximizes the use of such tools, it will increase the flexibility of the design process enabling it to finish the task perfectly and on schedule.

Reduces Costs

Employing automated and semi-automated tools will increase efficiency and speed up production. Using computerized tools over manual tools increases production, reducing costs. 

Automated and semi-automated tools reduce the need for manual labor, helping you cut costs. They also allow for quicker turnaround times and less room for mistakes.

Maximizes Uptime

When doing a job, you rarely hear the term uptime. What you constantly hear is downtime, which refers to slower production. 

But did you know that knowing the uptime gives you a more accurate approximation of your system’s reliability? That shows how long a particular machine or tool was available and running during the process. 

Employing the entire spectrum with various automation levels allows you to maintain a consistent and reliable uptime percentage that helps maintain effective production processing.

Creates Ease of Combination

We mentioned earlier that a custom wire harness helps accomplish the task effectively. However, the wire harness projects become meaningless if your intended design doesn’t integrate with the electrical system. 

Therefore, significant effort and attention to detail are essential to produce a safe and functioning wiring harness while ensuring it can easily integrate with the intended system.

Helps You Stick to the Project Timeline

Automated, semi-automated, and hand tools increase productivity by reducing the cycle time. By reducing the cycle time, you can keep track of progress and ensure all the job instructions are followed. 

It is incredibly challenging because specific aspects of the project need to be executed at certain intervals. After all, each process has a different lead time.

Conclusion

As you can see, not all automated tools will handle specific tasks as effectively as hand tools. For the system to function effectively, especially in the case of wire harnessing, you’ll have to develop automated, semi-automated, and hand tools. When choosing a wire harness manufacturer, ensure that they are capable. At Cloom Tech, we’re proud to have worked on many custom wire harness projects that provided different applications. We pride ourselves on our integrity, and once a client states what they would like, our highly skilled engineers and designers do their best to come up with the most suitable solution. We use simple hand tools and fully automated wire harness manufacturing equipment for all our wire harness manufacturing.

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