Tag Archives: Bespoke Cables

HDD innovations could drive custom cable demand

Custom cable demand could be driven forwards in the enterprise and personal computing segments by innovations from hard disk drive manufacturers.

According to electronic components analyst iSuppli, solid-state disks have yet to make major inroads into the storage market, which remains dominated by HDDs. However, as SSDs continue to gain ground through new product launches like Microsoft’s Surface tablet system, HDD manufacturers may need to play to their strengths in terms of product innovation.

That may mean focusing on the enterprise computing segment, where HDDs have found long-term support for many years, or in key personal computing markets like large-capacity external storage. In either case, manufacturers are likely to need custom cable solutions to satisfy the demands of enterprise customers with specific networking needs, or to provide consumer customers with external cables with more visual appeal than the standard internal HDD connectors used by OEMs. According to iSuppli, “with future demand for storage expected to increase, the appeal of large-capacity, economically priced HDDs cannot be underestimated”.

However, it remains to be seen how well the long-term king of the storage media can keep its throne, in the face of SSDs’ tenacious battle for market share.

Cable solutions revive the ailing TV

New cable solutions are breathing new life into the ‘first screen’ of home entertainment, according to industry analyst Nielsen. For decades, the television wasn’t just the ‘first screen’ – it was the only screen households saw on a daily basis.

Since the 1980s, home computers have introduced a second screen to the home entertainment mix, while mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are now adding a third screen to the line-up. And while many critics have claimed this sounds the death knell for television as the dominant format, Nielsen disagrees – and cable solutions are the answer to the problem. This is thanks to Internet Protocol Television, or IPTV, which allows on-demand content to be streamed directly to a TV set via a broadband internet connection.

Pat McDonough, Nielsen’s senior vice-president of insights, analysis and policy, says: “IPTV has grown dramatically over the course of the last year. “People talk about ‘the TV is dead’, or that it’s dying, but it doesn’t look like it yet.” As technologies such as IPTV emerge, UK cable manufacturers will be on hand to produce the custom cable solutions required to enable connectivity, and to ensure home entertainment is able to develop throughout the 21st century.

Custom wire and cable can account for personal taste

Custom wire and cable can give style-conscious consumer electronics customers more choice over how their home entertainment systems look.

Already, custom wire and cable accessories are popular among PC gaming enthusiasts, many of whom fit ultraviolet lights and see-through side panels to their computer towers to allow their top-end graphics cards and cooling systems to be seen.

But many less ‘hardcore’ electronics customers might also relish the availability of custom cables for TVs, Blu-ray players and stereo equipment.

Researchers at Canada’s Concordia University ask: “Are the exposed wires of your stereo causing you angst? … Then you are not alone.” Indeed, many people, when they first move into a new home, will look for guidance on how to decorate their interior space on websites, says Concordia’s Zeynep Arsel. “We start by looking at these decorating sites and emulating what we see,” she explains. “But, through repeated exposure, we develop our own standards for what can in fact become personal taste.”

This leads to certain design features – whether they are custom cables, certain sizes of rug, or something totally different – becoming ingrained in the human mind as an essential example of good taste, rather than a simple personal preference.

By taking these preferences into account in their cable design, UK cable manufacturers are able to cater for these tastes, whether you are an electronics aficionado, or simply want your interior space to look at its best.

Custom Cables: An Essential Component of Medical Machinery

When we or someone we know gets considerably ill, or suffers an accident, we rely on hospitals – or, more specifically, the doctors and nurses that work within those hospitals – to provide us with an accurate diagnosis of our ailment followed by adequate treatment for that ailment.

In order to give these accurate diagnoses and administer treatment, doctors often turn to the wealth of high-tech equipment the average hospital has at it’s disposal; MRI scanners, X-ray machines, CT scanners and so on. custom-cablesThese complex machines require a lot of technology to be housed into a relatively small space, as well as needing to be reliable – both in the data they return and their ongoing operation – and durable.

Custom cables ensure that medical technology meets all of these requirements

What sort of cables are used?

Different equipment demands different cable solutions but there are a few common types of custom cables used across a range of medical machinery. Composite cables combining data, power and coaxial cables are frequently used in order to save space as well as enabling the machine to fulfill all of it’s functions.

Combining the functions of three cables into one single cable also reduces the amount of maintenance a machine will require over it’s operational lifetime, making the machine more reliable and allowing doctors to use it more often. Durability is also a key consideration when designing a medical cable.

A great deal of medical equipment features moving parts that can operate for extended periods of time, placing strain on cables and wearing them down over time. With adequate cable sheathing, however, a cable can withstand this constant flexing and deliver many years of reliable service. So how do these cables work in practice?

Recently, Custom Designed Cables was commissioned to design cables for use in MRI scanners. Producing a single cable for use in an MRI scanner provides somewhat of a challenge for a cable designer; not only does the cable need to power the machine, but it also needs to be able transmit complex data and provide a live video feed of the patient.

In addition to this, the cable also needs to withstand constant strain and flexing and perform its functions no matter what. After three years of intensive research, development and testing, we designed a composite cable combining the functions of data, power and coaxial cables, providing the equipment manufacturer with a cable solution built to last.

For more information on medical cables – or custom cables for any purpose – call Custom Designed Cables on 01204 658 784 or get in touch through our contact us page.

Struggling With Standard Theatre Cables? We’ve Got The Solution…

If we were to ask you what lies at the heart of a good theatre production, what would you say? The actors? The director? The set? The lighting?

One thing you probably wouldn’t say is cables, but any theatre technician would be quick to point out just how important cables are to the successful production of a theatrical performance. Stage cables are used for all kinds of purposes; they can be used to transmit power to stage lights, for audio and visual connections to screens as well as a wealth of other purposes.

It’s a wonder that more stages aren’t strewn with the bundles of cables we’re accustomed to seeing behind our televisions!

What’s Wrong With Standard Cables?

In truth, there’s nothing wrong with the standard cables that come with most stage equipment; in fact, most will be more than efficient at carrying out their purpose.

The real problem with standard stage cables is that no theatrical setting is the same; cables may have to be longer in one theatre than they need to be in another, while another theatre may not have the space to accommodate separate cables for all the functions they need. However, there is a solution – custom cables.

Whether you’re a theatre company based in one location or a touring band of actors treading the boards of many different venues, having your own custom-built theatre cables provides a great deal flexibility and ease-of-use, as well as great performance tailored to your specific specifications.

What Kind Of Custom Cables Are Used In Theatres?

One of the chief concerns of theatre technicians is practicality. Cables need to be able to reach the equipment they need to be connected to without putting performers at risk and without hampering the performance of the equipment.

Designed to the exact specifications of the theatre, custom cables make this issue a thing of the past. Custom cables can also be used to combine multiple cables of differing lengths into a single cable jacket which breaks out at the end to allow you to connect the various cables to the relevant equipment, saving on space and reducing the risk of a hapless performer or tech tripping over a cable!

Custom cables can also be designed with different connectors dependent on the equipment you use and the level of power you want to draw through the connector itself. This can be tricky to determine but a good cable designer will be able to identify what you need and design accordingly.

Custom Designed Cables have a wealth of experience in providing cable solutions to theatres and theatre production companies,so if you’re looking for a custom cable solution to power your latest production, get in touch or call us on 01204 658 784.

What To Consider When Buying An Audio Cable

Audio cables are one of the most in-demand types of cable on the market; used for everything from home theatre systems to sellout concerts, audio cables come in many shapes and sizes and are often custom-built.

The delivery of quality audio can be impacted by many factors, including electrical interference, the environment in which the cable operates (especially outdoors), the distance between the speakers and the output device and just plain old cable damage.

These are all considerations that a cable designer will factor into the design of a custom audio cable, manufacturing a cable that will be able to stand up to adverse operating conditions while delivering high quality sound. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider if you’re planning on splashing out on a custom audio cable.

Copper or Silver?

The most common wiring material used in audio cables is copper as it offers a highly conductive and fairly low resistance connection. However, in some instances, silver can also be used.

Silver is actually more conductive than copper, although it is more expensive. Most audio experts agree that copper is the way to go; it’s less expensive than silver and more reliable overall. While silver is more conductive, impurities in the material can lead to a reduction in quality.

How Much Distance Between the Output Device and Speakers?

Distance is one of the most important factors governing the performance of an audio cable.The longer a cable is – and the longer a signal has to travel -, the lower quality the signal output is going to be when it reaches the speaker. In home theatre systems, this generally means designing the layout of your system so that cable length can be kept to a minimum and signal integrity isn’t compromised.

However, it’s not always possible to make a cable short, especially if you’re organising a concert or an outdoor event. In these instances, it’s recommended that you opt for a thicker gauge of internal wire, as thicker wires preserve signal better over long distances and produce less resistance.

Multicore cables also offer a flexible solution for high-output applications; the number of conductors within the cable will often depend on the demands of your particular sound system and the distance between the output device and speakers.

What Environment Will The Cable Operate In?

All audio cables are subject to some degree of electrical interference and as such, cable shielding is essential in the design of a custom audio cable. The degree of screening again depends on the particular environment in which the cable will operate; a home theatre, for example, will be subject to much less interference than a field full of people using mobile phones.

You’ll also need to consider any potential for the cable to be damaged physically; as before, a cable in a field full of people at a festival is prone to getting knocked about, as is a cable laid on a stage with a band.

Suitable levels of cable extrusion will help avoid any potential disasters or cuts to the cable, as well as allowing the cable to operate in adverse environmental conditions.

For more information on custom audio cables, get in touch with Custom Designed Cables on 01204 658 784.

How Do Custom Cables Withstand Extreme Temperatures?

Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, and cables aren’t the merriest of bedfellows; exposed to extreme heat, a standard cable will cease to function and, even worse, melt while freezing temperatures will put paid to the operational capability of a cable.

While not necessarily a worry in everyday life, there are some applications in which a cable being able to function in extreme temperatures is essential. Factories, cold storage units, blast furnaces – all are subject to the kind of temperatures that would render your average cable useless. Heat-resistant cables are also frequently deployed in public buildings, where essential fire alarm systems and lighting need to work should a fire break out.

What is the Solution?

Custom cable designers have come up with a number of different designs that ensure that a cable can work in extremely high temperatures.

The most common form of heat protection deployed in custom cables is the cable jacket. PVC is one of the most commonly used materials in cable jacketing and, although it can withstand high temperatures up to around 80°C, any higher than that and the jacket will begin to degrade.

A popular heat-resistant alternative to PVC is silicone, which can usually withstand temperatures between -50°C and 180°C. This makes it an ideal material for high and low temperature applications. If a fire breaks out, silicone forms a layer of insulation which ensures that the cable can continue working on a short term basis. Silicone is also a low emission material, making it a safe choice for systems that could potentially be exposed to fire. But what about applications where the temperature is even higher than 180°C? What kind of high-performance material would be able to operate in that kind of temperature? Well, you needn’t look further than your kitchen pans… PTFE – more commonly known by the brand name Teflon – is capable of operating in temperatures up to a staggering 250°C – as you’d probably expect from a material used in cooking utensils!

In addition to its ability to withstand extreme heat, PTFE is also resistant to damage from a wide range of liquids and fluids, as well as chemical corrosion. This makes it an ideal solution for laboratory applications.

Care also needs to be paid to the choice of conductor in the cable. When it comes to heat resistance, nickel is usually the first choice of a cable, able to work consistently in temperatures up to around 600°C. Heat-resistant cables can be built with a single conductor or, more likely, as a multicore cable. It is still possible to create multicore cables using nickel conductors and a steel or copper braid can offer further protection against damage and electromagnetic interference. For more information on heat resistant cables, contact Custom Designed Cables on 01204 658 784.

Could Custom Cables Make Your Office More Efficient?

We’re used to building all kinds of cable for all kinds of applications here at Custom Designed Cables.

Occasionally, that cable will be designed to power a massive machine, facilitating the transfer of large amounts of data at once. Other times, however, a cable’s sole purpose will be to make a process a little bit more efficient or to improve the safety and aesthetics of a certain location that relies heavily on cables.

It was these kinds of cables that came to mind when reading new research that suggests that the average office has 21m of cable per person. That is a lot of cable!

The research, conducted by the cable management company D-Line, considered the cables that run from essential office items such as computers, printers and card payment machines, as well as less essential items such as fax machines.

Of course, this won’t necessarily be a problem for a lot of offices who already have some form of cable management in place. However, for the less-organised workplace, a solution may be required for the ever-growing mass of wires keeping the office running on a day-to-day basis.

Unorganised cables present a number of issues. Firstly, rampant cables can be dangerous and present a tripping hazard for your employees. Having cables everywhere can also make your office look unorganised, giving you a less-than-professional approach – definitely not what you want if you regularly have customers or clients in the office!

One of the solutions to this would be to invest in a cable management system, but this isn’t always plausible, especially if you work in a larger office.

Another solution would be to invest in custom cables combining multiple functions into a single cable. Custom cables can be a very practical solution for cable-intensive environments, reducing the amount of cables you rely on significantly.

Depending on what you require, there’s a number of solutions that could improve your office environment. The first would be a multicore cable that splits off at the end to power multiple machines.

This cable could house multiple power sources to power different computers, or could combine multiple cables providing an internet connection to your employees. You could even combine both of these functions into a single cable which, in theory, would halve the amount of cables you rely on to run your office!

While having your own custom office cables designed might seem like an elaborate and expensive exercise, it could save you a lot of money in the long run in improved efficiency and it’ll make your office look a much more professional environment too. For more information on custom cables, get in touch with Custom Designed Cables.

How cables work in sub-zero temperatures

Cold storage units regularly operate at sub-zero temperatures, with some dipping as low as -30. This presents a problem when it comes to actually running a cold storage unit.

The very nature of a cold storage unit provides designers and manufacturers with a range of design-based headaches. Take cables, for example. Cables are required to power a cold storage unit; they basically keep the unit online and whatever it is the unit happens to be cooling at a low temperature.

Unfortunately, extreme temperatures can play havoc with the operation of a cable, with the cable potentially freezing and losing functionality. This leads to the entire unit failing. Not long ago, we at Custom Designed Cables were presented with this exact problem. In order to come up with a solution, we had to embark on an intense course of experimentation and trials to find a combination of materials that would be able to withstand the extreme cold, as well as a way of constructing them so that their operation would not be compromised.

We came up with two innovations that dealt with two of the major issues presented by a cold storage the facility. By using silicone cores in a multicore cable and developing hybrid over sheathing materials, we hit upon a combination that was shown to improve the longevity of the cable, even in extreme temperatures.

We then set about improving the mechanical strength of the cable by combining various cable braiding combinations, attempting to hit on a combination that would suit the needs of the application while also providing a robust and strong cable.

Other considerations, depending on the location of the cable, include cable shielding so that the operation of the cable isn’t compromised by any near-by devices that may cause interference. If a cold storage unit requires a constant feed of data for monitoring purposes, the cable will also need to include data transmission capabilities.

On the whole, constructing a cable for cold temperatures is difficult but not impossible. With a bit of experimentation and extensive trailing, like that carried out by Custom Designed Cables before we start any project, the perfect solution will soon emerge! For more information on Custom Designed Cables and the work we do, get in touch.

What to look for in an event cable

Thousands of people are currently laughing themselves silly at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an annual extravaganza of comedy, plays and other performances. The festival is renowned for hosting amateurs and professional comedians alike, with just about anyone able to book a space and put on a performance.

This amateur characteristic, however, overlooks the amount of work and effort that goes into staging even the smallest of performances. Because of the history of the Edinburgh Fringe, there is a certain level of professionalism expected of all venues. In fact, it could be argued that all venues, regardless of their location, are expected to put on professional performances unhampered by technical flaws and hold-ups.

To avoid these kinds of issues, theatres and performance venues need to invest in high quality equipment, get their setup designed by a professional technician and have strong technicians to manage the setup. One overlooked aspect of achieving technical perfection is cables. Cables are vitally important to the staging of performances yet no two theatres are the same; more often than not, there is no ‘ready-made’ cable solution for theatres. This is where custom cables come into play. Here are some of the characteristics you should look for in custom cables for theatres.

Reliability

The obvious one, but reliability is a characteristic that is so important when it comes to performances. Any cables you buy for theatrical performances should be highly durable (with cable jacketing) to protect from any wear and tear that might naturally occur, as well as cable shielding to protect from the effects of electromagnetic interference.

The levels of shielding and jacketing you’ll require will largely depend on how much equipment you’ll be running, how often you’ll be using the cable and how many people are likely to damage it by tripping and so on! A good cable designer will be able to consider all of these factors and design a cable that stands up to all of your specific environmental dangers.

Functionality

Functionality is another aspect of theatre cables, with the ability to carry out multiple functions in a reliable manner essential. Theatres tend to run a lot of equipment at once and powering all of this equipment with separate cables would result in the kind of tangled cable mass to give the average technician nightmares! Multicore cables can provide the solution to this issue, combining the functions of many cables into a single cable with multiple cores! Multicore cables run as a single cable for most of the cable run before breaking out towards the end in order to connect to multiple pieces of equipment.

Non-disruptive

Tied into the above point, cables running to various pieces of equipment shouldn’t disrupt the performance itself. That means avoiding having cables running across the stage or anywhere where a performer might potentially trip up. The consequences of someone tripping are multiple; not only could it damage the cable and disrupt a performance but it could also lead to injury and potential legal fees! A multicore cable deals with most of these issues but any cables you use should be taped down and placed in an area where no-one is likely to trip over them. If the latter isn’t possible, make it clear that the cable represents a potential tripping hazard with a clear, legible sign. For more information on how custom cables can transform your theatre or performance space, get in touch with Custom Designed Cables today.