Tag Archives: Custom Cables

Cable Manufacturer win SBS competition


Custom Designed Cables ltd win Theo Paphitis’ #SBS competition

It’s official, CDC have joined the #SBS club! For those of you not familiar with SBS, it’s a twitter competition where each week Dragons Den star Theo Paphitis retweets his favourite 6 small businesses! Thousands of hopefuls every week send their tweets to Theo in the hope that they will get recognised…

Here is our winning tweet:

CDC Ltd winning tweet
Winning tweet
Theo's retweet
Announcement of win

Firstly, we would like to say a HUGE thank you to Theo for selecting Custom Designed Cables Ltd as one of his favourite small businesses this week! It is a fantastic achievement for us and we are delighted to be recognised as ‘one to watch’ in the future. We must also offer a massive thank you to all our Twitter followers and fellow users who have sent us lots of very kind messages congratulating us on our win!

Custom Designed Cables Ltd have over 20 years’ experience in designing, manufacturing and supplying custom cables; We are unrivalled in both service and quality and as such we are one of the UK’s leading manufacturers :

  • Any custom cable requirement is welcomed, in small and large production runs
  • An extensive range of manufacturing capability, based on decades of experience
  • Full traceability and supporting documentation of all the components we use
  • Prototype cables, allowing you to experiment with different configurations
  • Retractable cables also known as coiled cables are proven to perform and can be deployed for many different applications – particularly when versatility and flexibility are key considerations.
  • An open approach to costings; we provide all of your costs upfront so you know exactly what you’re paying for
  • High quality and cost-effective bespoke cables for a wide range of applications

Our cable manufacturing experts design cables for a broad range of industries, including the automotive, audio and video, instrumentation, medical and offshore sectors.

Our vast and varied exposure to a wide variety of industries and applications means that we can design and manufacture bespoke cables to meet any requirement. By applying our quality approach to cable manufacturing we guarantee a robust, high-quality and cost effective end product.

Keep an eye out for many new and exciting developments to come for CDC, you can follow us on TwitterFacebookGoogle + and Linked In

You can check out our SBS profile here: Custom Designed Cables Ltd SBS profile


Does Paying More Money For AV Cables Guarantee Better Quality?

With money tight and the cost of cinema tickets ever-increasing, more and more people are electing to stay in and watch TV and movies rather than going out. Part of the reason for this is that a lot of high definition televisions and crisp sound systems that rival the cinema experience have hit the market over the past few years. Home theatres have been popular in America for a while now, but the trend now appears to have taken hold in Britain.
However, shopping for a home theatre system isn’t as simple as buying a television and some nice speakers. Home theatre enthusiasts have to consider all of the components in a system, and how they work together to produce a high quality overall experience.

One of the least understood components of a home theatre system are cables. Whereas the merits of a good television are pretty obvious just from looking at the specifications (screen size, etc), anyone who isn’t particularly well-versed in the world of cables will undoubtedly be baffled by the various technical jargon used to describe a cable.

Blinded by confusing specifications, this often leads consumers to confuse quality with cost, splashing out on the most expensive cables (and trust us, they can get really expensive!) in the belief that high cost means high performance. So, does paying more for a cable guarantee a better performance? It depends on the kind of cable you are using. Analog cables, for example, are more prone to interference; an aerial connected via an analog cable is more likely to produce a poor and interrupted picture quality.

This can be amended somewhat using cable shielding to protect from the affects of interference, but this kind of feature is usually associated with a higher price. Analog cables are falling increasingly out of favour, however, with most cable manufacturers opting for digital alternatives.

Digital cables offer a far stronger transmission of signal than analog cables, with interference having little-to-no effect on the final picture quality. Therefore, many suggest that paying more for a digital cable such as an HDMI cable simply isn’t worth it; the respected reviews at CNET have even gone as far as to suggest that their readers only invest in bargain online HDMI cables rather than splashing out on expensive alternatives.

That doesn’t mean that the performance of digital cables is perfect, however, and there will be instances where splashing out a bit more will result in much better sound and picture quality.

Distance, for example, can have a big effect on the quality of signal transmission; if there is a significant distance between your HD device and your TV, it’s important to invest in a cable that can successfully transmit a signal across that distance. In some cases, this may involve investing in a specially-made custom cable. In conclusion, paying more for a cable doesn’t always mean that you’re getting the best quality product.

Instead, you should focus on specifications and match them to your own requirements accordingly. For more information on custom cables for home theatre purposes, get in touch with Custom Designed Cables.

Five amazing places that you would never expect to find cables

The frozen continent of Antarctica is the only significant land mass in the world yet to be connected by submarine cables. Telecommunication cables criss-cross the world’s ocean beds everywhere else, forming vital international links but so far the challenge of laying fibre-optic cable that could withstand extreme temperatures of up to -80C would be too expensive.

Ice flow, which can be as much as 10 metres per year, is another technical hurdle that would have to be overcome so, for the time being anyway, researchers on bases there will have to rely on the comparatively unreliable satellite to communicate with the rest of the world.

It may come as a surprise to many people but some 90% of the world’s internet traffic is via cable, much of which is across ocean floors. If the idea of finding a cable connecting Antarctica to the rest of the world sounds a bit extreme, here are five other places you might, and might not, expect to find cables.

Atlantic cables

Submarine cables have connected Britain and the USA since the late 19th century but up until 1956 communication was still by Morse code. The first fibre optic cables were laid in 1988 which meant that overnight, a single cable was able to handle 2,500 trans-Atlantic calls at the same time.

By the mid 90s, optical amplifiers were introduced and, as a result, a huge leap forward in capacity meant that the equivalent of 60 million calls could be handled at once. Today, with the latest cable, Apollo, the capacity is over 200 million and counting. Nine cables link New York and London, travelling 3,800 miles on the seabed from a spot on the coast near New York to another one on a north Cornish beach.

The exact location of the cables is kept secret for fear of sabotage but next time you dig on a beach in Cornwall with your bucket and spade, be careful not to go much deeper than six feet in case you disrupt everyone’s internet connection!

Across the Channel

The first telegraph cable laid across the English Channel was in 1850 and consisted of a copper wire covered in gutta percha, 1/4 of an inch thick. Although the wire remained intact, the covering was destroyed within hours due to the sea rolling it against rocks on the sea bed.

The following year, another telegraph cable was laid, four copper wires covered in gutta percha and then encased in galvanised iron. The cable measured 24 miles, weighed in at 180 tons and was towed across the Channel by tug. The cost of the cable was estimated to be around £20,000 and the entire operation cost the company £75,000. Despite a number of setbacks the cable was successful and in 1853 more cables were laid between the UK and Ireland, Holland, Belgium and Denmark.


England’s football fans may have found the heat of Manaus as trying as watching their team take on Italy in the sweltering Amazonian city at the 2014 World Cup, but spare a thought for the men who faced all kinds of hardship, including stifling heat, to lay the first submarine cables connecting the port of Belem and the river city of Manaus in the late 1890s.

At that time, Manaus was a boom town because of the rubber trade and as usual, it was commerce that was the driver behind the project which involved laying cable along the bed of the mighty Amazon river. Siemens Bros laid the cable for the Amazon Telegraph Company, using the CS Faraday. Despite an epic struggle, which included frequent breaks and faults in the line, being stranded on a sandbank for nine days, fighting currents and whirlpools, insects and the heat, the cable was eventually laid and Manaus was connected.

A holiday beach near you?

Next time you are sitting on one of these beaches along the west coast of Africa, you won’t notice it, but beneath your feet, fibre optic cables are pulsing with life. The Africa coast to Europe submarine cable follows the west coast for 17,000 km, with landing points that include, Cape Town, Swakopmund in Namibia, Accra in Ghana, Banjul in Gambia, Lagos in Nigeria, Tenerife in the Canary Islands and on to Penmarch in France.

Horse-drawn cable

Not everywhere in the world has superfast broadband connections, including some parts of the UK, and the feasibility of laying cable is still an issue in many places which are remote or inaccessible or where there is little existing infrastructure. The small community of Greensboro Bend in a mountainous part of Vermont in the US, has a Belgian draft horse to thank for being able to get a broadband connection.

Fred and his handler have been helping telecommunication companies lay cable for over thirty years and can tow cable over ground where even the sturdiest all-terrain vehicles struggle. If you are ever in this part of Vermont and are browsing the internet, remember who to thank – Fred the ‘telephone horse’! For more information on our custom cable solutions, get in touch today.

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.

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.

Broadband demand good news for UK cable manufacturers

Continued growth in broadband demand may be good news for UK cable manufacturers and their continental European counterparts during the recent turbulent economic period.

A recent presentation from market insight provider Integer Research looks at the different factors currently affecting cable manufacturing across the EU-27 group of countries. On a national scale, some countries are seeing greater levels of turbulence than others, due to economic factors. But across the continent, it is broadband that offers a bright spot – something UK cable manufacturers have already seen in recent years.

Integer’s director of research Philip Radbourne presented the analysis at the recent Europacable 2012 General Assembly in Brussels. His presentation notes “sustained growth in broadband demand – FTTH (Fibre to the Home), wireless, coaxial”. The demand for cables capable of supporting streaming media at high-definition resolutions is a further growth area for Europe as a whole, it adds.

Overall, this leads Mr Radbourne to predict further investment in several types of cable solutions through until 2015, including high-bandwidth broadband, FTTH, cable solutions for electric vehicles and RF coaxial cables.

Fashion as much as function: Use of cables in interior design

There’s a popular plot-line in crime or spy dramas where a murder weapon, or a suspect, is “hidden in plain sight”. The item, or person, is so obviously in view as to be ignored by those seeking them out. You might think that the same should be true of cabling – and often another phrase expresses this: “Out of sight is out of mind”.

As an alternative, though, it can often be a bold and interesting design statement to make a striking use of cables to add to, or even create a focal point for, the interior design of a room.

Here are five instances where this course of action is well worth considering. Creating a panoramic skyline – many walls carry photographs or paintings of a dramatic city skyline, especially one important to, or much loved by, the owners of the property. Using cabling to present the same kind of image, perhaps with a dramatic colour effect (say black on a cream wall) can create a stunning visual impression that arrests the eye.

Adding a fun counterpoint to an electrical installation. Most living rooms will have a television and satellite or sound system, perhaps with cinema-style speakers. Cabling for such items is often left in an untidy bunch on the floor, or gathered into cable ties which simply appear thick or clunky.

A fun alternative would be to wall-mount the cable into an interpretation of how the signal is received and distributed – from a satellite dish image over the connected aerial entry point to a representation of the digi-box or the like where the signal is eventually processed. The same idea could be used for telephone socket to handset cabling. For a child’s room, cabling could be run round the skirting boards and then occasionally formed into a favourite character, or perhaps a woodland or seaside scene, together with wall-mounted images of birds and animals.

Often, Christmas lights are formed on a wall to represent a Christmas tree or other festive image. However, as a year-long alternative, how about using kitchen cabling to produce a message tree? Family images or reminder notes could be Blu-Tacked to the end of each branch as a fun way of making sure appointments are never missed and precious photographs are always waiting to catch your eye.

There may be comparatively few open fireplaces remaining in modern homes. A follow-on effect is the disappearance of the mantelpiece (or chimney piece) over it. While this was originally designed to catch the smoke, it quickly became a decorative addition to virtually every house.

Most homes still tend to have an electric or gas fire arrangement as a central point of the main wall of the living room or lounge. Therefore, you could use the cabling to create a quirky impression of the kind of mantel that would add to the image of the room. Leave plenty of space in the middle to insert either the traditional large wall mirror or a painting or photograph of your choice.

The previous four ideas have been mainly for the home. However, cabling is a major part of any business area – and there is no reason why, in such locations, it cannot be used to make the same kind of striking image. If the company name is presented in a flowing style of print, it could easily be presented across an entrance wall using cabling to provide a striking alternative to the norm.

Equally, the business could be identified with a specific character or image in the same way. Fun locators could also be created, perhaps pointing to the lifts, stairs, toilets and the like. Of course, cabling doesn’t actually need to be connected – therefore it’s use can be extended to presenting striking stand-alone design concepts – ones in keeping with the business and its key functions.

Five ideas to demonstrate how creative thinking can turn what can seem like an intrusion in a room into a key part of the design or presentation. Used as a starting point, you’ll soon see for yourself that the opportunities are limited only by imagination – and, of course, the prime need for common sense and complete safety.

How Custom Cables Ensure Fire Safety

Fire safety is something most of us take for granted; we all expect public buildings to feature adequate fire safety systems and procedures to ensure our safety should a blaze break out, while we expect fire alarms in our workplace or home to work in case of fire.

However, have you ever considered how fire alarms can continue to operate despite being exposed to fire? While alarms can be built from fire-resistant materials, how do the cables that power a fire alarm manage to not only survive a fire but also continue operating throughout?

For years, custom cable designers have been working alongside fire safety manufacturers and the owners of public buildings to come up with a solution to this very problem. This ongoing collaboration is to thank for the reliable fire safety systems we have today.

The Challenges

Building a cable for use in a fire safety system presents a number of issues for custom cable suppliers:

  •  The cable needs to perform reliably under extremely harsh conditions
  • The cable needs to be safe, even when burning; burning plastic and metal components could potentially emit dangerous fumes and make the situation even worse.
  • The cable needs to be unobstructive and versatile – the less cables a system requires, the more reliable it is.
  • The cables needs to meet the fire safety standards set out by the likes of BS5839 (a code practice for fire alarm system design) and BS 7629-1 (the standard for fire-resistant electric cables).

The Solution

Custom cable designers have met the unique design challenges presented by fire-resistant cables in a number of ways:

  • Fire-resistant materials are used to construct the cables, including fire resistant cable shielding.
  • Low smoke, zero halogen cable sheathing is used, preventing the cable from fire damage while also ensuring that the levels of poisonous halogen emissions from burning sheathing are kept to a minimum.
  • Cable screening is utilised to ensure that the cable is unaffected by any electromagnetic interference.
  • Twisted conductors are frequently used to facilitate data transmission, allowing for a connection to be made to the local emergency services and any on-site fire safety officials.

Fire-resistant custom cables are used across a vast range of industries, meaning they also have to be versatile in their design to accommodate for different fire system designs and building layouts. Luckily, custom cable designers are well accustomed to this kind of work! For more information on fire-resistant cables, get in touch with Custom Designed Cables on 01204 658 784 or via the contact form on the contact us page.

Custom Cable Solutions For CCTV Cameras and High Level Installations

Although all custom cables are different in their design, there is one characteristic they all share; they were all designed to solve some kind of problem a normal cable couldn’t address. Custom cables work where other cables simply can’t, whether that’s because a standard cable lacks the required power or simply isn’t long enough to reach whatever it is it needs to power.

The latter is actually one of the most common issues a cable designer has to contend with; a great deal of applications involve some form of height – think security cameras or flood lights. This is the same with high level masts, which again can feature some kind of video camera, a standard camera or even just lamps.

Building a cable to fulfil the core functions of these applications seems difficult. Not only does the cable need to be long enough to actually reach the equipment it needs to be connected to, but it also has to combine multiple functions, like powering the equipment while transmitting audiovisual data to a screen elsewhere. For lighting, a single cable is often required to light multiple lamps in a reliable manner.

There are other practical issues to consider too. Having multiple cables crawling up a mast can lead to those cables getting entangled, potentially leading to damage. This means that cable designers are often tasked with creating a single cable rather than having the luxury of two separate cables. The cable also needs to be strong and resilient enough to operate in occasionally adverse outdoor weather conditions.

The Solution

Most cables intended for use on high level masts and with CCTV cameras make use of multicore cables combining power, data and coaxial elements.

This cable will be responsible for powering the equipment as well as ensuring that the data captured by the device (in this case, video data) is transmitted in a reliable manner. As the cable is to be used outdoor, a degree of cable screening is required to negate the ill-effects of electromagnetic interference and ensure that a smooth transmission of data is achieved.

A cable jacket can also protect the cable against tampering and any environmental damage. Multicore cables are most commonly deployed for high altitude applications; the types of core the cable consists of, however, depends on the particular application.

For lighting towers using more than one lamp, a multicore cable will usually consist of multiple power cores, each powering a different lamp. For adjustable masts, a solution will have to be devised with the manufacturer of the mast itself in order to ensure that the cable isn’t damaged when the mast is lowered or extended.

In some cases, this will involve designing some kind of way to lower the cable separately to the mast, or to remove the cable altogether. For more information on custom cables for security and high-level purposes, contact Custom Designed Cables.