Tag Archives: Custom Made 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.

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.

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 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.

New smartphones have varying needs for custom cable solutions

The recent announcements of new smartphones from Apple (the iPhone 5) and Nokia (the Lumia 820 and 920) each have different relevance for manufacturers of custom cable solutions – particularly when it comes to powering the handsets.

Apple have famously shunned wireless charging, meaning their new figurehead handset must still be tethered to a mains socket to recharge its battery.

Nokia, meanwhile, have given customers the choice over whether to use wired or wireless charging, with built-in wireless charging in the Nokia Lumia 920, and an optional backplate to enable it in the Nokia Lumia 820. Some reports say that Apple deliberately avoided wireless charging because the mat on which the phone is placed needs to be plugged in anyway – a short-sighted view, in light of the prospects for public charging points in airport lounges and coffee shops.

Either way, there’s a whole new generation of custom cables to be made, particularly for manufacturers of charging accessories for this new generation of smartphones. Whether that means cables to connect to the mains, adaptors to allow the iPhone 5 to work with existing iPhone accessories (in light of the altered design of the dock connector) or just funky cables to connect wireless charging pads, UK cable manufacturers will be ready to create designs as the new handsets hit the market.

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.

Military Cables: Keeping the Army Connected

The British Army has troops deployed all over the world, from well-reported warzones such as Afghanistan to lesser-known locales in Africa. With so many troops deployed in so many locales, communication is as essential to the successful operation of the nation’s military as weaponry and transport. However, maintaining reliable and strong communication and data connections in areas with conditions as diverse (and adverse) as Afghanistan, Kenya and Canada is an extremely difficult task. Not too difficult, however, for the military’s secret crack squad of cable designers – including CDC!

retractable-cables

Over the years, we’ve provided cables for a multitude of military purposes, all of which have required intensive research and some innovative thinking to bring to fruition. Here are some of the ways custom cables are keeping the military connected.

Communication between Bases and HQ

When deployed to nations as vast as Afghanistan, the military will set up numerous bases, some of which will be based in locations where you’ll be more likely to find a camel than a reliable phone signal.  However, reliable and clear communication between bases – and military HQ – is required for co-ordinating operations and relaying vital information.

This is where custom cables come in. Building cables incorporating data, power and cable shielding to withstand the rigours of a combat environment, cable designers ensure that the military have reliable connections across the world, regardless of the environment in which they are operating.

Communication between Troops

Of course, it isn’t just bases that need to communicate; ground troops need to be able to communicate with their superiors back at their base as well as each other when deployed in the field.

Headphone microphones are the principal method of doing this and custom cables play a big part in their design. Cables used in headphone mics need to be durable as well as providing crystal clear communication. Some mics make use of acoustic limiting devices, with the variable levels built into a down cable, in order to make sure that speech quality is as clear as possible while also offering protection from high signal levels for the user.

Reducing interference is also a crucial part of the design process; we have used the star quad formation in the past to minimise any potential interference hampering clear communication. Practical considerations also have to be made, such as the weight and durability of the cable.

Vehicle Interfaces and Data Transmission

Reconnaissance plays a big part in military operations and data recovered from reconnaissance missions needs to be transmitted in a secure and reliable manner.

Custom cables designed specifically to reduce interference and combine data, power and other aspects into as little cabling as possible – such as multicore cables and screened cables – are frequently used in military vehicles. These cables need to be able to stand up a vast range of operation conditions so durability is another key aspect to consider during the design process. For more information on military cables, get in touch with CDC via our contact us page or by calling 01204 658 784.

How Custom Cables Are Fuelling The Renewable Energy Revolution

Since the industrial revolution, civilisation has been reliant on fossil fuels to provide us with energy. In the modern age, energy is required for more or less everything we do; charging the batteries in our phone, fuelling our cars and even powering the computer on which we’re typing this blog post.

Unfortunately, energy isn’t infinite. In fact, many scientists have suggested that we have already reached ‘peak oil’, the level at which global production of oil has peaked and will only fall from now on. Demand, however, will not fall at the same rate, leading to energy shortages and all kind of potentially catastrophic effects. All is not lost. If society can reduce its reliance on oil and other fossil fuels to generate energy, then we could avoid the widespread power outages that may result from oil running out.

Nevertheless, reducing our dependence on oil is only the first step. Demand for energy will keep on rising as we as a society continue to rely on more and more gadgets to go about our daily lives. Conversely, reducing the amount of oil we use will mean less energy is being produced. This deficit is what is driving continued research into renewable energy, energy sources that will never run and will ensure that society never has to face the kind of energy fears it is currently facing again.

The most widely-used renewable energy sources include wind power, solar power and hydroelectric energy. All of these energy sources are relied upon to some degree already, but our reliance on them will increase further in the future as our dependence on fossil fuels decreases.

The ways in which these sources generate energy is unique; rather than burning fuel, natural elements such as the wind, the sun and the sea are used to create kinetic or solar energy. This energy is then stored and transported to a station where is distributed to homes and businesses. But how is this energy transferred from the original source to a station? And how is it taken from a station to a home?

Custom cables are widely used in the renewable energy industry; in fact, some cable designers focus solely on creating cables for renewable energy purposes.

Without the services of a cable designer, it’s unlikely that renewable energy would as widely used as it is today. Cable designers will also be at the centre of future developments in the renewable energy sector. Over the next few decades, the demand for energy created by renewable sources will increase substantially.

This is partly because of the increased onus on ‘clean energy’, but also because of an enforced move away from fossil fuels. As such, the designs of the cables currently used to transport energy from source to station to home will need to be altered in order to facilitate a great energy load. It’s a challenge that cable designers, including Custom Designed Cables, are relishing!

How Custom Cables Could Improve Your Gaming Experience

Over the past few years, the popularity of video gaming has exploded. Whereas gaming was once considered the preserve of children and teenagers, the past few years have seen everyone from your dad to your Gran picking up a pad, with family-friendly consoles such as the Wii and mega-franchises such as ‘Call of Duty’ breaking into the mainstream.

It’s estimated that the gaming industry is now worth an astounding $78million (almost £50million)! Part of the reason for this popularity is the ever-decreasing cost of games consoles and gaming PCs, with one able to pick a console for as little as £50 second hand. However, while most gamers will be happy to stick with the equipment and cables that come bundled with their console, they may not necessarily be getting the best out of their machine.

Building Gaming PCs

Hardcore gamers have been turning to custom cables for their gaming needs for years. Custom cables are most commonly used in self-built gaming PCs, with dedicated gamers drawing up the exact specifications for what they require and passing it on to a cable designer, such as Custom Designed Cables, to complete. These cables usually consist of high-powered coaxial and data cables, with cable shielding sometimes included to negate the effects of interference and provide the ultimate gaming experience.

Custom cables can also save on space in a crowded PC tower, combining data, power and communication into a single cable and thus allowing more space for other performance-boosting equipment.

Custom Cables for the Everyday Gamer

It isn’t just hardcore gamers who could benefit from custom cables, however. A great deal of games are now designed to be played on HD widescreen televisions, but the HDMI cables included with some consoles can leave a lot to be desired. A custom designed cable complete with cable shielding can strengthen data transmission between console and television, providing gamers with a crisp, clean picture as they embark on another epic quest.

The composite cables that come bundled with consoles can also be improved with a custom cable designed specifically for your needs. Whether the cable you’re using isn’t providing a strong enough signal or simply isn’t long enough, a custom cable solution could be the answer to your problems.

Going Retro

But what about when you get bored with modern games and fancy a go on your old SNES or Mega Drive, only to dig it out of the attic and find that the all-important AV cable is missing? Not a problem. Not only can these now out-of-production cables be replicated, they can be built in a manner which improves performance way beyond the original cables. Pretty cool, eh?

So next time you get home from a hard day’s work and stick on your games console, consider whether your gaming experience is as good as it could be…then get in touch with Custom Designed Cables on 01204 658 784 for more information on how to improve it!

5 Ways Custom Cables Are Making The World A Better Place

There’s nothing like a bold statement to open up a blog post, and the title of this blog post is indeed a grand statement. Custom cables making the world a better place? Really?

But it’s true – custom cables and their various applications make your life better on a daily basis, often without you even realising it. Cables are the unsung heroes of the technology world, powering the machinery and equipment we rely on to lead our modern ways of life.
Of course, it’s easy to make a grand statement like that without providing any evidence. Therefore, we’ve compiled five ways in which custom cables are making the world a better place. Enjoy!

Custom cables power medical equipment

Medical technology has come on leaps and bounds in the past 50 years, providing doctors and nurses with a detailed insight into our wellbeing and allowing them to diagnose any ailments quickly and effectively. X-ray machines, MRI scanners and CT scanners are pieces of equipment that the NHS and private healthcare providers rely on every day. At the core of these machines are custom cables, with multicore cables powering the machines and transmitting vital data to doctors quickly.

Custom cables help the military

Custom cables are the military’s secret weapon, providing the power for communication devices, helmet communications, vehicle interfaces and unmanned aerial vehicles. Low-interference, high-powered cables ensure that there is a reliable connection between headquarters and ground troops, that troops are always connected in the field and that all equipment can stand up to the rigours of the battlefield. In short, we’re proud to provide equipment that helps the army keep us safe.

Custom cables are used in renewable energy sources

  As we revealed last week, custom cables are playing a key part in the design of renewable energy sources. With the environment at a tipping point and an increasing onus on finding ways to reduce society’s reliance on fossil fuels, custom cables are helping scientists concoct ways to change the way humanity generates its energy and avert potential blackouts and environmental disasters in the future.

Undersea cables keep us all connected

How on Earth does an electrical cable work underwater? It’s a question that cable designers over the ages have been all too happy to answer, providing the world with a way to communication across nations via an elaborate network of undersea cables. Underwater cables are responsible for both telecommunications and online communication between nations. Such is the world’s reliance on marine cables for getting online, whole nations could potentially be taken offline should a cable be damaged. In fact, that scenario actually happened back in 2009, when a severed cable led to half of the Middle East being taken offline! It’s a good job that cable designers work so hard on making their marine cables durable and reliable really, isn’t it?

Cables make long journeys more comfortable and more exciting

Custom cables have long enabled parents to keep their kids quiet on a long car journey or kept bored passengers entertained on trans-Atlantic flights, with automotive manufacturers calling on the services of cable designers to provide ways to power in-flight entertainment and seat-mounted DVD players. So there you have it, five ways custom cables are making the world a better place. If you require a custom cable for any application (world-changing or not), get in touch with Custom Designed Cables.