Cable Assembly Cycle: From Manufacturing to Shipping
In our last blog, “APELC is pleased to announce our new line of quick-disconnect connectors for high-voltage coaxial cable”, we explored APELC’s latest line of quick-disconnect connectors. However, at APELC, we not only manufacture the connector, but the entire cable assembly. This blog will detail the complete cable assembly cycle from manufacturing to shipping.
We have developed an efficient process for manufacturing connector components and cable assemblies that directly addresses and meets our customers’ very specific requirements. At each step along the way we produce statistics that feed back into the process to ensure the highest quality product and the most accurate and fair pricing. Upon completion of the full cable assembly we provide our customers with extensive test results backed by our ISO-9001:2015 quality-management process. Before shipping, each cable is labeled for tracking and documentation. To demonstrate this, we will walk through an example order below.
- RG217 cable with APELC QD connector
- Electrical length of 100 ns (± 1 ns)
- Operation up to 35 kV DC.
As detailed in our previous blog entries, our connectors are manufactured in our ISO-9001:2015 machine shop. As shown in the figures below, the connectors are manufactured in lots and then staged for assembly.
Figure 1 Connector parts being machined and staged for assembly
Once completed, each connector part is inspected and verified for quality and tolerance.
Figure 2 Connector parts being inspected after manufacturing
The connector parts are then sent off for electroless nickel plating and returned to APELC for final assembly onto the cable.
Figure 3 Post-plating parts ready for final assembly
Cable assembly and testing
The connectors are assembled onto one side of the cable, and the cable is cut to the customer’s specified electrical length and verified using a time-domain reflectometer (TDR). The deviation from customer’s specification based up the TDR results are shown below.
- Maximum deviation for cables too long = 382 ps
- Maximum deviation for cables too short = 404 ps
- The standard deviation in the cable length = 98 ps
Figure 4 Plot of deviation from customer electrical length specification
After TDR testing and final assembly, the full cable assembly is high-pot tested to the customer’s specifications.
Results from the TDR and hi-pot tests are carefully documented and included in a “cable traveler” that accompanies each individual cable based upon the cable’s unique serial number. This documentation provides the customer with an immediate snapshot for that cable’s test results and adherence to specifications. An example of the cable traveler and accompanying test data is shown below.
Each cable traveler includes the following information:
- Cable configuration
- Test environment (temperature and humidity)
- The physical length (measured when the cable was pulled)
- Hi-pot test
- Requirements (voltage and current trips)
- Test result (pass/fail)
- CSV file name, for reference
- Graphical test result, V and I versus time
- TDR test
- Electrical length
- Screen capture of the cable under test
- CSV file name, for reference
Figure 5 Sample cable traveler
Figure 6 Notebook containing all 90 cable travelers for this order
Lastly, APELC takes pride not only in the quality of our product, but also in how we ship it to the customer. Each cable is carefully packaged and shipped in a well-organized manner to the customer.
Figure 7 Completed cable assemblies packaged and ready for shipment to the customer
For more information and to see a video on APELC’s line of quick-disconnect connectors, click here.