Custom Cable Design Basics

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00:15 – Every company, every product, and every piece of equipment has unique needs. When it comes to wire and cable requirements, nobody understands those needs better than the experts at Allied Wire and Cable.

00:28 – Our team has decades of experience designing custom cable that meets your needs exactly.

00:35 – When you specify a custom cable, you get to optimize the conductor, define electrical parameters and tolerances, and choose specialized insulation materials. You can designate the jacket color and print, and take advantage of other value-added services, to end up with the ideal cable for your application.

00:55 – “They’ll come to me and they’ll say ‘Hey this is the environment it’s going to be in. We’re going to need 250° and we need it to be flexible to -40° or whatever, -50°. We need it to have a camera cable, we need to have power…and then what you do from there is just kind of design and pick the elements, put them together and then figure out what kind of jacketing, what kind of shielding they may need. Is there going to be…are they worried about the crosstalk, are they worried about EMI situations and stuff like that. You can start and take it from there.”

01:24 – We’ll start with the conductor; choose a material from widely-used, inexpensive aluminum and bare copper conductors, to tin, nickel, or silver-plated copper, or even high strength alloy conductors for more challenging applications.

01:40 – We’ll work within voltage ratings and electrical tolerances, and even environmental parameters.

01:46 – Are you worried about flexibility? We’ll help you choose the conductor size and stranding lay that will give you the flexibility you need.

01:53 – Next, we’ll tailor the insulation and jacketing materials based on what the cable’s job will be, and the conditions it’ll need to survive while it does that job.

02:02 - “I was part of a design team that created a cable to test the faults in the dams over in Iraq. So the cable had to be durable for laying around in the sand, being run over by military vehicles but also withstand extreme temperatures.”

02:20 – Will your cable need extra physical protection? Add metal armor to protect it from abrasion, cut-through, or crushing.

02:28 – If signal interference is an issue, you can add shielding to minimize cross-talk. Choose from foil, spiral, braid, and combination shields.

02:39 – Do you need your cable to meet UL, CSA, CE, or even Mil Spec standards? We’ll design your custom cable to comply with those specifications.

02:49 - “A piece of cable that actually leads from the soldier’s helmet down to a pack on his belt. And it would actually allow them to see infrared, if there was any improvised explosive devices buried and stuff like that. It would detect heat in the ground and stuff. That was a really cool cable to build, because you’re saying this is a cable that’s actually contributing, saving lives. Yet it was very challenging because it had to be very small, obviously, it had to be lightweight…you can’t have a gigantic cable. So that was a very challenging engineering job for us. But, again, we got it finished and it worked out great, and the soldiers in the field are now wearing Allied Wire & Cable, so that’s kinda cool.”

03:35 – Personalize the look of the cable, from jacket color to printing. We match custom colors and can print letters, numbers, and even your company’s logo to make branding and identification simple.

03:47 – Take advantage of our additional services including striping, twisting, braiding, cut & strip, special labeling, and more, to get the cable you need exactly the way you need it.

03:59 – With quick turn-around times and low order minimums, we can help you out of a jam.

04:05 – We also offer prototype runs with small minimum length requirements and we can supply small or large quantities, from a few hundred to a few million feet!

04:15 – “Depending on how complicated the custom cable is, it could be anywhere from two weeks to typically four weeks at the most that we can turn it around. Thousand foot mins, sometimes even 500 foot mins, so don’t be scared that you have to buy five or ten thousand feet. We can turn around a small quantity in a quick lead time.”

04:35 – Visit the Custom Cable section of our website,, and fill out the easy-to-use design sheet.

04:45 – Remember, when an off-the-shelf item just won’t do, you can count on the Custom Cable Design Experts at Allied Wire and Cable.

Need a custom cable? But you’re not sure how to design one or where to get it? Allied Wire & Cable specializes in custom cable manufacturing, because we understand that stock cable isn’t going to work for everyone and every application.

The process of ordering a custom cable is fairly straightforward, working with Allied. From simply describing the application the custom cable is needed for, to the specific components like the conductor, shielding, and insulation materials you need, our engineers will work with you to figure out what you need. Custom cables can also be made to certain standards like UL, CSA and Mil-Spec, or it can be made of whatever you need regardless of standards.

If you’ve been trying to make a stock, off-the-shelf cable work for your application, and it’s not working out, check out our Custom Cable Design Center and see what the design experts at Allied can do to help. Even if you can only tell us the environment the custom cable needs to survive, we will work with you from start to finish designing a cable perfect for your needs.