The Universal Serial Bus, or USB, is a technology that allows digital data communications over short distances. The USB ports will allow USB devices to connect with each other and transmit digital info across USB cables.
If you’re someone who’s looking to buy USB cables in bulk and is wondering how they are made, this post will reveal the USB cable manufacturing process.
The Parts of a USB Cable
Before we dive into the manufacturing process, let’s take a look at what goes on under the cable’s protective cover:
The cable only has a few parts – two connecting ends, the wires inside, and the covering around the wires. The cable makes it possible to transmit data between the computer and the device attached through USB. Also, many cables have ferrite beads that will help minimize “high-frequency noise.”
- The Wires
Usually, the wires are made from silver or copper, like most electronic components. The reason behind this is these metals are excellent conductors. When a USB cable is cut open, it will show how the small wires are connecting to each end.
However, the use of fiber optics, which are fine optical glasses that send out signals back and forth, are beginning to emerge in the market.
- The Ferrite Bead
Ferrite beads are used to prevent or reduce high-frequency interference since most electronic cables release some radio waves. Ferrite, which is an iron alloy used commonly in magnets, can also help avoid the USB cables from overloading. Thus, promoting a smooth operation.
The connectors found at both ends of the USB cable are usually made from brass, which is a copper-zinc alloy. Many of them are nickel-plated; but, some are gold-plated as well. The “A” stream will be plugged into the computer, while the “B” stream will go to the device. Often, the connectors come in different shapes to prevent users from getting confused which end to connect.
The connectors of the USB cables come in different types as they serve various functions, primarily to maintain compatibility as well as to support new devices.
These are the Type-A (the original standard), Type-B, Mini and Micro USBs (the smaller connectors), Type-C (the most recent), and the lightning (not really a USB, but Apple’s connector to their recent devices).
The Manufacturing Process of USB Cables
The USB cable has two main parts – the cable and the connector. However, it’s not that simple to make one. The USB manufacturing process goes through various steps to ensure that the cables are of high-quality and are functioning well.
Step 1: Cutting the Cables
Raw cables are the unprocessed materials from which USB cables will be made. They are often long, so they need to be cut in appropriate lengths, such as 1m and 2m, to meet the requirements of customers. So the first step of manufacturing USB cables is cutting the cables into the requested length.
Step 2: Exposing the Inner Conductor
Cables are made up of various wires, and they are braided and foiled to avoid any electromagnetic interference. In this step, the inner conductor needs to be exposed so that they can be linked to the connector properly.
- Stripping the outer jacket – This is done to remove the cover that protects the entire cable.
- Braid and spiral arrangement – The braids are arranged by clearing them out, weaving, and folding them in the opposite direction.
- Stripping the foil – This is done to uncover the core wire found inside.
- Stripping the inner jacket – This process will finally reveal the conductors inside.
Step 3: Connecting the Wire and Terminal
Most of the time, tin is used to solder electronic materials as it has many features that include excellent affinity to copper or iron surface, excellent fluidity once melted and has a low melting point. All these characteristics make it the best option in the electronics industry.
- Tin dipping – First, dip the conductor’s endpoint in soldering flux, then dip it in the tin in fluid form.
- Soldering – Solder the conductor and the connector’s pinpoint basing on the wire’s color, which is the indication of the wire’s usage.
- Soldering examination – This is done to make sure that the soldering point passes the requirements.
Step 4: Molding
This step will involve covering again the connection of the cable and connector through the injection molding machine.
- Internal injection molding – This means that the first layer of protection is being molded.
- Iron shell installation – This is applicable to some products only where an iron shell is installed for further protection.
- First electrical test – This is done through an electrical test device to check the electrical efficiency of semi-finished products.
- External injection molding – Once the semi-finished products pass the first electrical test, they will be brought to the molding machine to mold the final layer of protection, along with the tag and logo of the brand.
- Second electrical test – Another electrical test is done to the finished products to ensure effective electrical performance.
Step 5: Final Checking and Packaging
The final step includes conducting a final electrical test to double-check its electrical performance and inspecting the cables’ overall appearance and watching for any flaws that will compromise the quality of the products. Also, manufacturers need to make sure that all defective cables are cleared out.
Finally, when everything looks great, the products are packed according to the clients’ requirements.
Even though it’s quite easy to find USB cable suppliers nowadays, not all USB cables are made equally. If you’re starting your own line with this high in demand product, make sure that you find a reliable cable manufacturer like Koincable.