A cable harness, also known as a wire harness, cable assembly, wiring assembly or wiring loom, is an assembly of electrical cables or wires which transmit signals or electrical power. The cables are bound together by straps, cable ties, cable lacing, sleeves, electrical tape, conduit, a weave of extruded string, or a combination thereof.
Commonly used in automobiles, as well as construction machinery, cable harnesses provide several advantages over loose wires and cables. For example, many aircraft, automobiles and spacecraft contain many masses of wires which would stretch over several kilometres if fully extended. By binding the many wires and cables into a cable harness, the wires and cables can be better secured against the adverse effects of vibrations, abrasions, and moisture. By constricting the wires into a non-flexing bundle, usage of space is optimized, and the risk of a short is decreased. Since the installer has only one harness to install (as opposed to multiple wires), installation time is decreased and the process can be easily standardized. Binding the wires into a flame-retardant sleeve also lowers the risk of electrical fires.
Wiring harness quality standards are standardized by IPC's publication IPC/WHMA-A-620 for conforming and non-conforming requirements. Customer drawings, notes, or specifications take a higher priority to the IPC/WHMA-A-620 standard, but if no customer specifications are called for the default accept / reject is dictated by the 620 standard. IPC standards are reviewed every three years to ensure the requirements are up to date with technology, industry practices as well as other issues which may have transpired since the previous revision. The IPC/WHMA-A-620 standard covers issues such as electrostatic discharge protection), rework / repair, preparation of wire (stripping, strand damage, deformation, etc.), cleanliness, solder, crimping, pull-test requirements of crimps, hardware mounting, overmolding among other critical processing operations. All issues covered in the 620 standard are intended to provide the end user with a product which will fit their intended needs. There are three classes mentioned in the 620 standard:
Class 1: general electronic products, that is, toys, non-critical items.
Class 2: dedicated service electronic products, that is, uninterrupted service is desired but not critical
Class 3: high performance / harsh environment electronic products, that is, must function when required, life-saving devices, military needs.
Quoted at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_harness
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