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Author: Dustin

Low Pressure Injection Molding

Low pressure injection overmolding (LPIO) is a process used to encapsulate and protect electronic components, such as cable assemblies, from environmental factors like moisture, dust, and vibration. This process involves injecting a liquid thermoset material into a mold cavity and curing it to create a solid, durable, and waterproof coating around the assembly.

Cable assemblies are used in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, and medical, to connect different components and transfer data or power. These assemblies can be exposed to harsh environments, including extreme temperatures, chemicals, and physical stress, which can damage or compromise their performance. Overmolding cable assemblies with a protective material enhances their durability and longevity, ensuring reliable and consistent performance.

LPIO has several advantages over other encapsulation methods, such as potting and manual encapsulation. It is a cost-effective and efficient process that reduces labor costs, material waste, and cycle time. The low pressure used in LPIO also eliminates the risk of damaging delicate electronic components during encapsulation, ensuring a high-quality finished product.

To begin the LPIO process, a mold is designed and manufactured to match the shape and size of the cable assembly. The mold is then mounted onto the injection molding machine, and the cable assembly is positioned inside the mold cavity. A liquid thermoset material, typically a two-part epoxy or polyurethane, is then injected into the mold cavity under low pressure, filling the voids around the cable assembly and creating a solid, watertight seal.

The curing process takes place in the mold, and the time and temperature required depend on the specific material used. Once cured, the mold is opened, and the finished overmolded cable assembly is removed. The excess material is trimmed off, and any necessary secondary operations, such as connector assembly, are performed.

LPIO can be used to overmold various types of cable assemblies, including single wires, bundles, and connectors. The finished product is lightweight, flexible, and can withstand harsh environments, making it ideal for applications such as sensors, control systems, and power distribution.

Overall, LPIO is a reliable and efficient encapsulation process that offers several benefits for cable assemblies. It enhances their durability and longevity, reduces the risk of damage, and improves overall performance. As technology advances and the demand for smaller, more complex electronic components increases, LPIO will continue to play an essential role in ensuring their protection and reliability.

Cable Assemblies in Arizona

I mentioned in a previous post that TCA had expanded both here in Auburn, WA as well as the Southwest.  Formally, I’d like to introduce you to Jim Henderson who represents our Southwest business. Located just outside of Phoenix, AZ Jim comes with years of experience in structured cabling, wire harnesses and cable assemblies.  Jim is on the ground in Arizona and available to visit your facility for consultation and to review your requirements. He comes fully supported with a strong engineering team behind him available to help with costing, tooling, first articles, work instruction creation and eventually getting your assemblies into full scale production.  You can reach him immediately by calling our main line (253) 289-5572.


Custom USB Cables and Other Relics

One day I may just up and open up a museum dedicated to TCA antiquities.  Does anyone out there still have one of our original 2002 logo style hats? I can’t even begin to count how many variations of t-shirts, hats, pens, golfballs, catalogs, fliers or other paraphernalia we’ve had over 2 decades.  As we get closer to getting back into trade show mode, it’s fun to review our old displays made eons ago.  When our staff was less than 25% of what we are today, we were already pounding out more than 50,000 cat5e and cat6 network cables per month, all custom made to the inch.


We have custom display boards for all types of assemblies but what caught my eye today was the molded USB we created years ago.  Using a common base USB A connector from a trusted manufacturer we were able to build an overmold that created protection, strain relief, and not one but THREE exit holes.  This old display model may be showing some dust and age but the innovation is beautiful and what goes into it is still impressive to me. Multiple solder joints and splices lie under that tiny mold. I told you custom molds get me excited!




Large Gauge Locomotive Cable

In 20 years of business there have been countless experiences that excited me, and anyone who’s worked with me has heard me say “we sell solutions”. I feel strongly about that because we do. Many businesses sell cable assemblies and wire harnesses but our aim is to create additional value in providing those cable assemblies.  Often times the additional value our customers come to us for is looking for ways to manufacture an assembly more cost effectively or help improve a failing product to increase the integrity of the assembly in it’s specific application.  These days the number one value we hear of course is “lead time reduction”.  With supply chain issues running amok across all industries we have bolstered capacity across the board to ensure that our lead times are equal to pre-pandemic levels.  When it comes to cable assemblies there are always three immediate applications that excite me:

  • Molded assemblies. Anytime we get to mold something new there is a fun creative journey involved.
  • Large complex wire harnesses. When an assembly starts to reach 200+ points of inspection, harness boards, and hours of assembly time you really take a moment to appreciate both the engineering involved as well as the skillset of the technicians actually creating the final assembly
  • Large gauge wire assemblies.  Everything about it is big. Big spools, big connectors, BIG crimpers!

One specific application where we are seeing growth due to time constraints is in the very large gauge power cable.  Take for example something like AWC’s DLO-4/0 wire.  Tinned copper, 405A rating, 551 strands, and a whopping OD of nearly a full inch.  Pair that with the Panduit Pan-Lug LCA4/0-38-X 4/0 Lug and you have a whopper of an assembly most of our customers are not equipped to properly crimp.   Luckily, we are.  One such tool is the CT-3001/CCP Li+ Cut / Crimp / Punch tool.   It simply blows my mind that a tool weighing in at only 7.1lbs is equipped with a staggering 6.7 ton crimp capacity..


2022 Company Updates

Custom Cable Manufacturers Auburn, WA

As the world returns to some level of post-pandemic normalcy, I’d like to reflect upon the past two years of accomplishments at TCA.  2022 marks our 20 year anniversary as a company and yet we continue to maintain that “start-up” level of excitement and energy around the office. All of the sudden opportunities to gather in group settings, meet with customers face to face, travel, and attend trade shows again are popping up daily and what was old is new again.  The pandemic no doubt created new challenges and hurdles for every individual, company, school, and organization in the world, but I’m extremely grateful for how blessed we have been throughout the experience. In the past two years, TCA has:

  • Expanded real estate by 50%. Taking on new warehousing space for inventory management, production process development, and administrative offices.
  • Expanded our domestic molding capabilities by 50% with additional molding equipment and new dies.
  • Vastly expanded wire cut, crimp, strip, and tin capacity by utilizing Schleunigers automated crimp centers.
  • Began the journey of ISO certification, and achieved that certification the same year.
  • Launched our new website
  • Expanded our sales office into the southwest
  • Grew our staff by nearly double, with over 80 folks in our family here at TCA now.
  • Implemented a fantastic digital work instruction system with many custom modifications thanks to our partners at Scout Systems.
  • Implemented a new MRP system to further improve our efficiencies in inventory management, purchasing, and production work flow.

I am sure I am forgetting a lot, but I’m even more excited about the future.  We are once again looking at visiting trade shows, travelling to customer sites, spending more time together as co-workers at company BBQ’s, celebrating birthdays, and planning our first annual golf tournament.

So thank you to all of our amazing customers and suppliers that have worked together through these past 2 years to create such a fantastic foundation for the future.

RF Cable