All businesses in an increasingly competitive market must continually look for ways to offer real value to their customers, particularly by building web sites that go beyond a simple presentation of product information. A web site built with customer benefit in mind will not just contain product information; it should provide extra services that streamline access to specific information, and provide productivity tools as well.

In order to provide such a productivity tool, Microwave Journal (MWJ) has unveiled a time-saving tool for its readers who need to solicit quotations from cable assembly manufacturers. The Custom Cable Assembler offers MWJ readers the ability to visually assemble connectors to cable, type in mechanical and electrical specifications, and send the drawing and specs to multiple vendors with one mouse click. Unlike the majority of existing on-line tools, the Custom Cable Assembler works right in the web browser, with no software to download and no plug-ins required.

Using the Custom Cable Assembler is simple and intuitive. After choosing between flexible or semi-rigid cable, a window appears with a menu of six different commonly used connector series, with an option to specify any series that is not in the menu. Clicking on a series button (see Figure 1) presents a choice of three configurations in that series. Clicking on a configuration automatically adds it to the drawing in the central window, as shown in Figure 2. Repeating the process for the right-end connector produces a drawing with the length callout properly located for the configurations chosen (see Figure 3). All connector selections are “undoable”—to change a series or configuration, simply click on a different one.

When a connector is chosen, the “connector type” text field in the form is automatically filled in. The form also allows the user to specify length and tolerance, connector plating, marker color and text, electrical specifications and testing requirements, along with other RFQ information, as shown in Figure 4. Users also have the option to attach drawings if necessary, such as when specifying a semi-rigid cable assembly that requires bending to its final configuration.

Custom Cable Assembler users can even save time and research by specifying cable “generically” (see Figure 5), and letting the vendors recommend a specific cable type that will satisfy the user’s requirements. This option is available for semi-rigid cables as well.

When the “Submit” button is clicked, the form information and the drawing are immediately e-mailed to all vendors for price and delivery quotation, and the form and drawing are e-mailed to the user as well. A confirmation page is automatically generated, giving the user the option to print the drawing and form, and to begin specifying another assembly.

There’s never been an easier or more convenient way to specify cable assemblies and send the information to multiple vendors for quotation.A demo version of the tool may be accessed at Here for anyone wishing to sample the tool inactively. For additional information, visit Now procuring custom cable assemblies is just a click away.

The MWJ Custom Cable Assembler is a proprietary, licensed derivative of Online Assembler software, ©2006 by Riley Communications. All rights reserved. No copying, recompiling or re-use of code is permitted.

Microwave Journal,

Norwood, MA (781) 769-9750,

RS No. 304