When it comes to choosing a power cord for your electronic device, you can either choose between assembled (mechanical) and an over-molded (molded) cord. An over-molded cord is built using an injection molding process, which combines two or more materials with a molded plastic component over them to create a single part. Molding consolidates materials and parts and usually eliminates the need for an additional assembly. Over-molded cords increase reliability and deliver a completely assembled product.
An assembled cord consists of components that must be hard-wired prior to use. The connector is manually connected to the cord. Methods such as screw and clamp designs are often labor-intensive procedures used in the manufacturing of assembled connectors. The manufacturing process will also require tools to open the casing and other various electrical assembly, including modification and wiring.
On the other end of the spectrum, the flexibility of an over-molded plug’s design makes adding personalized customization seamless for the consumer. Mold colors and custom wires can coincide with various electronic components to create a more personalized application. The molded design also provides strain relief, which is good for frequent usage and plug-and-play accessibility.
Molded connectors are designed to protect electrical components from environmental impacts. For example, a connector with a rating of IP68 can remain fully functional after being submerged in 6 feet of water for 24 hours. The rear of a molded connector will usually remain forever sealed. Needless to say, these power cords will prove to be durable even in the most extreme conditions.
Assembled cords will come in handy in numerous settings, and may be your only choice in some instances. These applications will occur when:
- There is a very specific length of cord needed for an installation
- Routing a cord through a barrier where the end won’t fit so the connector is attached to assembly
- And in cases where the cable will be protected from weathering and will be seldom disconnected and reattached.
In most cases, a molded cord will be the wisest option when shopping for power cords. Sometimes, in controlled environments where the cord will not be unattached, an assembled cord will work fine. In other cases where a cord is used often, such as tech, medical appliances, or other portable electronics, an over-molded cord will be the most suitable and safest option. Furthermore, a molded cord will be the cost-saving option because less mechanical components and labor are used during the manufacturing process.