A mighty fortress is C&M Corporation’s home – a symbol of its numerous strengths, which include the ingenuity of highly skilled engineers who design and build innovative cable technology solutions.
The company’s headquarters and main production facility, a converted textile mill erected more than a century and a half ago in Wauregan, Conn., is an imposing stone building, with an impressive façade that metaphorically signifies the company’s steadfast, uncompromising commitment to excellence.
But the interior of the brawny, bulwark-like structure is just as interesting, as it helps relate the genesis of how C&M Corporation became a leading global manufacturer of customized advanced power and signal transmission cable and cable assemblies solutions. Founded in 1964, the company was originally in the scrap wire reclamation business but soon entered the wire and cable manufacturing business. In 1967, the company moved into the 350,000-square-foot Wauregan building. “Because the site once served as a textile mill, its quarter-mile-long interior wings were perfect for long-wire extrusion,” recalls Joseph Iamartino, C&M’s vice president of business development.
Now, more than 40 years later, C&M Corporation has become a go-to company for customers that need custom cable, coil cord and cable assembly solutions. The company is among the top suppliers in its markets, and its high ranking is attributable to its vertical integration, which enables it to take complete control in developing a customer’s cable assembly, from beginning to end.
“We not only make the cable assembly with the necessary connectorization, we also produce the necessary bulk cable and coil cords,” says Iamartino. “Customers do not have to deal with multiple vendors when they want to put a full system together. We can handle the entire link.”
C&M, which has experienced double-digit growth in recent years, manufactures thermoplastic cables that range from 32 AWG up to 250 MCM constructions. The company also handles composite constructions, producing cables that contain power, control and signal conductors of nearly all sizes and materials (including optical fiber) in a static or hi-flex construction. It also manufactures a variety of coaxial cables including the challenging 75 ohm miniature coax solutions. Further, C&M manufactures coil cords, with diameters up to four inches, from almost any type of thermoplastic cable.
As far as cable assembly capabilities, the company designs and manufactures mechanical and molded assemblies for diverse product applications, including PC board design, ABS injection molding and assemblies with straight, ribbon and coil cord type cables. Terminations include IDC, crimp and poke, direct attach, weld and direct-to-board. Engineering services for cable assembly range from design consultation, product recommendation, and quick-turn prototypes to complete product design and contract manufacturing services and everything in between.
C&M Corporation’s customized cable solutions are deployed in industrial applications, multimedia, medical devices, military/ defense and public safety, data collection, data communications and telecommunications. But whatever the industry or application, the company’s cable and cable assembly solutions meet exact specifications and requirements. C&M handles specialty insulation materials, as well as various conductor types, coatings, coating methods and constructions. Its products also meet high-speed and video transmission requirements. Fiber optic cable assemblies are available to provide enhanced speed, distance, RF-immunity and superior bandwidth performance.
The company’s cables, coil cords and cable assemblies are noted for their low attenuation performance, long-term retraction, high-voltage capacity and secure data communication. Moreover, the company’s custom solutions can perform in severe-duty conditions and are RoHS compliant. “RoHS has really changed the game,” informs Iamartino. “We’re now dealing with plastics used in high-reliability, high-flexibility environments, and these must be engineered to address issues such as oil resistance, gas resistance, and flammability. They also have to survive the high-flex, continuous-use applications. So, over the years, we’ve evolved to become plastic experts – not only to meet the RoHS requirements but ever-increasing application needs.”
Appropriately, C&M’s cable and cable assemblies resist heat, cold, flame, chemicals and abrasion, and they insulate against electrical interference and noise emission. Indeed, product robustness is a core capability and key differentiator. C&M’s cables are built to be rugged and provide an extremely long flex life. “We have a long history in the high-flex, continuous-flex environment,” says Iamartino. “Our customers may have an application that requires millions of cycles of flex life, and they need a cable that can withstand that kind of abuse. That’s what we provide.”
To that end, C&M engineers designed high torsional flex power/control composite cables that are ideal for assembly-line hand-tool applications. The cables contain high-flex conductors and strength members that can withstand the degree of flexing and torsional bending commonly found in assembly lines and other factory environments. The company’s trademark Duralon jacketing provides abrasion resistance and protection from the oils and chemicals so often encountered in these environments. Further, the unique cable construction provides long life, which eliminates the need to replace the power and/or control cables during equipment lifespan and prevents production downtime that can result from cable failure.
The company also combines cable robustness with higher transmission speeds, an advantage especially critical to meeting emerging data and video standards. Data speeds are increasing at a substantial rate. With this increasing speed, if a main interconnect cable fails, the impact on the customer is multiplied exponentially. As such, the need for more reliable systems has become critical. C&M builds robustness as well as transmission performance into its designs. This increases reliability in the most rugged, heavy-use environments, such as you’ll find in factories or robotics.
Versatile In-house Capabilities
At its impressive Wauregan facility, C&M Corporation boasts in-house capabilities that include engineering, customization, testing and logistics that take solutions from prototype to final product. The company’s talented engineers have a combined century’s worth of experience, and they are organized into work groups based upon specific industry expertise. A cross-functional stage-gate development process ensures that customers reap the benefits of the engineers’ collective experience.
Engineers also integrate ergonomics into cable solution designs. They’ll shape customers’ industrial connectors to match other product elements, add features to improve tactility to the user, or color-code cables for easy identification. In this way, customers’ cables and assemblies not only perform well; they can help simplify operation of the machinery or equipment to which they are added.
Also, C&M employs the most current processes for lean manufacturing and cycle time reduction to deliver superior cost-competitive cables and cable assemblies faster than anyone else in the industry. As the company performs its own tooling and prototyping, customers can expect flexible and speedy delivery. Depending upon material availability, C&M offers lead times of four to six weeks for cables, coil cords and cable assemblies. However, if a customer’s schedule is accelerated, it can work to produce products much more quickly.
The on-site product reliability assurance program includes x-ray testing, flex testing and other forms of stress and failure inducing tests. Flex tests include C-Track, MIL-137776, and +/- 360° Torsion. The company also has its own UL-certified burn chamber, which enables the company to speed up approval time and deliver product sooner.
According to the company, C&M’s 42-year involvement with cable technology has become an “obsession.” Such passionate commitment entails finding the “perfect solution” for its customers. As such, through their involvement with C&M, customers are