Allied Encyclopedia – What Does “Harmonized” Mean?

Allied Encyclopedia

There are plenty of confusing terms in the wire and cable universe. With all the abbreviations and complicated verbiage (aromatic cable, does it smell good?), even seasoned veterans to the industry might not know what every single term means. That’s why we’re going to start a new series on the AWC blog, called “Allied Encyclopedia,” where we’ll investigate those illusive terms and flush out a good definition.


Flip through any wire and cable catalog and you’re sure to come across cable that’s been given the title “Harmonized.” That sounds pretty, but what does it mean?

The quick answer to this question is that harmonized cables carry the HAR mark, which is a voluntary European mark that has a scope outside the European market. In general, harmonization is the process to bringing together two or more differing/opposing things and merging them together. Therefore, a harmonized standard is a compromised standard that encompasses the needs of each separate standard in one.

There are plenty of standards organizations around today whose job it is to make sure that companies follow some rules in the manufacturing of their products. Different standards organizations exist in different parts of the world. Therefore, certain cables manufactured and meant for use in North America cannot be used in Europe as well as certain cables manufactured in Europe following one standard cannot be used in specific places that don’t accept that standard.

Cables carrying the HAR mark can be used anywhere in the participating areas of Europe as well as outside the areas, such as in North America, which means you can reach a broader scope of customers with one product. There is one thing to keep in mind, however: color code. The Standard Color Code and European Color Code are slightly different for certain cables. Always make sure to check which color code is being used when dealing with any type of cable.

Have any illusive terms you need defined?  Not quite grasping something to do with wire & cable?  Leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to nail one down for you!

About awcwire
Allied Wire & Cable is a value-added manufacturer and distributor of electrical wire and cable, tubing, and more. We are a family owned and operated company, serving a wide range of industries, including the military, automotive, aerospace, and telecommunications markets. Allied is headquartered in Collegeville, PA. Additional locations can be found across the US, in Phoenix, AZ; Bedford, NH; Pewaukee, WI; Rochester, NY, Tampa, FL; and Mt. Juliet, TN. For more information on Allied, visit our main website at

2 Responses to Allied Encyclopedia – What Does “Harmonized” Mean?

  1. It is my understanding that any wire manufacturer in the world can produce harmonized wire to the standards of . However, only European wire manufacturers can actually stamp onto the wire.

    • awcwire says:

      Thank you for the comment, Kevin. That is correct, to actually stamp the HAR mark you must be a licensed member of the CENELEC group, which owns the HAR mark. To expand on the definition above, the mark was designed to have “harmony” between the participating countries in Europe, and to participate you must be a member of CENELEC. However, European HAR cables can be used elsewhere after only minor adjustments because there are known equivalents to standards in other countries, which lessens the need for manufacturing two completely different cables that follow two standards. Hope that clears things up!

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