The case for custom cables and cords.
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The case for custom cables
Engineers engaged in aerospace, automotive, mining, medical and many other applications require special cable for their equipment. The specification of cables must balance design and performance requirements for light weight, space constraints, voltage demands, flexibility and temperature extremes. A variety of standard off the shelf cables is available for equipment manufacturers, but most of these choices are not tailored for advanced, high-tech industrial use. The solution is custom-designed cables produced for the needs and application of new equipment design.
Advantages of custom cables
High tech equipment requires the integration of more and different sized conductors for control and power than in the past for aerospace, automation, medical, military, power distribution, transportation and utility applications, which are often also subject to space and weight limits. Composite, reduced weight cables with small diameters can be manufactured to fit such design and installation specifications. Custom cables also offer the benefit of a composite multi-conductor cable with conductors of different voltage ratings from 12 V to 5,000 V.
Off the shelf cables do not always offer the flexibility demanded for an application. Consider the example of standard multi-conductor tray cable and single conductor building wire/cable available in UL types THHN or XHHW 600 V rated conductors. These products are made with non-flexible coarse stranding and stiff insulating and jacketing materials that get even stiffer in cold temperatures. Stiffness surfaces are a greater issue as they quadruple with larger size conductors ranging from 10 AWG to 1,000 MCM. Installation poses additional difficulties when targeting routes with small bend radius, and performance is undermined in systems requiring constant flexing, as in robotics. Philaflex™ cables from Philatron offer a lightweight solution fabricated with materials featuring enhanced flexibility and resistance to cold weather conditions that cause cables to become ridged.
Readily available cables are manufactured with conventional thermoset materials such as Neoprene, Hypalon, styrene-butadiene rubber or ethylene propylene rubber. Many of these materials proved useful in the past but their capabilities have been surpassed by newer thermoplastics with superior ozone, temperature and voltage limits. The thermoplastic materials used by Philatron to extend the service life and bolster the performance of custom cables and cable jacketing feature the added benefit of being recyclable.
Material selection is particularly important in many military and industrial specifications, which can call for designs that are not compatible with the application. For example, a military specification may call for a cable with expensive Teflon conductors with a temperature rating of 200° C and polyurethane jacket with a temperature rating of only 90° C. An industrial cable specification that calls for flexibility might dictate the use of polyethene — which is not flexible — for the conductors or the jacket. Engineers at Philatron will select the appropriate materials for a custom cable product after the application, voltage and temperature requirements, flexibility needs, and other parameters are defined.
Coiled cables and cords offer solutions to cable management, tight spaces, entanglement and handling for specific equipment and applications used for aerospace, automation, communication, electrical vehicle charging, medical, military, heavy duty truck-to-trailer, automobile-to-trailer and construction light towers. A custom product can be tailored to the specific needs of an application, such as a soft flexible coil for medical equipment or a stiffer faster retraction-extension coil for robotics.
Most coiled cables and cords are designed with a retraction to extension ratio of 1 to 5. This is exemplified by a 5 ft working length coil requiring a 1 ft retracted length (1 x 5 = 5). A 20 ft working length coil requires a 4 ft retracted length (4 x 5 = 20). This ratio has evolved into the industry norm but may not be applicable in all cases. The sagging of a coiled cord from a hung position in a hospital for medical equipment signals an excessively lengthy retracted dimension and indicates the need for a shorter retracted length coil with a greater retracted-extension ratio. The patented Flexy large loop coil from Philatron offers an improved retracted-extension ratio of 1 to 25. The advantage of the large loop coil is that a coil with a 4 ft retracted length and 20 ft working length can be reduced to a retracted length of only 9.6 in with an extended working length of 20 ft.
Custom coiled cables and cords can be made with small and medium conductor sizes from 28 AWG to 10 AWG or large conductor sizes from 8 AWG to 4/0 AWG.
Philatron is a full service certified ISO 9001-2015 and IATF 16949-2016 custom and standard, full-service cable manufacturer of bulk bare copper and insulated electrical wire and cable with full engineering capabilities. Operations include copper drawing, bulk wire and cable insulating — thermoset and thermoplastic, injection and compression over-molding of cable connectors and cord sets, custom connectors, and assembly. For more on their line of wire and cable products, visit Philatron’s website.
About Philatron Wire and Cable
A leader in technology, creativity and innovation, Philatron Wire and Cable is a major wire and cable provider in the USA, manufacturing a full range of wire and cable products. As an industry leader in manufacturing, design, development, technology, and marketing, with over 40 years of service Philatron values core competencies offering copper drawing, roping, cabling, extrusion, injection molding, coiling and assembly. Markets served: Aerospace, Auto/Heavy Duty Trucking, Electrical, Entertainment, Medical, Military, Mining, OEM, Oil & Gas, Transportation, and Utility/Power. Certified ISO/IATF 16949 (Quality Program) & SDVOSB (Veteran Owned Business)