To wire up different components within electronic gadgets, hook-up and lead wires may be adequate, but the electric industry needs a vast variety of industrial cables to remain connected. Chief among these are power cables to carry high voltages and currents, and cables necessary for industrial automation and process control. Cables may conform to multiple standards such as UL, CSA, and others. Cables often have to transmit power or signal in industrial environments that may harbor the harshest conditions involving physical abuse, high temperature, ozone, chemicals, oil, and other demanding situations.
Challenges and Solutions
With increasing demand from the industry, manufacturers are producing cables for automation and seamless data communication. To support proliferation of mission-critical signal transmission, cable manufacturers offer high quality, high-availability line of industrial cabling and connectivity products.
Seamless Connectivity from the Enterprise to the Sensor
For the most robust and reliable factory networking, manufacturers also offer network switches, I/O modules, and other devices. Users choose their cables from a vast selection of configuration, insulation and jacket materials, shielding options, high-flex capabilities, and other options.
Manufacturers must maintain product consistency for ease of termination and assembly. For instance, precise control of diameters of jacket and insulation along with thickness of concentric wall ensure fast and reliable supplication in automated high-speed equipment.
Depending on their use, industrial cables also require highly effective protection from EMI and RFI. There is increasing demand for innovative designs with shielding technology using foil and braid configurations. Manufacturers offer 100% shield coverage improving the protection over a wide range of frequencies. Apart from this, cables also require electrostatic shielding, and sometimes, extra insulation and mechanical strength. Overall, the cable shielding needs to be lightweight, strong, flexible, thin, but extremely effective.
For cables requiring maximum physical protection in the harshest of environments, armoring technology is the solution. Armoring offers added advantages such as reduced cost of conduit, easier installation and re-routing, while it provides additional shielding.
Typical armoring of power, instrumentation, and data cables involves interlocking aluminum or steel armor, or continuous corrugated armor of aluminum. Some manufacturers also offer cables with corrugated or smooth protective metal tapes.
Insulation and Jackets
Cable manufacturers offer a large variety of insulation and jacket compounds, often their own formulation. These provide superior performance under different hostile environmental conditions. Cables are typically graded as Class I, II, or III, according to whether they are suitable for hazards differentiated by Division 1 or 2.
For instance, cables suitable for Class I, Division 1 Hazards are used in locations where flammable vapors or gases may exist under normal operating conditions. Cables suitable for Class III, Division 2 Hazards may be used in locations that contain easily ignitable flyings and fibers under abnormal conditions.
Not all environments need be hostile. Occasionally, under normal or abnormal conditions, equipment and wiring may be incapable of releasing adequate amounts of electrical energy to ignite a susceptible, specific hazardous atmospheric mixture. Manufacturers offer cables with light blue color with approved sealing and separation for use in such situations.
Cable manufacturers offer the most comprehensive line of industrial cabling solutions today. This helps not only for networking on the factory floor or process equipment and devices to their controllers, but also to the control room, and for relaying data between the engineering department, control room, and various office sites or remote manufacturing locations.