What industries are having the biggest impact on cable designs?

Time: 2020-06-03

It has become clear that labor intensive and automated processes are using more industrial cables than ever before. Here, various cable manufacturers discuss which industries have been key to the design innovations that are helping to change power, network and data cables to keep machines and industry running smoothly.

Automation is number one.

Any industry where automated machinery is used has had a tremendous effect on cable designs, including warehousing and distribution, automotive manufacturing, and food and beverage. These high-speed, often high-power, repeatable applications require safe and flexible designs.

"As all types of industrial automation move to be more productive, machines are running at higher speeds than ever before," said Rick Orsini, product manager for SAB North America. "As these industries take advantage of developments in robotics, the need for faster communications and faster motors and drives requires more movement and more flexible cables to go with it."

In high-pressure, repeatable manufacturing such as stamping presses, the tension in the reinforcing wires is critical to safe designs, said Tim Hannigan, cable engineer, TPC Wire & Cable.

"One of the things we've been able to do is use insulation that can withstand multiple repeated flex cycles where you don't need a real thick wall." You can use a thin wall to reduce the size. The caveat on the back is that it's going to be a more expensive cable, because you're using materials and techniques that are expensive to start with," he said. "It may cost you a little more up front, but it's going to save all kinds of money in the back."

Designing with health in mind

Most agree that the medical industry has driven many recent changes, with designs that are hygienic, safe, and extremely durable.

According to Neal Allen, Key Account and Industry Manager, HELUKABEL. “We are seeing more motion cables in the medical industry as they increase their use of robotics in more advanced applications. These machines need antimicrobial cables for these applications, which we can provide."

Hannigan added that X-ray and MRI machines require reliable motion cables to prevent downtime. These medical-grade cables must also comply with FDA guidelines, he said.

And, said Rich Buchicchio, Cicoil's national sales and marketing manager, hospital equipment, like other labor-intensive industries, "requires a 24/7 workforce, 24/7 service, precision, and no injury issues at all." cable designs".

Materials to adapt to hostile environments.

To survive in harsh environments such as machine tools, mining and construction, special jacket materials have been developed to protect both the cables and their users.

Hannigan said the cables used in construction equipment must withstand the chemicals used in those industries. And Allen added that the machine tool industry requires more motion cables that can withstand cutting fluids and oils, making it even more challenging for cable designers.