Cables, Standard vs Dynamic…is there really any competition?

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igus’ chainflex product manager, James Harrison, tells us why choosing cables for dynamic applications is so crucial

As technology advances rapidly, more and more machines need moving power and data supplies. The process of selecting cables for these dynamic applications, where cables may have to move in a range of repeated strenuous motions, is definitely one that needs consideration.

The simple construction of standard cables is unsuitable because the cable may fails due to the few, yet large, conductor strands bending at a small radius and breaking. Another common problem in standard cables is the “corkscrew” effect primarily due to the compression of inner cores and the cores untwisting because of a loose fitting jacket with poor grip.

So how can you solve these problems?

Simple; purchase a chainflex cable specifically developed for dynamic applications!

Cables, Standard vs Dynamic…is there really any competitionFinely stranded copper cores, that are optimised for maximum flexibility, reduce the risk of work hardening and core fractures and even give large core high-current motor cables the flexibility required for dynamic operation. Cores are twisted with a shorter pitch and in multi-core cables the cores are braided and bundled wherever possible.  This results in the path of the core being from the outside of the cable to the inside and back over a very short optimised distance. Compressive and tensile stresses therefore cancel each other out reducing the overall level of stress and wear.

Of course, the outer jacket is greatly relied upon as a means of preventing the core from twisting, a good dynamic cable has a pressure-filled jacket rather than plain extruded!  Where EMC shielding is required a braided shield will be seen in quality dynamic cables preventing gaps opening via a shallow braid angle.

“We’re so confident about the quality of our chainflex cables, we will even guarantee a minimum number of cycles in an energy-chain. A true reflection of our chainflex guarantee program!” Enthused James Harrison.

James’ top 10 tips when choosing your cable:

  1. Make sure that the bend radius is dynamic, opposed to static. You don’t want to waste your time or money!
  2. The cable needs to be suitable for the bend radius of YOUR energy chain.
  3. Ensure that the cable is rated for the appropriate number of cycles. How can you find this out? Click onto the igus chainflex Lifetime calculator tool to see: http://bit.ly/OhGIos
  4. Know your travel length. The longer the travel, the higher the grade of cable required.
  5. Be clear on the applications speed and acceleration. This ones simple:                                                         The faster the speed/acceleration = More strain = Better quality of cable required.
  6. Have the working environment clear in your head. Exposure to factors such as dirt, oil and chemicals are all elements that the outer jacket needs to suit.
  7. Ensure cables are suitably laid in the energy chain upon installation.
  8. Check there is sufficient clearance and space between cables using appropriate interior separation where necessary.
  9. Appropriate strain relief is essential; this can be achieved simply via tie-wrap plates or for more demanding applications use igus CFX saddle clamps.
  10. Finally, order from a reputable supplier!