Optimizing the Lifetime of High Flex Cables

Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Dave Watson

Given the cost premium of high-flex cables, the appropriate care should be given to the nuances of how cables should be handled and installed in the cable track (C-Track, Drag Chain etc.). Information on this is readily available from the internet from a multiplicity of sources that all generally agree in sum and substance and yet once or twice a year we’ll receive an exceedingly damaged (generally corkscrewed) cable back for examination.  Occasionally we learn something that we can use to improve our designs, but way more often than not, what we find is that there has been improper dress-out of the cable on the machine.  Rather than rehash all the basic considerations, this blog will focus on the most common root causes for premature cable failure.

First, a quick refresher.  What is corkscrewing and what causes it?

A cable is said to have corkscrewed when through handling or repeated motion, alters its appearance from nominally straight to quite undulated, looking something like a traditional corkscrew. The cause of the corkscrewed appearance is due to the shifting or migration of conductors from their original position to a new position, thus causing other elements to be displaced and resulting in the corkscrew appearance.

Per the attached image, the top cable shows a significant corkscrewing condition while the bottom cable has just started to corkscrew.


Stay tuned for part 2 where we will discuss the "Quiet Zone" of a cable.

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