Flex those Muscles...I mean Cables!
Posted on Monday, March 2, 2015 by
A flex cable needs to be carefully designed. This involves raw material selection, cable layup construction, and tests. Below are general considerations for flex cable designs for both bending and torsional flexing applications.
To maximize flexibility, it is recommended that design engineers specify annealed soft copper conductors with high strand counts, with a short concentric or unilay construction for bending flexing applications and a long concentric or unilay construction for torsion flexing applications. For conductors larger than 6 mm2 (10 AWG), a rope-lay construction is required.
To increase flexibility in low temperatures, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) is a common choice for insulation material to resist ozone corrosion and aging due to heat. PVC/nylon insulation is also widely used due to its high dielectric strength and moisture resistant capability. Recently Modified Polyphenylene Ether (mPPE) is a new generation of zero halogen insulation that is becoming more and more popular in flexing applications.
For superior shielding effectiveness, braid and spiral along with foil tape are usually used options. The foil tape and braid (includes spiral shielding) combination has great shielding effect for both low and high frequencies. The braid can also keep the foil tape in shape even if the foil tape cracks during the flexing motion.
Cable jackets may be thermosetting compounds such as chlorinated polyethylene (CPE), or thermoplastic compounds such as Polyvinylchloride (PVC), TPE, and polyurethane (PU). These materials are oil-, fuel-, solvent-resistant with superior flexibility under low temperatures.
It should be noted that cable structure is also a considerable factor determines the cable’s flexibility. Symmetric conductor design with a balanced structure will typically lead to a high degree of flexibility
Alpha Wire’s Xtra-Guard Flex performance cable is designed to deliver exceptional performance and reliability in the most strenuous of environments. Xtra-Guard Flex cables are rated up to 14 Million flex cycles and include our supra-shield shielding in order to provide precise EMI interference resistance. Whether you are installing new systems or maintaining existing ones, these cables combine the ruggedness of the Xtra-Guard product line with high flex or continuous flex capabilities. Xtra-Guard Flex cables are used for a wide variety of flexing applications such as assembly equipment, conveyer systems, motion control, and robotic systems. You can request a free sample today!