September 6th, 2017 - Special attention is given when designing and manufacturing components for harsh environments (i.e. aerospace/defense and the oil and gas industry). Every minute of downtime costs money, and equipment is often vulnerable in isolated, harsh conditions as well as complex and demanding industrial facilities. A few key features that differentiate ruggedized cable are jacketing, strength members, and shielding.
Jacketing is the first line of defense
Jacketing protects against environmental factors and application demands. Each jacket material offers different properties and special material blends can be compounded to meet performance needs. An application engineer will work closely with you to identify the best jacket solution, for example:
- Fluoropolymers are excellent for withstanding extreme temperatures as well as cut, crush, and/or abrasion resistance as the material maintains rigidity even in high temperatures
- A TPU (Thermoplastic Urethane) material is a good option in abusive environments where chemical resistance is needed. It is also an excellent choice for a retractile cord
- If flexibility is important, a TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) material may be considered. It is a softer alternative which maintains strength and damage resistance making it a good option for coil cords as well
Strength Members add support
Strength Members preserve cable integrity and help the cable withstand different types of movement.
- Aramid fiber is a strong material ideal for extreme pulling strength
- If pull strength and compressive strength are critical, steel strength members may be a better choice
- When designing for a pulling or pushing application, a fiberglass rod offers rigidity
- To learn more about strength members, download the Northwire Extreme Environments whitepaper
Shielding provides protection
Shielding provides protection by increasing both structural integrity and signal integrity. Selecting the right shielding materials and configurations can add strength, flexibility, and noise suppression.
- Materials like Kapton® tapes are designed specifically for high temperatures while Polyester excels in low temperatures
- Aluminized backing can be used for shielding and insulation
- Binder wraps hold components together to make sure tensions stay the same
- Based on coverage and material, tapes can increase flex life or rigidity
- Wraps and tapes can be designed to protect from moisture and chemicals