The outer jacket protects your cable against environmental factors and application demands. This crucial element can determine the longevity and durability of your cable or cable assembly.
Before choosing your cable jacket material, consider these questions.
1. What is your end application?
- End Application – The end application is the number one influencing factor when selecting materials for any component of the cable. Certain specifications or characteristics may be determined by the end use. For example, if the cable will be in a medical device, the jacket may need to be biocompatible and/or sterilizable, which will quickly narrow down the list of jacketing material options.
2. What is your environment?
- Environment – Jacketing material selections differ depending on your cable environment and end application. Will your cable be exposed to extreme temperatures or continuous flexing? If so, for what duration and frequency will be important factors.
3. Do you require UL or CSA approvals?
- Approvals – If your cable needs to be UL listed or have a CSA marking, you'll need a jacket material to accommodate.
4. Will a connector be over-molded to your jacket?
- Adherence – It is important to evaluate the adherence of the over mold and the jacket material for compatibility
- Shape – In addition to material adherence, shape compatibility is also important to access. If the cable assembly includes an over mold, ensure the cable is round for a clean shutoff and a pressured jacket is preferred over tubed.
5. Does your assembly process involve jacket stripping?
- Jacket Stripping – When evaluating jacket materials, consider downstream processes such as jacket stripping. This includes obtaining the right tooling for the jacket material. For example, polyurethane is more difficult to score and strip than PVC.
6. What will be your strip length?
- Strip Length – If the strip length is going to be considerable on the end of the cable, a tubed jacket will offer a quicker, easier strip.