Flex Cable

Whether you need a flexible or high flex life cable solution for your end application, Northwire is ready to partner with you to optimize your cable design to ensure performance. From napkin sketch to complete specifications, a brand new project or an improvement to an existing design, connect with Northwire to develop a solution specific to your project’s needs.

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Flex Cable
Considerations to Achieve Optimal Flex
  • Inner conductor insulation materials and outer jacket materials should possess sufficient memory. That is, they tend not to maintain a set deformation when stressed.
  • Overall cable construction should be loose and internally slippery, whereby the conductors can freely move within the bundle without generating enough heat and abrasion to cause failure.
  • Inner conductor copper should be an alloy that can withstand flexing without cold hardening.
  • Design of the copper wire stranding should minimize internal bending strain.
  • Optimize the lay of the cable bundle to minimize strain.
  • Ensure testing and rating is applicable for anticipated flex-life.
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Flexibility vs. Flex Life

Simply put, flexibility is a measure of how much movement a cable can tolerate at a given time. Flexibility comes in many types; torsional, rolling, bending, and variable all describe different kinds of flexibility. When a cable is bent, twisted, or pulled into positions other than its original state, its flexibility is tested. Flexible cable can bend significantly and stay bent for a large amount of time without being damaged.

Flex life deals less with how the cable moves, and more with how often it can move in these ways without taking serious damage. Many cables can bend to some degree for limited use (e.g., installation). High flex life cable can bend repeatedly and regularly without disrupting the cable’s intended use, such as power supply or data transfer.

Interested in learning more? Check out our blog post on how to Optimize your Cable Design for Flexibility and High Flex Life

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A graphic showing different kinds of flex cable and four different kinds of motion
Basic Kinds of Flexing
  • Bending or Tic-Toc, where the cable bends back and forth. One end may be in a stationary position and the end in motion may be bending over a fixed object.
  • Variable Flex, where slacked cable is fixed in two positions along its length, surrounding a free moving apparatus such as a robotic head.
  • Torsional Flex. The cable is twisting around its axis. The torsional flex may also involve pulling or tension stressing on the cable, combined with bending and/ or rolling flexing.
  • Rolling flexing. This type is commonly found in cable track systems where a flexible cable carrier is rolling back and forth over some length in a linear motion. An added hazard to cable is the constant rubbing of the cable jacket against the carrier track itself and other cables or hoses in the track. There are even some carriers that can twist.
  • Continuous Flexing. In extreme applications, the cable is subject to steady, repeated movement over a wide range of motion.
Continuous Motion Applications Require High Performance Cable
Applications Can Include

Automated Assembly/Robotics

Packaging

Material Handling

High Flex Cable from Northwire

EnduroFLEX XMIndustrial grade cable for factory automation, robotics, and other continuous motion cable applications

EnduroFLEX CRXM – Industrial grade cable for factory automation, robotics, and other continuous motion cable applications – highly cut resistant and oil/fluid resistant

Learn More!

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Torsional and Rolling Flex Test
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Tic Toc or Bending Flex Test
Cable Design Consult
Partner with a Cable Specialist to Design your Flex Cable Today!