Everything you need to know about flexible cables
Cables are virtually used in almost all the electrical gadgets, industrial setups, housing complexes, and power generation, and supply facilities.
With cables, such an integral part of all the electrical applications out there, these electrical cables are manufactured and chosen for the application they are used in along with their working environment.
There are many different types of electrical cables available in the market, but the one that we will be focusing on here would be flexible cables.
What are flexible cables?
Flexible cables are technically any cable that can flex and bend without having any significant damage. There are essentially two different types of cables. One is the solid conductor cable, whereas the other type is the flexible cable. As the name suggests, the solid conductor cables have a solid conductor inside them, which makes these cables hard, strong, and rigid. However, due to their low rate of flexibility, they are often subjected to breakage.
The flexible cables, on the other hand, can be used for various purposes and can operate at temperatures and locations where the solid conductor cables cannot. Flexible cables are also commonly referred to as continuous flex cables since they cannot be flexed or be bent without having any substantial damage.
Flexible cables can be a single core cable or a multi-core cable. The multicore flexible cables have more than one conductor inside them. Flexible cables can also have braided or a stranded conductor inside them.
Type of flexible cables
There are two different types of flexible cables. The multicore cable and the single-core cable. These cables have different application areas as well as different construction methods.
As the name suggests, the single conductor flexible cable has a single conducting core, which is made of metals such as aluminum or copper, along with the flexible insulation around them. However, it must be noted that as the diameter of the flexible cable increases, the flexibility in these cables tends to reduce. Single-core flexible cables are commonly used in applications that demand less power and where budget is the primary focus instead of long-term functionality. Since single core flexible cables carry only one conductor, they are rarely used in industries, whereas in common daily life applications, the use of single-core cables is quite common. Single call flexible cables are also commonly used at times when the duct size is quite small or where a longer cable is required between two different joints. Single-core flexible cables are also suitable for fix installations as well as for the internal wirings of different electrical appliances.
Single-core flexible cables
Multicore cables have multiple conducting cores in it, and these cores are grouped together in multiple single layers where every single cable has its own defined purpose. Multicore flexible cables are commonly used in data transmission or power transmission along with applications such as in automobiles and industrial facilities. Since multicore flexible cables have multiple single cables inside them, the multicore cable has split ends so that it can be easily connected to their respective functions. The multicore cables are also stronger and durable as compared to single flexible cables. The multicore flexible cables also have better insulations since they are used in much more power-intensive applications and have long term usage.
Construction of flexible cables
The construction of flexible cables can be divided into two different types. First is the construction with conductor stranded in layers inside the cable, and the other is in which there are braided or bundled conductors.
Stranding in layers
The flexible cables having stranding in layers are easier to produce and therefore are less expensive to other cables. In this type of construction, the cable cords are stranded firmly and are kept in several long layers around the center of the cable and then enclosed in the insulating jacket. In the case where these cables require shielding, the conducting cores are wrapped with foils or fleece.
However, in this type of flexible cable construction, there is a bending process, and under this process, the inner radius of the wire is compressed, whereas the outer radius of the wire is stretched. For short term use, this works quite well, and the elasticity in these flexible cables is sufficient; however, with time, the material fatigue can cause permanent deformation, and the wires need to be replaced. Therefore, for applications where these cables are supposed to be used for extremely long durations, the flexible cables constructed via stranding in bundles technique are used instead of stranding in layers flexible cables.
Stranding in bundles
The flexible cables constructed with stranding in bundles technique have their conductors braided around a tension-proof center instead of layering. The stranding in bundles technique completely eliminates the layers in the wire, and therefore, these flexible cables can have a uniform bend radius throughout the wire. With the flexible cables made via stranding in bundles technique, at any point when the cable is flexed, the part of the core moves from the inside to the outside of the cable quickly and thus maintains the functionality of the wire.
The stranding in bundles technique for flexible cables are often preferred for cables that are used in applications which require high power usage and high flexibility. The flexible cables constructed by this method are also more expensive than the flexible cables constructed by stranding in the layers method. The flexible cables constructed by stranding in bundles often have a pressure-filled jacket instead of the simple extruded jacket. This pressure-filled outer insulation fills all the gussets. It’s around the, of course, and ensures that the cables inside the wire cannot twist. the pressure-filled jacket, and this results in a dynamic, flexible cable. This jacketing makes the cables much more flexible and stiffer than a standard cable and can last longer in situations where they are constantly flexed.
Braided multicore flexible cable
Why choose SSGcable for your flexible cables?
There are several reasons why our flexible cables have a competitive edge over other flexible cables in the market.
- Our cables have a higher strand count. Higher strand count translates to more flexibility.
- To meet the demands of our valued customers, we manufacture flexible cables in different sizing options.
- Our cables are fully tested for flex tests as well as harsh environments to make sure it stands such scenarios during industrial applications.
- We offer flexible cables in different conductors that are finely stranded to maximize their flexibility as well as to extend the overall conductor’s life.
- The multicore flexible cable offered by us has higher levels of insulation. Therefore, they can be used in extreme temperatures and are also an ideal fit for uses in locations that are prone to fire.
- SSGcables also have decades of good reputations of serving its customers with high-quality flexible cables that have stood the test of time and delivered what it has promised.
Industrial applications of flexible cables
Due to their flexibility and physical characteristics, the fixable cables are commonly used on fixed or portable equipment that often features rotating or moving parts. flexible cables are also commonly used on machines in locations that face is heavy vibration such as mixers Motors and rotating fans. Flexible cables are also intended to connect mobile machines and mechanisms with a power source when these machines are mechanisms are in use, there is cyclic displacement of these flexible cables, which results in deformation and thus needs to be replaced after a certain time of usage. The following sections also discuss the two major industrial applications, which are practically impossible to achieve without the high-performance flexible cables.
Depending on the type of application, the flexible cables are exposed to different types of deformation. this mechanical deformation can include tensile strains, bending, torsional strain, and other related strains. These deformations and the flexible cable can cause the conductors to completely breakdown or the insulation to deteriorate. Therefore, it must be made sure that the flexible cables that you are buying are of high quality and that you are buying it from a reputable manufacturer.
Flexible welding cables
Welding is a process in which two or more metals are joined by melting the metals at very high temperatures. The extremely high temperatures cause the metals to melt, and when left to cool, they form a solid joint. There exist many different types of welding, and one of the most common types of welding is electric arc welding. In electric arc welding, the welding cables are used to connect the electrode holder, which holds the metal rod in place to conduct the electric charge.
The cables used in welding purposes are very flexible, strong, durable, and can withstand high temperatures. The reason why welding cables are flexible is that welding is typically a portable type of application in which a single annealed copper conductor is used along with stranded construction. Inflexible welding cables are also used because this work usually exposes the wires to high temperatures that range from 50 degrees to as much as 110 degrees. The flexible cables used in welding are also resistant to cuts, abrasion, grease, and oil. Flexible cables also help the welding operator to move easily and to weld in positions that are harder to access.
Co-Axial TV flexible cables
Coaxial TV flexible cables are thicker cables with multiple conductors running through it. As the name suggests, they are used for connecting different accessories to your television and are also commonly used in cable and satellite companies. The coaxial TV flexible cables come in different frequency ranges and are also well protected against external damages due to thick rubber layers. There are significant benefits to using coaxial TV cables. The benefits are;
- The flexible coaxial cables have a large number of copper wires along combined with thicker insulations. These cables are able to transmit a large amount of data that is of significantly higher speeds. Coaxial flexible cables are known to transmit data of speeds up to 10 MBps, which makes them ideal for use in broadband connections.
- Coaxial TV flexible cables are also highly versatile. Thus, they can be used in different appliances related to your television. These flexible cables can be used to connect your DVD or Blu-ray players to your TV as well as to connect your satellite dish connections. The added versatility of these cables comes from their ability to carry video, data, and radio transmission signals in one cable.
Difference between flexible cable and flexible cord
Often the flexible cables are confused with flex flexible cords. Therefore, it is important for the buyer to know the differences between flexible cords and flexible cable. A flexible cord is a stranded wire which has a cross-sectional area of each strand less than 4.28 mm2. On the other hand, stranded wires with a higher cross-sectional area are considered to be flexible cables.
Flexible cords usually have two separately insulated, flexible stranded conductors that are twisted together. Such flexible cords are also called twin flexible cords. For a basic understanding, flexible cords are a shorter version of flexible cables, which are often used in daily life applications. Flexible cords are rarely used in industrial applications due to their short size and lower ampacity.
Common household electrical appliances using flexible cords
Advantages of flexible cables
Let it daily uses electrical applications or heavy industrial applications; flexible cables can be seen in almost all the electrical appliances and mechanisms. There are several advantages of flexible cables that make them so applicable and favorable over other types of cables.
The flexibility and geometry of these cables allow them to fit together with one another wherever it is required closely. Therefore, quite a lot of space can be saved by flexing these cables in their respective electrical applications. Flexible cables also eliminate the space between the cables and hence save the overall cost of laying down these cables.
The flexible cables are known to be reliable and trustworthy in terms of their effective functioning. Flexible cables purchased from reputable manufacturers are durable, much more power-efficient, and do not have any reliability issues.
Fire and heat resistance
Flexible cables can be manufactured as fire and heat resistant cables. This property allows them to be used in applications where the temperature rises significantly, and there is a chance of damage to the wire due to high temperatures. Therefore, in such applications, it is important that fire and heat retardant flexible cables are used instead of any other low category cable.
Two different types of heat and fire-resistant flexible cables. Notice the extra thick insulation around the conductors
Flexible cables are also known to be lighter as compared to other cables. It is because, due to their flexibility, more wires can be added together in a small space, thus making the cross-section of the cable to be lowered, which makes them significantly compact and lighter.
Due to their construction methods and the conductors used, one type of flexible cable can be used in multiple applications and in various industries, which saves up high costs and also aids in proper recycling.
As the name suggests, the flexible cables can flex and bend in almost any direction and corner, and therefore using them makes it simpler and easier. The flexibility of the cable also aids in mobile applications to be hassle-free.
Ease of handling
One other significant advantage of flexible cables over other cables is that the flexible cables are easier to handle and pack; therefore, they can be transported from one place to another quite easily. The installation of flexible cables is also much simpler as compared to other cables.
Precautions when using flexible cables
Like every other cable, it is important to take proper precautions when using flexible cables. The following precautions are important;
|Do not use flexible cables as a substitute for fixed wiring. If used as a replacement for fixed cables, the flexible cables may permanently damage the mechanism or machine that it is used in. Using flexible cables as a substitute for fixed cables might also harm the operator.
|Always run flexible cables through doorways and windows and via holes in ceilings and walls. This way, the cables are less exposed to the external environment and thus are less prone to damage.
|When using flexible cables in buildings make sure these flexible cables are concealed behind the walls or buildings inside the ceilings or under the floor
|When using flexible cables make sure the cord and the fittings used are adding divide for the application
|Always replace your flexible cable when they become faulty or damaged. It is strongly advised not to repair or patch the flexible cables. It is advised so because of the flexibility of the cable when there is a fault in the cable, it tends to travel internally, and the user may or may not be able to see the damage visible.
|Always install the flexible cable in raceways except as permitted elsewhere
|The flexible cable should be installed or used in a manner that unduly exposes them to any physical damage
|Be flexible cable should not have an electrical load more than specified by the manufacturer as this may overheat the cable and cause damage
|Overcurrent devices should not be rated higher than the capacity of the flexible cable
|Make sure not to flex or bend your flexible cable more than the permissible bending radius specified by the manufacturer. in the case where the user is unaware of the permissible bending radius, it is advised not to bend or flex the cable by using excessive force as it may damage the conductors inside the cable.
|Do not wind up the multi-core flexible cable if they’re in a twisted state and winding them up may damage them internally
|High lateral pressure must not be applied to flexible cables. Usually, the manufacturers allow lateral pressures on the flexible cables to be less than 4.5 kN/m.
Use of flexible cables in the future
With the advancement in the manufacturing techniques and ever-growing demand for flexible cables, it is expected that in the future this cable will be much more efficient and much more flexible than they are now. This way, the cables can easily bend and make it to the right locations without affecting the functionality of the machine. The flexible cables in the future are also expected to be more durable and have better resistance to heat and fire. Though some companies are working to manufacturing the next-gen flexible cables, all these are currently in its infancy. Despite the need for much more power-efficient and flexible cables, the exiting cables are sufficient enough to power the modern-day electrical appliances and meet the high industrial demand.
We at SSGcables are manufacturers and suppliers of high-quality flexible cables. We have decades of experience in flexible cable research, development, and manufacturing. Therefore, from conductor selection to sheathing to complete cabling, we execute a full set of strict controls over the quality of our components at each stage of manufacturing. At SSGcables, we have excellent sourcing and supply chain at each production stage, which ensures cost-savings, excellence, and value-adding solution so that we can deliver what we promise to our customers.
We would love to work closely with you to offer the best flexible cable or any other cable to fit your requirements and deliver you with the best in class products.