Smart factories need reliable and robust data cablesAugust 15, 2017 REDWIRE is news you can use from leading suppliers. Powered by FRASERS.
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As automation on the factory floor increases, so does the need for more data exchange over sophisticated, high-performance networks. This places new demands on Ethernet cables, which are the backbone of the smart factory environment. These system-specific cables must be able to hold their own in harsh factory environments, while still supporting high data rates.
A recent white paper from the Lapp Group, entitled “Data Cable Solutions for the Flourishing Smart Factory”, discusses the important features required for reliable industrial cable solutions, and highlights one solution that is up to the challenge.
A robust construction
Ethernet cables in plant-floor equipment must be able to tolerate a wider range of vibration and electrical noise than equipment installed in offices, for example. The cables must be oil resistant, capable of withstanding high temperatures, and function reliably and durably in a cable track. These requirements lend themselves to certain design considerations, which are universal to all industrial cables. These include:
- Cable jacketing must be made from thermoplastic elastomer or polyvinyl chloride, so that they are resistant to oil and chemicals. For increased mechanical and chemical resistance, also consider cables with robust polyurethane (PUR) outer jackets.
- Shielded cables are necessary to have on the factory floor where there is generally a high concentration of power and power/control cables in one contained environment.
- The smaller the bend radius, the more a cable can be bent without inducing damage. Minimum bend radii will be dependent on the type of cable being used and the application style of the cable’s installation.
Demands for higher data
Industrial Ethernet cables must be able to balance robust jacketing and high flexibility without compromising demands for high data rates. Lapp’s ETHERLINE Cat.7 Series of cabling, for example, is ideal for EtherCAT and EtherNet/IP applications that require data rates up to 10 Gbit/s, such as wiring machines and control cabinets. The cable’s robust PUR outer jacket is highly resistant to mineral oils and abrasion, and its double-shielding ensures transmission reliability in factories that have a lot of electrical noise. Because of its small cable diameter and bend radius, which is four times the outer diameter in a fixed installation, this cable lends itself to industrial environments that have limited space.
To learn more, contact Lapp Group.