Flat cables are extensively used across industries today. In many areas they are preferred over round cables because of their particular characteristics. Actually, both type of cables have their own pros and cons. Hence, you selection will depend on your particular requirements, such as the task at hand and the installation environment.
Within flat cables a popular category is the submersible flat cable. As the name suggests, submersible flat cables were designed for underwater work or installations where the cables will be exposed to heavy moisture. This makes them better able to resist a range of environments, including underwater work or outdoor conditions.
Flat cables are ideal for high electronic functions and are often found in military, aerospace, high-end computing, motion control devices and robotics. Like all cables its anatomy is pretty simple. They carry insulated wires which are surrounded by layers of a ‘filler’ material to cushion the wires against frictional heating. Outside this is another layer of covering that protects the wires against environmental factors.
As mentioned above, submersible flat wires are designed to work in wet conditions. Since electricity and moisture can never mix, the wires are priceless in such conditions. Let us compare flat wires with round cables.
Against round cables:
Most cables you will find around you are actually round. In its anatomy it’s very similar to flat cables, but the wires here form a core, jumbled together. This is then surrounded by fillers and an outer layer. But despite the insulators in the cable, its core of wires make it susceptible to overheating. Then there is electrical impedance alteration. This occurs when the conductors move against each other in the cable.
The flat cable’s internal anatomy gives it an edge over the round cable. The shape of the cable means that the wires run parallel to each other. Additionally, the wires are also fairly tightly packed, removing any chance of an independent movement. This means that there is rarely any case of frictional heating. Unlike round cables, the conductors in a flat cable also have the same electrical strength, reducing chances of signal skewing. The surface to volume ratio is also much higher, minimizing the dangers of overheating even further.
The flat form makes the cables thinner and gives them better flexibility. It means that the cables can be packed easily and are more malleable during installation. Additionally, flat cables are also better carriers for signals. This is why flat cables are increasingly preferred in more intensive installations, such as high computing.
Submersible Flat Cables:
We live in an electronic world. We are all connected by millions of cables that join our laptops, TVs and heavy machinery. Even as we become wireless, these miles of unseen cables remain our hidden soldiers, the connecting ropes of our massive electronic space. This also means that cables must run across all kind of environments, from wet and humid outdoors to often underwater installations.
Since electricity and water cannot mix without lethal consequences, the answer obviously lied in waterproofing the cables. Submersible or waterproof cables have existed for sometime now. They are essential features in some electronic equipments like a water cooler. However, as machinery became more complicated, we needed cables with more ammo, able to withstand high signal strength without overheating. Submersible flat cables gave us that solution.
Submersible cables are not just waterproof, they must be able to withstand immersion in water for a long time. This means excellent insulation. The cables usually have a plastic and rubber compound coating, which gives them maximum resistance to moisture. This includes resistance to oils and grease as well. A common application for these cables are with submersible pumps. Other applications include:
- Deep boring wells
- Water supply plants
- Underground mining
- Sewage treatment plants
Selecting the right submersible flat cable
Although there are many submersible flat cable manufacturers in the market today, the selection cannot be made blindly because a poor quality cable can have catastrophic impact. It can also effect the working of the electronic equipment. The main three criteria here are:
- The strength of the conductor
- PVC insulation and
- PVC sheath
In addition, check if the manufacturer complies with all the required ISO standards. This will ensure that there is at least a minimum standard applied.