Cable Systems Need a Little TLC
Be respectful of bend radius specifications
As mentioned in the previous blog entry, cable bends, especially tight bends, can cause a restriction in the cables ability to allow stresses to equalize forces. It is not uncommon for someone to consider how to route and dress out a cable to reach a point of recognition in order to meet the cable bend radius (and quiet zone) specifications. The temptation is to see these specifications as “soft specs” and make a compromise. All too often this can lead to a premature cable failure. What can seem like a good tradeoff in making the installation cheaper and easier can result in machine downtime from cable failure where the cost of the downtime and replacement cable assemblies far outweighs the added cost to ‘do it right’. If necessary, consider service loops and/or cable supports to dress out the cable on the machine so it meets all installation specifications.
Understand that the cable is only one piece of a complex system
Often overlooked are the roles that connectors and clamps can have on the performance of a cable track system. When preparing the cable for connector termination, will the conductors be all cut to the same length or will the length of each be tailored based on where it will be positioned in the connectors (or worse yet, have no standard work established so different operators are doing termination differently from one another)? Is the cable being clamped in such a way that the round geometry of the cable core is being distorted? The point here being is that when a cable fails, it’s quite common to focus on just the cable and ignore the other aspects of the system. The reality is that all the components in a cable track system must be correctly designed and installed for it to operate reliably for a long time.
So remember, take the necessary steps to ensure your cables maintain longevity and don’t skip so short cuts in order to cut costs.
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