Jacketing for Industrial Ethernet
The most critical design for Industrial Ethernet cables is the jacket compound. Common Ethernet cables use PVC or similar compounds as jacket materials. Such compounds work well for office buildings or data centers with clean and stable cable conduit, temperature controlled environments, and electromagnetic noise-free surroundings. The industrial environment has a different scenario – vibration, chemical spills, solvent emergence, EMI, temperature variation, etc. In this uncontrolled environment, a PVC jacket is simply not acceptable. FEP is an option as the jacket material, but due to the raw material cost and stiffness, it has never been seen as a practical solution for Industrial Ethernet products.
As a result, a proprietary TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) was developed at Alpha Wire for the industrial environment. It resists temperature extremes, humidity and moisture, dust and mud, oils and solvents, corrosive chemicals, mechanical vibration, and EMI interference. This TPE compound not only has similar electrical characteristics as PVC, but also has three times the flexibility versus ordinary PVC, which benefits the industry in cold climates. So when thinking about your next Ethernet project, make sure you have a cable that can outlast the harsh industrial environment.