Need a super flexible flat cable? Need a 36AWG ribbon cable with 21 conductors all in pink? No problem.
Off the shelf flat cables are often available in limited sizes and flexibility which creates problems for designers who need more robust or flexible flat cables. Off the shelf flat cables are normally made of PVC and the conductor stranding is 7 or 19 strand. For applications requiring high flex cables, resistance to chemicals or flexibility off the shelf cables may fail to meet your expectations. Off the shelf cables do not give options for:
- Flexibility and hi-flex applications
- Odd number of conductors
- Uncommon sizes
- Unusual configurations
- Custom colors
Flexible flat cables are ideal for hand held devices, automation and robotic applications. Engineers and product designers do have options by working with custom wire and cable manufactures to design exactly what they need. Custom wire and cable manufacturers can offer a variety of sizes, configurations and flexible flat cable options. There are two basic types of flat cables:
Ribbon cables - Ribbon cables are multiple conductors connected in a parallel configuration where the conductor spacing is controlled. Silicone ribbon cables are a popular choice for applications where an ultra flexible ribbon cable is needed. Using silicone along with high strand count conductors and/or alloys for added strength and resistance to fatigue for hi flex applications will add to a ribbon cable’s flexibility other flexible material are TPE, Polyurethane, and even PVC (Calmont’s Superflex PVC).
Flat Cables – Flat cables differ from ribbon cables because the conductors are normally extruded separately from the outer jacket. In some cases there is just one extrusion process, so there are exceptions (as pictured on right). Configurations can include twisted pairs, individually shielded conductors, tubing and multiple gauge conductors. Flat cables can have one type of material for insulation with another material for the jacket. Flat cables can also have a flat smooth outer jacket without the conductors being insulated. There are many choices for flat cables, consult a custom cable manufacturer with your design and requirements to get a cable that will perform best for your application.
What makes flat and ribbon cables more flexible is the materials used to construct the cables and the construction in some cases. Using high strand count conductors and flexible insulation are key components. Flat cables can also be manufactured to meet other requirements such as, temperature, high voltage, sterilization, bio-compatibility, low smoke, vibration and others.
If you require an ultra flexible flat cable or ribbon cable and would like to discuss your requirements and options, contact the experts at Calmont.
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