The "smart" cable that cries for help
Dynamic cables are used to provide energy in industrial automation, robotics, mining, etc. This new cable contains variously coloured warning layers in the insulation which inform the customer about abrasion. If a red inner sheath appears, it’s time to change cables to protect production and equipment.
Current designs are without abrasion warning layers, meaning that deterioration and damage can go unnoticed. This simple approach allows the abrasion status to be monitored, so that customers have information about remaining lifetime and can replace dynamic cables before an expensive failure occurs.
Test, then innovate
The NRC undertook a research project for 5-13 meter trailing chains, and did rigorous tests (up to 5 million cycles) in our Motion Application Center. We analyzed all parameters: sheath abrasion, shield break, stranding break, conductor deformation. This overall vision of degradation was the real starting point for warning layers. We then produced the concentric layers in various colors by multilayered extrusion for easy identification (yellow and black, or green and red). Thickness of layers could be varied or fine-tuned according to abrasion properties or customer needs.
Patent pending, a prototype is being studied for industrialization and commercialization. If marketed, this innovation could significantly improve our automation and mining cable offer. It makes our cables more user-friendly and gives customers important advantages, like safety, reliability and the avoidance of costly stoppages. With the ability to detect abrasion and damage before they pose a serious threat, customers would save time and money. Not only have we proven that we are automation innovators, Nexans also stands to gain an important advantage over the competition.
“As with the human body, a skin wound calls for fast action.”