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Automation Technologies 5/2014

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Automation Technologies 5/2014

Components and software

Components and software Application-specific cables for worldwide use Dr. Wilhelm Engst Wherever control, energy or motor lines are used in complex systems, such as robot production systems or container ports, reliability is a top priority. But how do you find the right cable for the corresponding application which simultaneously provides maximum reliability? Cables are often overlooked. They are round, flat or even coiled – and in many cases, no one really pays attention to them. However, if their functionality is restricted, this may cause severe consequences and high costs, for instance in the event of machine downtime. Despite the use of wireless connection technology, cables still represent the most secure signal and power connections for many applications. The range of applications for cables are manifold, stretching from mechanical engineering and industrial automation to crane systems, conveyor technology design, and delicate medical technologies. Cables and lines carry energy and information in analogue or digital form, covering long or short distances, even in adverse environmental conditions. Author: Dr. Wilhelm Engst is the Managing Director and CEO of TKD Kabel GmbH Cables have been systematically grouped together in the category of „passive electromechanical construction elements“ and usually they are designed as classic round or flat cables, which appear to be very similar to each other at first glance. However, looking more closely, you will discover there are considerable differences and a wide range of variants. The spectrum spans energy cables, machine control cables, bus cables, system cables, low-frequency and highfrequency cables, fiber-optic cables and many more. From internal design to outer jacket In many cases, cables represent intensely and vigorously used, system-critical, electrical connection technology elements which are subject to a high level of movement and are responsible for operating complex machinery and systems. Designers and developers must closely assess cables at an early stage to minimize the risk of failure and prevent costly system and machinery downtimes. It is important to ask the right questions in order to obtain the ideal cable solution. In this process, an application profile and specifications that describe the cables for the particular application as precisely as possible are most vital. Parameters to consider include the applicable power capacities, as well as the ambient conditions in which power or data is transferred (e.g. mechanical, thermal and/or chemical loads). Part of the solution kit is formed by cables and lines with the most diverse internal components. They are available in a host of designs and are equipped with various shields, as well as different outer jackets. Suitable for permanent movement For applications with millions of flex movements, we recommend finely to very finely stranded, highly flexible copper conductors in conjunction with a customized polyurethane (PUR) outer jacket. PUR is ideal thanks to its extremely high mechanical strength. The sheath material is most suitable for energy supply chain cables that are permanently subject to movement. PUR is the perfect sheath

Components and software Company name: TKD Kabel GmbH Headquarters: Pliezhausen, Germany Turnover: 1,2 Mrd. EUR (2013) THK Group Employees: app. 4,800 worldwide Products: cables – standard and customized, fully- assembled plug&play cable systems About material for engineering and robotics thanks to its resistance to hydraulic fluids and mineral oils. PUR can be individually adapted with additives, for instance, to achieve high levels of Shore hardness and extreme abrasion resistance. Choosing the matching EMC shielding In the event of strong electromagnetic interference, cables can be protected using individual shielding solutions. The spectrum ranges from braids and sheets to complex, combined solutions that link a variety of different shieldings. With regard to materials, we use classic copper as well as semiconductor materials and special, highly permeable (high degree of magnetization) alloys. Excellent EMC shields involve the art of directly suppressing the development and spread of unwanted signals. The mere length of cables means they are at the risk of electromagnetic interference. Comparatively long cable applications potentially result in a coupling of magnetic and electrical fields which may induce unwanted signals to cables. Customized shield solutions directly target this “antenna effect”. Check relevant cable standards and certificates in advance Certified safety is a further aspect that plays an essential role in choosing the right cables. Cables tested by VDE are very common. A multitude of cable standards and certificates demonstrate how sophisticated this approach is: the list of cable products tested by VDE is very long and extensive. If you are considering exports to North America, the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certificates apply. These represent absolutely mandatory elements for overseas markets. Many North American regulations are derived from the “National Electric Code” (NEC) which contains electrical system standards and The cable and line portfolio with UL/CSA certificates complies with the strict safety and fire protection directives applicable on the North American market focuses on special fire protection. The FDA certificate (Food & Drug Administration) is a further US specification required in the sensitive medical and food industries. This certificate mainly concerns the use of dedicated jacketing materials. Worldwide presence regarding production and cable assembly We provide a large portion of cables required as standard products. Unique applications call for customized, special-purpose solutions. Even delivery can be different: Cables can be packed and delivered in many different ways. We offer coils, drums, rings or barrels, depending on the cable types, the processing and the local conditions. We also offer assemblies that have been universally designed and are suitable for multiple applications. TKD Kabel is among the world‘s largest suppliers of cables, cable accessories and fully-assembled, plug&play cable systems. Target markets include industrial, conveyor technology, as well as the drag chain applications. The company offers a diverse variety of services. TKD can rely on the global expertise and manufacturing depth of its parent company TKH- Group. TKD works particularly closely with its affiliates, TKH Connectivity, providing over seven production and four cable assembly sites around the world. www.tkd-kabel.de AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 5/2014

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