Flexible Cable: Free Essential Expert Tips on How to Choose an Appropriate Cable

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Complex structures often present significant cable positioning nightmares. A flexible cable is a perfect solution to such challenges. Regrettably, most of us find it difficult to differentiate between a flexible power cable and an ordinary cable. Most cables are relatively flexible, but it is important to note that not all fairly flexible cables fall under the flex-type cable category. Admittedly, this is quite confusing especially if you are not an expert in electrical cables. So, what is a flexible cable, and when do you need to use it?

Unlike ordinary cables, flexible cables are manufactured using state-of-the-art technology that guarantees high quality performance even under the worst circumstances. Ideally, you should use a flexible cable wire in applications that call for extreme flexing capabilities and a wide range of motion. What are some of these applications and can you use any flexible cable? It is difficult to find answers to such questions for free. Fortunately, by the time you finish going through this post, you will be able to answer all these questions expertly.  We all desire to be experts in certain things. You can start your journey towards being a flexible cable expert just by reading and grasping these free expert tips.

1.What Is Flexible Cable?

Flexible cable is a term that is used in reference to an electrical cable that is designed to provide superfluous flexibility and longevity. Essentially, this type of cable can flex or in simpler terms, stretch and coil as much as you want it without any damage. Consequently, it is used in wiring applications that present difficulties in cable positioning and gesticulation.  What are some of the most common wiring applications that require the use of flexible cables?

Well, it is frequently used in all applications that require constant bending. Such applications include drag chain installations, welding, robotics, data processing appliances, assembly lines and automation networking just to name a few. That being said, you have to be very careful when choosing a flexible cable that suits your specific needs. There are different types of flex cables each designed to be used in specific applications. Moreover, it is important to note cable flexibility may vary even if they are the same type of flex cables.

There are several flexible cable manufacturers each using a different cable manufacturing method. Thus, it is safe to assume that cable flexibility varies from one manufacturer to another. So, what do you do to ensure that you choose a flexible cable whose flexibility meets your desired needs? Idyllically, the best thing you could do is to check the flexible cable specification and ensure that all specifications meet your precise requirements.

2.What Is A Flexible Cable Used For? And Advantage Of Flexible Cable?

Flexible cables are generally used in applications that require constant bending. The main advantage of a flex cable is its ability to withstand the stress associated with constant flexing motions. Nonetheless, you have to constantly remember that just like other electrical cables; a flex cable is not one-fits-all. What do I mean?

Just as you cannot use an ordinary indoor-rated cable outdoors, you can’t use an ordinary flexible cable for your outdoor needs.  You have to pick an outdoor flexible cable. More importantly, you have to think about the environment where you intend to carry out the installation. What environmental hazards are most likely to be encountered?  If it is a rodent infested area, it would be best to use an armoured flexible cable. Conversely, if the area experiences high climatic temperatures, a heat-resistant flexible cable is the most suitable option.

Correspondingly, the flexible cable size is one of the most critical specifications that need to be considered. If you use a small cable for multiple connections, the wire will melt due to excess current flowing through it. Each cable is designed to handle a particular amount of current. For instance, a 16 mm flexible cable can carry up to 109 amperes at an ambient temperature of 350 Celsius. Contrariwise, a 6 mm flexible cable can carry up to 32 amperes. This shows that you shouldn’t focus on the flexible cable price when choosing a cable. Instead, you should focus on the cable specification in relation to your specific needs.

3.Types of Flexible Armoured Cable

Rationally, their certain instances where you can either choose to use an ordinary flex-type cable or a flex armoured cable. In such instances, most people choose to use ordinary flex cable because it is less costly compared to an armoured cable. Then again, there are a number of applications that strictly require the use of an armoured shielded flexible cable. What are some of the most commonly used types of flex-type armoured cables?

Flexible Armoured Cable

Well, the only logical reason as to why you strictly need to use an armoured cable is because the conditions are extremely hostile. For instance, you cannot use an ordinary flexible cable for welding purposes since there is a lot of heat involved. Thus, a flexible welding cable is an excellent example of a flex-type armoured cable. Another situation where you strictly have to use a flex-type armoured cable is your battery. Can you imagine what would happen if acid from the battery comes in contact with an ordinary flexible cable? I think it is safe to say that a battery cable is another commonly used type of flex armoured cable.

4.Why Is It Important To Use A Flexible Armoured Cable?

Can you imagine what happens when you use an ordinary copper flexible cable in a high risk application such as welding? Evidently, the cable will not sustain the adverse conditions associated with that environment. For high-risk applications, it is advisable to use a flexible armoured cable. Why is it important to use this type of cable?

Well, the armouring material is designed to withstand any harsh conditions. Thus, the value of any flex-type armoured cable rests in its ability to resist any potential damage to the inner components of the cable. Here are some reasons why it important to use flex armoured cables;

  • The cable’s armouring shields the electrical power-carrying internal components from extreme temperatures that might impair its functionality.
  • A flexible cable is mostly used in applications that involve lots of mechanical threats. Thus, the armouring is important especially for a flexible industrial cable because it shields the inner components from any form of mechanical damage.
  • In most instances, electrical cables generate a lot of electromagnetic interference. It is important to use an armoured cable because the armouring is an effective shield against electromagnetic interferences discharged by neighbouring cables.

5. How to make a cable more flexible?

There several aspects that influence a cable’s flexibility. Most of us mistakenly assume that the cable’s insulation material is the only thing that determines its flexibility. Obviously, that is not true at all. A cable’s flexibility is largely determined by the type of conductor used. Stranded conductors are more flexible compared to solid conductors. The flexibility of stranded conductors over solid conductors is the main reason why any flexible cable is manufactured using stranded conductors. Are you interested in knowing how to make a cable more flexible?

Well, there are three things that are crucial in making any cable more flexible namely, the type of conductor, the shielding material, and the compounds used in cable construction. To make a cable more flexible, a stranded conductor has to be used and the copper wire diameter should be less than 0.25 mm. Also, flexible compounds should be used in the construction of the cable insulation and jacketing. The process of making a flexible is not as complicated as rocket science. However, attempting to increase a cable’s flexibility is irrational especially because you can easily buy a flexible cable whose flexibility matches your specific needs.


Last Updated on April 12, 2021 by Richard

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About Me

Richard Zi

Hey, I am Richard Zi, General Manager of ZW Cable and expert in cable industry for over 15 years. I would like to share my experience in cable field. ZW Cable is leading Chinese cable manufacturer. We can choose right size cable and solve all your cable problem. If you have any question, please feel free to contact me. I will try my best to give your cable solutions.

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