Over the last quarter century, braided cables have come into the fold across a number of industries in a major way. From the casual at-home DIY electronics “tinkerer” to multi-billion dollar facilities, braided cables have become a go-to cable option. This, of course, begs the simple question — why?
The Evolution of Cables
In order to understand braided cables & their uptick in usage, it is important to look back on cables in general. By most accounts, the earliest cable usage (that is, in terms of something that could be called a cable) goes back to the mid-19th century with the advent of the telegraph. Over the decades, new innovations such as the introduction of copper for conductivity, insulated cables, and the rise of fiber optics all changed the way cables were seen.
Bucking The System
Even though these innovations were massive in terms of their impact, there were still scores of individuals trying to find ways to streamline & optimize their functionality. Think of it as innovations within innovations. Braided cables came out of this particular mindset. However, almost as soon as braided cables made their way onto the scene, naysayers & critics were quick to pounce.
The earliest & still most virulent criticism about braided cables is that they are often at a higher expense than traditional cables. They were seen as a marketing gimmick for the sole purpose of charging more. But over the years, not only have braided cables proved their worth in a litany of industries, they’ve done so with documented empirical data.
What Makes Braided Cables A Go-To Option
Braided cables are starting to find themselves in all manner of applications, the likes of which are growing everyday. As such, rather than specify uses, it is best to understand that characteristics that are of particular interest to most industry insiders:
Lower Cost — High on critics’ lists of braided cables is the cost. Yes, in most cases, the upfront cost of braided cables is higher than a traditional option. However, because repairs/replacements over time are less, the initial investment pays for itself over time.
Tensile Strength — The strength showcased by the braided design meant that they could stand up to the inherent stresses found in certain industrial/mechanical situations.
Less Fraying — The braided design/orientation allowed for more pull forces to be spread across a wider surface area, thereby making fraying at critical ends less likely.
Less Tangling — Since braiding provides an already set ‘twist’ in the build, the likelihood of cables/wires to be physically out of place is much lower.
EMI Protection & Reduction — Interference from a number of sources can complicate efficiency. The advancement of technology in the earliest cables was specifically in shielding. Braided cables have been shown to be effective against EMI in both directions.
Aesthetics — While not a performance issue per sé, braided cables are aesthetically pleasing & are an amazing organization solution. They look good and can be customized to fit a certain visual criteria.
Protect Against Moisture — The wicking & moisture migration abilities of braided cables makes them an ideal choice for environments dealing with high humidity or other high moisture sources.
General Flexibility in Tight Spaces — Some industries use machinery that is fairly compact or devoid of extra space. Braided cables allow for tight fits around components that are irregular in shape or large & cumbersome given the limit of space.
Heat Resistance — The construction of traditional cables is such that their jacketing & insulation, while effective in terms of protection, can sometimes have a hard time with excess heat. Dissipation of heat is critical to avoid failure during operation, which is why braided cables are often chosen for environments in which excess heat is generated or present.
The Right Company
Are the braided cables the right call for your application? The best way to find out is to work with a trusted cable manufacturer/supplier. LoDan Electronics, Inc. in Chicago has been a leader in interconnect solutions since 1967. Let their experience guide you to find the best cable solution for your needs.