Long travel – how do I find the right cable? – igus Blog

Long travel – how do I find the right cable?

igu-blog-adm | 6. October 2019

Long travels place high demands on the cable used and its durability. What they are, and how we find out whether our cable meets these requirements, is the subject of today’s article. 


Long travel
Long travel

The subject of durability is a subjective concept. Because when exactly do we consider a cable durable? For a user , a cable is durable if their machine runs for a year without failure, for another the durability of a cable is measured by very clear figures.   

The structure of a cable is not insignificantly involved in its service life . Particularly on long travels, the careful selection of the correct cable design is one of the most important criteria.  

With the service life calculator you can calculate the expected service life of chainflex cables specifically for your application.   

Cable structure 

Numerous chapters can be written about the cable structure. On the subject of “long travels”, we would like to focus today on the decision whether it is better to use the cable with or without an inner jacket.  

To make a cable round, the gussets between the cores are filled with fillers before the shield is braided over them or a jacket is extruded over the cores. These fillers, as they are commonly called, are cost-effective and serve as placeholders.   

In high quality cables, durable materials are used, which better fulfil the function of the cable and thus improve  the movement of the cable.  Above a certain quality level, an inner jacket is therefore indispensable for long travels .  

Long travel test

With or without inner jacket – Which is better? 

The inner jacket is extruded with pressure into the stranding and reproduces, so to speak, the negative of the cores. Small guide channels are formed, which guide the cores in a longitudinal direction. Moving cables also cause the cores to move. The cores are guided through these guide channels as if they were on railway tracks .  

Comparison with and without inner jacket

This principle is important both for long travels and for small radii . Combined with high dynamics, the load is quickly too great for cables with fillers and the cores rupture. An inner jacket ensures that the cores do not get tangled up and that no corkscrew can develop. 

Another important function of the inner jacket is that it forms the basis of the shield. It ensures that the shield can rest on it and stays in shape when moving. This results in a reduction of the strain on the shield wires and a longer service life.  High-quality electromagnetic compatibility specifications such as those of the CF27.UL are retained for a very long time.  

How do I find the right cable for high durability on long travels? 

In order to make the right choice of cable, the following points should be considered.  

  • Adapt the design of the cables to the requirements of the application  
  • Use service life calculator and have suitability confirmed 
  • Practical test with first sample pieces in a real environment 

Would you like to see our cables for yourself? Order your cable sample today and get to know the specifications .  Here you can simply enter your recipient address and start the first tests in a few days.  

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Cable Cable guide cables Energy chain


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