This section provides an overview for robotics cables as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 13 robotics cable manufacturers and their company rankings. Here are the top-ranked robotics cable companies as of December, 2023: 1.Solers-PI, 2.ConCab GbmH, 3.Oki Electric Cable Co.,Ltd..
Robot cables are used to transmit power and signals to robot arms and industrial robots.
Compared to general-purpose cables, they are characterized by extremely high durability against repeated bending and twisting. A variety of product cables are available on the market, including those that can handle high currents, those with small diameters, and those that bundle power and signal cables into a single cable.
Figure 1. Uses of robot cables
Robot cables are used in the part connecting the robot controller to the robot arm (manipulator part) and inside the robot arm. Robot arms are used in a wide range of industries, including automobiles, precision instruments, home appliances, and machine parts. When selecting a product, it is necessary to analyze the degree and number of repetitive bending and twisting that will occur based on the operation of the robot to be used, and purchase a product that satisfies these requirements.
In addition, specifications such as size (diameter and length), current and voltage, signal transmission speed, and noise performance must also be considered.
Figure 2. Structure of robot cable
Robot cables consist of multiple bundles of conductors covered with an insulating film, which are surrounded by shielding tape and an outer film.
The components of a 4-conductor robot cable serve the following functions:
The robot cable is connected to the robot controller at one end and to the operating part of the robot at the other end. The robot is operated by transmitting signals and current from the robot controller to the robot.
Since the robot arm frequently bends as it moves, fatigue strength and abrasion resistance are highly demanded. Durable materials (such as PVC) are used to increase fatigue strength and specially treated vinyl or fluororesin coatings are used to increase abrasion resistance.
Robot cable standards vary from country to country, and robot cable manufacturers adhere to standards specific to each country.
The following are examples of standards for robot cables in different countries.
PSE is a standard that conforms to the Electrical Appliance and Material Safety Law (PSE) and JIS/JCS standards, which specify the insulation and flame resistance of electric cables, etc. JIS/JCS standards aim to standardize cable products.
The China Compulsory Certification (CCC) standard is a certification standard for safety, EMC, and environmental protection for products sold in China. This CCC is mandatory in order to sell products in China.
The CE marking is a standard that, once obtained, allows the product to be sold in a total of 31 countries (27 EU member countries and 4 EFTA member countries).
The TÜV certification (TÜV) is a product safety standard established by TÜV Rheinland, a private German company.
UL certification is a product safety standard established by the Underwriters Laboratories Inc. Although acquisition itself is optional, most products sold in the U.S. have acquired this certification, so it is virtually mandatory.
CSA certification is a product standard established by The Canadian Standard Association. As in the US, obtaining CSA certification is voluntary, but for operational purposes, products cannot be sold unless they are CSA certified.
Figure 3. Measures to prevent robot cable breakage
When a robot is installed on a robot traveling axis, there may be cases where the cable gets caught in the moving parts of the traveling axis and breaks.
As a countermeasure, a cableveyor is installed to protect robot cables. Cableveyors are like racks that hold robot cables and air hoses. This ensures that the cables and hoses between the moving equipment and the fixed end are supported and guided, preventing them from becoming entangled in moving parts. Cableveyor bends are designed to bend only in one direction at a fixed radius.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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Victor Wire & Cable (VWC) is an American manufacturer of custom cable and wire products that was established in Los Angeles, California in 1984. The company manufactures wire and cable products to various standards and certifications, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved or MIL SPEC compliant types. It primarily produces composite cables, hook-up wires, and coaxial cables with various material combinations (e.g. jackets, fillers, conductors) to optimize for high temperature, low noise, or hybrid applications. VWC mainly serves clients in the telecommunications, medical, aerospace, and industrial processing sectors.
Anixter Inc. is a distributor of electrical, electronic, and networking products. It is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA and was established in 1922. The company distributes a wide range of products, including cables, connectors, switches, and sensors. Its products are used in many industries, including construction, manufacturing, and healthcare. The company also offers technical support, installation, supply chain and e-commerce, finance and, credit and training services to ensure efficient utilization of its products.
Solers-PI, established in New Berlin, WI, in 1987, is a distributor of electronic and electrical components. The company offers a wide range of products, including electronic components, including semiconductors, microcontrollers, sensors, connectors, and passive components. Their products are used in industries such as Electronics and Telecommunications, Automotive, Transportation and aerospace and Defense. The company provides Quality Assurance, Technical Support, national distribution, customized services and customer suppor, as well as project management, design and prototype services.
P&D Cables, based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, is a manufacturer specializing in research, development, production, and sales of specialized cable products for the automated industrial sector. The company offers a diverse range of cables, including high-flexible control and signal cables, robotic cables for drag chain applications, 3-dimensional robotic cables, miniature cables, and specialized high-current cables. These cables can withstand temperatures ranging from -200°C to +1600°C. P&D Cables holds approvals for many national and international standards, such as VDE, UL, CSA, EN, and Lloyd.
Junkosha Inc., established in 1954 and headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan, is a manufacturer specializing in tubes for electrical insulation. In 1961, the company succeeded in developing the world’s first FEP melt-processable fluoropolymer products, which were enthusiastically embraced by the Japanese market with the coming of the computer age. Its product range extends to wire and cable, tube and fittings, sensors, and injection-molded products. Notably, the company offers RF cables, microwave coaxial cable assemblies, tubes for indwelling needles and catheters, heat-resistant flexible hoses for dialysis use, and cables and tubes for medical robots.
SAB Bröckskes, established in 1947 and headquartered in Viersen, Germany, is a global cable manufacturer and supplier of cable assemblies, alongside temperature measurement technology. Its offerings range from specialized cables for industrial applications like automation and robotics to temperature sensors for various sectors. The company provides high-temperature thermocouples and fieldbus solutions for efficient automation, and offers tailored solutions that cater to industries such as automation, robotics, and more. The company holds a comprehensive array of certifications and approvals, including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 50001, UL, and various other industry-specific acknowledgments.
Oki Electric Cable Co.,Ltd. was established in 1936 and is a manufacturer of telecommunications instrument based in Isesaki, Gunma, Japan. The company produces various communications devices such as high speed interface cables, wire harnesses, EDM wire, optical cables, and OKI cables. The products have been applied in various industries such as robotic, automobile, semiconductor manufacture, medical, and financial sectors. The company also involved in real estate business as one of the four major business operations.
Concab is a prestigious provider of technology and connectivity solutions based in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, serving diverse industries worldwide since it was founded in 1969. The company places a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction, offering personalized services and premium products like first-rate cables, wires, and advanced systems. Their inventive approach, passion for excellence, and ISO certifications demonstrate their determination to deliver quality and durability. Sustainability drives their environmentally friendly practices, earning them the prestigious "Award of the President of the BVMW." Operating globally, Concab ensures seamless connectivity and stays at the forefront of technology.
HELUKABEL, founded in 1978, is a reputed international company headquartered in Germany, specializing in manufacturing and supplying premium cables, wires, and cable accessories globally. They offer a diverse range of products, including power cables, data cables, and industrial cables, catering to various sectors. The company holds multiple certifications, including ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, confirming fine and environmentally friendly practices. HELUKABEL's services encompass cable assembly, custom solutions, and technical support, providing tailored solutions to their customers' needs. With decades of expertise and a passion for perfection, HELUKABEL is a proven name in the cable field, serving customers worldwide.
U-TECHNOLOGY Co., Ltd., a company founded in 1992 and headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, is a manufacturer that specializes in optical parts and peripherals. The company offers various products, including prisms, robots, video equipment, and experimental equipment. It also has a technical center in Kawagoe, Japan, for technical activities related to its products and services. Its Soleil Series Synthetic Sunlight LEDs provide the health benefits of sunlight with incredible 97+ CRI lighting, allowing true colors to shine. The company has achieved the STAR certification from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). Moreover, it serves the lighting industry.
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