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Shielded Cables: Understanding its Crucial Significance and Applications

The employment of shielded cables becomes imperative in a setup where there is a high degree of usage of computer technology, electrical equipment, or electronic equipment.

Mr. Arvind Agrawal, Vice President, Havells India

The 21st century is committed to the industrial 4.0 revolution and it includes the integration of industrialization and communication. The role of communication technologies is becoming indispensable that can be either in the form of wired or wireless. The signal around us means it is a wireless signal but too many signals with different frequencies are also present. These free signals tend to disturb or interfere with the wires which carry the signals (interfacing multiple equipment/instruments/devices) and slow down the speed of transmission between two interfaces. The whole interference can be brought down to a minimum only after applying a shield around the interface cable.

By earthing the shield, all the interfering signals can be brought down to the ground level or zero/no interface level. Some power cables are also shielded so that all the electromagnetic radiations it is emitting are not disturbing other equipment of the interface cable.

Importance of Shielded Cables

Shielded cables are electrical cables that contain insulating conductors encased in a standard conductive layer. The shield present is made of different strands of braided copper, a spiral copper tape, or some other conducting polymer. Foil and braided shielded cable are the two types of shielded cable for industrial purposes. Foil shielding incorporates a thin sheet of either copper or aluminum. This “foil” is typically bonded to a polyester carrier to reinforce the strength of the cable. Also referred to as “tape” shielding, this type of shielded cable provides 100% protection for the conductor wire they are wrapped around. The shield ensures that no EMI from the environment can penetrate.

Shielded cables act to reduce the volume and intensity of all kinds of electrical noise and EMI, decreasing the adverse effects and losses on signals and transmission. The importance of shielded cables can’t be stressed enough. The shielding of cables prevents crosstalk between cables near each other. Shielding not only protects cable but also can protect machinery and other people as well. The cables ensure the protection of data being transferred by degradation due to EMI exposure, which is common in industrial settings, data centers, offices, etc. The employment of shielded cables becomes imperative in a setup where there is a high degree of usage of computer technology, electrical equipment, or electronic equipment.

Also Read: Choosing the Right Wire – The First Step Towards Minimizing Electric Fire Risk.

One important point to keep in consideration is that shielded cables are usually thicker and more rigid than unshielded cables. They also require greater care while using them for various industrial applications.

Advantages of using shielded cable for industrial application

Within an industrial setting, shielded cables ensure that noise from EMI does not disrupt the operation of other equipment. For instance, the factory floor has a typically electrically noisy environment. EMI is usually generated by an external source that affects an electrical circuit through electrostatic coupling, conduction, or electromagnetic induction. This disturbance can reduce the performance of a circuit or maybe cease its functioning altogether. Wherever a data path exists, these effects can vary from increased error rates to a complete loss of data. Both natural and artificial (manmade) sources can generate the variable electrical currents and voltages that cause EMI. It should be underscored that reliable data communication is essential in an industrial system and it can be said that shielded cables are playing a major role in ensuring that the communication is fast and reliable.