Cable Carrier Design Considerations

Know Your Cables & Their Specs

Too often, the most commonly selected or used industrial cables are not designed for continuous flexing or bending operation as seen in a cable carrier. They will quickly cork-screw and knot, especially when run within a tight cable carrier bend radius. Also, many standard industrial cables require a bend radius larger than most machinery applications allow. This will undoubtedly reduce cable life. 

A cable specifically designed for continually-flexing tight bending radii must be selected. Some commonly used cables also use a cotton tape between the inner conductors and the outer jacket. Due to the constant bending when operating within a cable carrier system, this cotton tape will often bunch up underneath the jacket and crimp the conductors causing premature cable failure. Cables with a built-in twist will develop a cork-screw effect more easily. Additionally, this inherent twist is further amplified by the constant flexing and relative-movement of the cable operating in a cable carrier until the cable conductors break.

The best choice for a cable to be used in a cable carrier should be PVC/PUR/TPE/TPM jacketed. Cable jackets made of rubber or neoprene are generally not recommended. The latter two materials are too sticky and do not allow the cables to move easily relative to one another and the cable carrier. This will also contribute to the aforementioned cable knotting.

proper unspooling of cables and hosesAn example of corkscrewing cables

Cables that have failed typically show the following symptoms:

  • corkscrewing where cables twist in themselves
  • knotting of conductors underneath the cable jacket
  • cables twist around one another within a cable carrier system
  • cables are sticking out between the cable carrier crossbars and getting caught in the bend radius
  • cables entangled with other cables and crossbars tearing them apart
  • loss of conductivity through the simple breaking of cable conductors