Words matter. Details matter.
Out of the gate, high flex cables are introduced with a number of flex cycles to justify their label. Common wisdom dictates that the bigger the number is, the safer you are. Big is good. Vast is better. This number should allow you to gauge how suitable a cable or assembly is in your application. It makes comparisons possible and it allows you to ensure that your machine vision application, safely mounted on a dynamic platform, will have reliable performance over the desired lifetime.
Let us scratch at the surface a little…
There is a world of detail that challenges the above. Despite endeavours to get testing for the property of flex life standardised, most products are tested according to their manufacturers’ respective standards. These rarely, if ever, fully align. Easily identifiable variables such as bending radius, acceleration and throw (distance) impact the results. Less obvious variables are nuances of the test set-up, like smoothness and alignment of the rollers, clamping fixtures and / or influence of multiple cables under test. These also influences the results. These are important details.
There are also various types of high flex test. The flex life properties can be tested in the form of S-bend (one of our favourites), C-track Supported (in a cable chain), C-track Unsupported as well as the more simple “tic-toc” test. How the results of these tests relate to your application maps to the performance you can expect in your system is also not always self-evident. More annoyingly, results from one test cannot be reliably transposed to an expected result in another.
Torsional Flex Life should also be considered separately.
The final critical inconsistency in the market is the pass criteria of the test, with options being
open circuit of the conductors, an increase in their resistance (showing fraying) or errors in
the transmitted signal. Open circuit is the easiest to test and certainly valid as a fail condition, from a cable manufacturers point of view. If the aspiration is reliable operation of a vision system, transmission errors will be encountered before the conductors fully break. How much earlier is also not a constant.
A good product is one that meets and exceeds all of your requirements. To ensure this outcome, we focus on the outcome you require, and understand and manage many of the details for you to ensure it is successful. Clear communication, with details, allow for a better alignment of possible solutions with your stated requirements. Our portfolio of graded high flex and robotic products ensure customers’ technical and commercial needs are met. At Alysium, our purpose is to exceed your expectations.