The Results are in: Rolling Bend Flex Test

November 16, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Data cabling can be subjected to extreme conditions it wasn’t meant to withstand when installed in industrial environments or robotic control systems. These applications require a more rugged cabling solution, which is why we developed our high-flex industrial Ethernet cable assemblies. These durable cables are designed to take a beating and endure harsh conditions without damage that, in other cables, could negatively affect performance. To see just how tough our continuous flex Ethernet cable assemblies are, we decided to put them through some vigorous testing.

 

There are various methods used in continuous motion flex testing. We chose the rolling bend method. The rolling bend trial simulates real world bending and reaching conditions which is critical to getting a true result for cable performance. We tested an unsupported cable span at the point of bend/flex motion to measure the destructive flex forces involved in a continuous motion application. By attaching the cable to a rolling bend test fixture, we were able to perform flex cycling for a specific amount of time. We then re-tested the cable to measure electrical performance. Those results were compared to the original test and a physical inspection was done to find any damage to the cable.

 

What we found was that our high-flex industrial Ethernet cable assemblies were more than able to withstand the rigors of real world use and extreme conditions. All of the tested cables surpassed performance requirements and flex testing had no significant effect on the cable’s mechanical or electrical performance. To see our full report detailing the method we used to test our cables and the test results, click here.

 

Wired and Wireless Networks for the Energy Industry

September 14, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

The energy industry is getting a lot of attention these days with more people talking about how we can better harness and use energy. Here, we’ll look at the energy industry and how all sectors, including oil, gas and renewable sources, are using wired and wireless networks to connect their operations.

 

Oil and Gas

 

Offshore oil platforms are exposed to water, salt, vibration and extreme temperatures. Although in many cases the communications equipment used on these rigs are housed in protective enclosures some equipment must be located in exposed areas where they are subject to environmental extremes. This includes IP cameras used for surveillance of the platform, plus the cabling and converters that link back to the central control room on the rig. Wireless sensors and controllers are also located throughout the platform and are linked by outdoor antennas, amplifiers and access points used to operate the rig.

 

In petroleum refineries, wired and wireless sensors are used to monitor and control process applications and provide real-time data that can warn of system issues. Many valves and controllers are linked to a serial or IP network, as well as security and surveillance equipment that are critical to operations.

 

Natural gas pipelines depend on communications networks to monitor the safety and efficiency of the pipeline, which can span hundreds of miles over harsh terrain and in remote areas. These networks allow for real-time data to be sent to the control room that can detect leaks and issues with pressure and temperature. IP based surveillance systems along the pipeline also require network connectivity to provide added protection.

 

Renewable Energy

 

Solar energy networks use wired and wireless connectivity for long distance control and monitoring of solar panel arrays. For example, serial data cables connect to the power meters on the panel, theses power meters are then connected to the Ethernet network via a device server and antennas wirelessly connect the power meters back to the control center for monitoring and control.

 

Hydroelectric power has modernized operations by implementing automated systems in hydroelectric plants. Many of these systems use Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) to control valves, motor starters, sensors and flood gate control systems that are critical to operations. Other systems use wireless networks to monitor and control the plant. Surveillance and security systems are also important in these plants to not only monitor for intruders, but also to visually analyze the dam and plant and watch for structural breakdown.

 

Monitoring wind turbines also requires wired and wireless networks. An industrial Ethernet switch allows signals to be sent to the turbine that change its speed and angle. Fiber optic cables connect the control center to multiple turbines over long distances for complete control of the wind farm and antennas are used to connect the local control center to a main control network.  

 

For more details on how wired and wireless technology is powering the energy industry, and how L-com’s products are being used, download our energy industry overview.

 

Engineers’ Choice

June 15, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Our engineers are the hub of innovative ideas that drive our company and we depend on them to have their fingers on the pulse of the industry. So we tapped into our engineering resources to ask what technology we should be blogging about this week. The technology of choice: M12 cables. Here is an inside look at M12 cables, what they are, what they’re good for and why our engineer’s chose them.

 

RJ45 plug connectors are the most widely used connection technology for Ethernet systems, but for Ethernet networks deployed in harsh outdoor or industrial environments, M12 plug connectors are often better suited for many applications. Here are some of the reasons why we think M12 connectors are an attractive option.

 

IP67 or IP68-rated – An IP67 rating means the cable is completely protected from dust and temporary immersion between 12 cm and 1m. A rating of IP68 means the cable is totally protected from dust and long periods of immersion under pressure. Both of these ratings are crucial for cables used in harsh industrial environments.

 

Compact Design – Even though M12 connectors are made to withstand rugged conditions, they still maintain a compact design which is perfect for saving space in often crowded enclosures and cabinets.

 

Reliable Connection – Despite their small size, M12 connectors are very sturdy and deliver a reliable connection even when exposed to shock or vibration.

 

Two Pin Configurations – M12 Ethernet connectors are offered in both 4-pin and 8-pin configurations. Four-pin M12 connectors with D-coding are perfectly suited for fast Ethernet transmission. Eight-pin M12 connectors are usually A-coded and can deliver higher transmission rates such as Gigabit Ethernet. L-com also offers 8-pin, X-coded M12 cables that support Category 6a applications and are rated for 10Gbps speeds.

 

POE – M12 cables and connectors can be used for Power over Ethernet applications. The four-pin connectors can be used for type-1 transmission where supply, voltage and data are transmitted together. Eight-pin configurations can deliver type-2 power with the two spare wire pairs being used to transmit the supply voltage separately.

 

Our complete line of M12 Ethernet cables include X-code, A-code and D-code versions that are IP67/68/69K-rated, high-flex, shielded and resistant to oil, weld splatter, and damaging UV rays.

 

Check out our complete selection of M12 cable assemblies.

 

5 Things You Need to Know About Shielded Ethernet Cables

August 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

Shielded Ethernet cables are widely used, so you may know what they are. You may even be familiar with some of the advantages and disadvantages of using them. But if you want to dig a little deeper into the world of shielded Ethernet cables, here are 5 things you need to know.

 

1. A single-shielded Ethernet cable has the lightest available shield but still weighs 12% more on average than an unshielded cable. A double-shielded Ethernet cable weighs as much as 30% more than the unshielded version. This additional weight may not be a big deal if you are only running a few shorter cables, but if your network is using dozens or hundreds of shielded cables, the combined weight could be enough to damage a rack, cable ladder or other cable management infrastructure. 

 

2. Double-shielded cables  have both a foil and braid shield and can better protect data from EMI/RFI and alien crosstalk (AXT). This protection results in higher transmission speeds and fewer data transmission errors.

 

 

3. High-flex industrial cables are shielded and built for continuous or high-flex applications, and also employ special jacket materials to solve common industrial Ethernet problems. They are designed for environments where ordinary patch cables fail. These cables will not breakdown when exposed to oil based lubricants, making them ideal for robotic control systems on the factory floor.

 

4. Shielded IP67-rated and IP68-rated Ethernet cables use a hood around the male connector that can screw onto the barrel of a female jack for protection against moisture and dust. Shielding the cables and connectors ensures better performance and higher data transmission rates.  IP67 and IP68-rated cables are also protected from liquid immersion, giving them another layer of protection.

 

5. Shielded Ethernet cables provide maximum performance even in high EMI/RFI environments.   Category 6 shielded cables are designed to handle today's hi-speed Gigabit Ethernet applications. Category 6a cable assemblies offer true 10 Gigabit Ethernet speeds at frequencies up to 500 MHz, making them ideal for high speed computing applications often found in data centers. Both Cat6 and Cat6a shielded cables are designed to outperform with super speeds and shielding protecting your data from interference.

 

Protecting Your Investment- Weatherproof NEMA Enclosures

March 17, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

Spring is right around the corner and as the saying goes, April showers will bring May flowers. With the change in weather, now might be a perfect time to ensure that your wired and wireless communications equipment can stand up to the elements.

 

Ethernet networks are serious investments made-up of expensive components including switches, routers, antennas, and access points. Network operation is dependent upon all of these parts being fully functional in every environment.

 

When located outside or in an industrial setting, such as a factory or processing plant, these devices become vulnerable to damage from the elements, chemicals and physical contact.

 

A weatherproof NEMA enclosure is one of the best ways to safe-guard your valuable equipment. They protect against environmental hazards such as water, dust, oil, and corrosive chemicals like gasoline. Equipment enclosures also protect your critical equipment from theft and damage.

 

NEMA enclosures are ideal for a variety of situations and applications including:

 

·       Wireless network equipment installations

·       Wired network equipment installations

·       Extreme hot and cold environments

·       Solar powered applications

·       Corrosive environments

·       Sub-zero installations

 

NEMA-rated weatherproof enclosures can be made of steel, ABS plastic or reinforced fiberglass and they feature a wide range of options including heating, cooling, AC or DC power, DIN rail mounting and Power over Ethernet (PoE) interfaces.

 

When designing your network, make sure you consider the environment your equipment will be located in. A weatherproof NEMA enclosure might just be the insurance you need.

 

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