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The Quabbin Industrial Ethernet Product Line Now Offers Four Cable Jacket Options

August 2007

Quabbin Wire & Cable Co., Inc.’s DataMax® Extreme product line for harsh environments has been expanded to include four different jacket options. Each material provides different mechanical and electrical properties that may be balanced against the hazards of specific industrial cable applications. For example, the environment in an automotive assembly line will be very different than in a petrochemical refinery, and the optimum cabling design will be different as well.

The jacket options include Industrial-Grade PVC, Polyurethane, and Flame Retardant Thermoplastic Elastomer (FR-TPE) as well as the fourth and newest edition, a Non-Halogen version of Polyurethane required for some specific applications and countries. Each cable jacket design is in-turn either shielded or unshielded, incorporates 2-pair or 4-pair cores, and either stranded 24 AWG or 22 AWG insulated copper for the unshielded versions. This variety of cable constructions allows each installation to cost-effectively survive specific hazards, yet provide reliable high-speed Ethernet transmission.

The cable jackets are pressure-extruded over the 2-pair or 4-pair cable cores. This effectively locks the pairs in place, insuring stable capacitance and 100 Ohm impedance with little return loss, even when the cable is mechanically abused or exposed to flexure. This insures reliable 100Base-T or even 1000Base-T (1 Gigabit/second) Ethernet control signaling with a variety of length and connector configurations.

Pressure extrusion also provides a smooth, round cable jacket with a controlled diameter, allowing over-molding and positive seals to O-rings or gaskets normally used for IP67 rated assemblies. IP67 is the connection standard that assures resistance to both fluid and dust penetration. Either encapsulated RJ45 plugs or round 4-pin or 8-pin industrial connectors may be used.

A cable’s outer jacket is primarily intended to provide mechanical protection during installation and also protection from the operational environment. However, when the jacket material is pressure-extruded it replaces air (an excellent dielectric) inside the cable core. Therefore, the jacket material’s electrical properties are also important, especially for high-speed data cabling. Selecting the “best” cable and jacket for a specific IE installation usually becomes a compromise or trade-off between various properties. This is the reason Quabbin’s DataMax Extreme cables are offered in such a wide variety of design options.

Relative Jacket Performance

The table provides relative comparison information and performance characteristics for the three IE jacketing compounds. You can see why selecting the right IE cable design is a complex problem.

For detailed product specifications, chemical resistance information, cable samples, the names of DataMax Extreme cord assemblers, or other information, e-mail engineering@quabbin.com, or phone Sales Service 800/368-3311.  An overview of some of the vigorous testing that Quabbin’s harsh environment cables survive is highlighted in the Lab section.