Applications in process control systems & automation can fuel the global control cable market over the forecast period (2016 to 2024). The U.S. market is poised to register the highest growth rate over the next couple of years. Control cable is essentially a multicore cable equipped with GSWB (galvanized steel wire braid) and copper conductors. These two components offer mechanical protection. The copper conductors are contained within the galvanized steel braid. Control cables come with PVC insulation so that they are protected from extreme climatic conditions and from harsh impacts.
Unlike power cables that transmit low as well as high energy, control cables distribute signals or data having low voltage. They are twisted in pairs and possess balanced shields that aim at minimizing interference. Owing to their high resistance to interference, control cables are ideal for applications that need low voltage signals. With specifications in black, these cables are enclosed within a white external jacket offering a clear view. Control cables are used extensively in areas, such as transport, rail, and building & construction. They are generally used as interconnections between static and mobile equipment.
The worldwide control cable market is segmented on the basis of the following parameters: products, applications, energy chains, and geographies. Product wise, the industry is trifurcated into shielded flex/SY, screened flexible/CY, and unshielded/unscreened/YY cables. Besides offering high mechanical protection, SY control cables rank high on reliability. They offer superior electrical performance. Furthermore, they are very sturdy and durable because of the galvanized steel wire braid that surrounds them. Besides being used for air conditioning installations, these cables are used in heavy duty applications namely, industrial & construction machinery, and plant engineering. These are used widely in fixed installations and in applications that involve high mechanical stress. SY control cables exhibit high efficiency in humid and dry climatic conditions; which is why they are used for outdoor applications.
Screened flexible cables (CY) are best suited for transmission applications free of interference. These are applied mainly in space saving installations. They shield the outer layers from the harmful effects of electromagnetic influences and mechanical stress. These cables find use in control equipment for data processing systems, office machines, and assembly lines. Its other applications are servo drives, transport systems, and EMI (electromagnetic interference) critical environment. YY cables are quite versatile and are employed in applications that face low mechanical stress. They are used in both outdoor and indoor applications. However, when it comes to outdoor applications, the conditions should be protected and dry. Other key applications are air conditioning systems, machine tool manufacturing, conveyor systems, and production lines.
Based on applications, the global market is categorized into road transport, motor sport, construction plant, marine, bulk handling equipment, and agriculture. Surging demand from these areas is projected to drive the control cable industry considerably during the forecast period. In terms of energy chain, the market is divided into TPE (thermoplastic elastomers), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and PUR (polyurethane). TPE, also known as Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR), is an amalgam of rubber and plastic. Being a highly durable compound, it can withstand extreme temperatures ranging from minus 50 degrees Celsius to 105 degrees Celsius. Also, it possesses excellent fire resistance properties, which is why TPE is often used as a jacket or an insulation material.
PVC, a thermoplastic resin is mainly used in the outer coverings of cables. It displays excellent resistance to degradation and oxidation. Polyurethane (PUR) has a minimum bending radius that is five to thirteen times the diameter of the cable. Due to its poor electrical properties, PUR is mostly used in making cable jackets. Furthermore, it is UV resistant and highly durable. It is often utilized in retractile cords as a jacketing material because of its high flexibility. PUR can withstand temperatures ranging from minus fifty five degrees Celsius to eighty degrees Celsius. The key end users of PUR cables are oil & gas, aerospace, communications, and military.
The various regional segments in the global control cable market are Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, and the Middle East & Africa. Growing consumption of control cables products in developing economies may propel the Asia Pacific market from 2016 to 2024. High concentration of specialized cable manufacturers makes India one of the leading markets in the region. These manufacturers give immense importance to the ‘design’ aspect. Ongoing industry trends suggest that continuous innovation coupled with technological advances can augment the Asia Pacific control cable market in the forthcoming years.
Characterized by stiff competition, the global control cable market has the following prominent industry participants: Dongguan Heyi Electronics, Thermo Cables, Nexans, Orient Cables, General Cable Technologies Corporation, and Techno Flex Cables among many others. A leading company in the global market for cables, Nexans offers a wide range of cables & cabling systems. The company has a strong presence in the building & infrastructure industry in addition to the LAN (Local Area Network) markets. Nexans caters to a number of industry segments including aeronautics, automation, shipbuilding, electronics, automotives, and material handling. Additionally, this company operates on the principle of ‘sustainable development’ and employs industrial processes that limit adverse environmental effects.
A leading Germany based cable manufacturer has developed a special type of control cable for paint robots. This cable can withstand the aggressive effects of solvents, lubricants, and chemicals that are commonly used in robotic painting applications. The manufacturer of this product has highlighted the unique features of this special cable. First, it can be used in drag chain applications because of its sturdiness. Secondly, it can withstand volatile environmental conditions related to robotic painting applications. It is also a flame retardant and is self extinguishing. This product has passed the stringent flame test FT4 for the North America market.
Panduit, a U.S. based physical infrastructure equipment manufacturer, deploys control panels for office networks, factory floors, machines & processes. The company offers a comprehensive system for protecting, terminating, routing, and identifying cabling and wiring in control panels. Additionally, the company focuses on aspects, such as safety, space optimization, and noise mitigation.
Research Support Specialist, USA