Flat vs. Round Cables
Cicoil high flex flat cables have many advantages over round flex cables. Round cables feature insulated wires in a bundle which is surrounded by several layers of other material. The bundle is usually wrapped in either a textile material or a polymer chosen to minimize frictional heating as the cable moves. A PVC jacket surrounds these layers. In shielded cables, there is an additional set of layers consisting of another low-friction wrap, braided copper, and an overall jacket of PVC or other material selected for abrasion resistance. A problem with this construction is its use of multiple layers of insulation and special low-friction materials necessary to reduce the friction that arises as cables go through numerous cycles of repetitive motion.
Cicoil’s flex cables make more efficient use of insulating material. It needs no low-friction tapes and fillers because conductors don’t move within our patented Flexx-Sil™ rubber material that forms the outer jacket. And when bent in the plane of its thin cross section, Cicoil Flat Cables have inherently more flexibility than round cable. The flat form factor of Cicoil cables also provides better heat dissipation than round cables because there is more surface area for a given volume. The larger surface area lets flat cables carry a higher current level for a given temperature rise and for conductors of a given cross section. Conductors in flat cable also have a fixed geometry that makes for consistent and non-varying electrical qualities. The spacing of conductors in the extruded Flexx-Sil™ rubber never changes as the cable moves. Thus cable impedance, inductance, capacitance, time delay, crosstalk, and attenuation all remain constant. Similarly, the conductors in the cable all have the same physical and electrical length. This, coupled with the fact that the dielectric dimensions stay constant, means that signal skewing and differential time delays between signals in the cable stay at a minimum.
Cicoil flex cables and flat cable assemblies form an inherently high-density interconnect system. Packing density of flat cable is higher than is possible with round cables. The fact that conductors can be visible in the Flexx-Sil™ extrusion simplifies coding, inspection, and tracing circuits for trouble shooting.