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Harnessed cables, high-tech product

11 Jan 2022
Fabio Silvestrini

Until recently, purchasing drives, motors, and cables from different suppliers was routine. Drive technology simplified the process of choosing the cables, and any installation technician was capable of choosing cables that met a specific application’s needs and installing them without causing any critical issues in the system.

Kollmorgen Pre-wired cables, high-tech productOver the past few years, however, the rise in servo drive applications has generated a market demand for drives that are increasingly smaller in size. This has led to the development of new kinds of technology, such as increasingly rapid transistors that minimize losses—and dimensions—of heat sinks, cable connections that have a smaller diameter, and an increasingly pronounced move toward drive-motor connections that use a single composite cable.

The cable is now an important component of the system. Reduced conductor count is accomplished by combining the feedback digital communication, dc power and the motor power in one cable. It comes with some stricter requirements of the cable. Due to the high frequency transmission rates of digital feedback and the presence of high frequency harmonics of commutation to the motor power, the cable parameters of capacitance, conductor layout, insulation and shielding become critical.

Cables have increasingly become a technological product just like connectors. Choosing suitable cables for a data application requires wide but specific experience of the products to be connected, such as drives and motors. This knowledge may only be available to the company that designed them. The equipment and know-how necessary for producing high-quality connections is not an easy task when you want to maintain the flexibility to find ad-hoc solutions for specific applications that often cannot be encoded in a “standard” product. This includes complying with the requirements of local regulations, which can change rapidly nowadays.

Connection cables are therefore no longer considered to be an accessory but a product in their own right that requires a level of competency similar to that of any other product. Only the company that designed the motors and drives is in a position to make the appropriate choices to offer its customers a high-quality and flexible connection that can be tailored to their application requirements.

About the Author

Fabio Silvestrini

Fabio Silvestrini has been a technology manager at Kollmorgen Italy since 2000. With over 42 years of expertise in the motion control and automation industry, he is often called upon to solve the toughest of application challenges for Kollmorgen customers.

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