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Anti-capillary cables can offer a simple solution in critical application areas

Venugopal Pillai ,  Sunday, June 30, 2013, 17:51 Hrs  [IST]

Heinz Oesch— Heinz Oesch, Market Unit Manager — Automotive, HUBER+SUNHER AG

The global Swiss company HUBER+SUHNER develops and manufactures components and system solutions for electrical and optical transportation of data and energy. HUBER+SUHNER recently introduced a silicone-free RADOX® anti-capillary cable to meet the demand for barrier sealed copper cables in the automotive market. In this interaction, Heinz Oesch tells Venugopal Pillai more about this revolutionary innovation and explains how silicone-free anti-capillary cables can obviate the need for expensive sealed connectors or crimps, thereby bringing about greater cost efficiency.

Please explain in simple terms how capillarity can interfere with automotive cabling.
Automotives are constantly exposed to all kinds of liquids like water, washing fluids, oils, gasoline, etc. Not only do these affect the cable insulation but the copper conductor when not sealed can also soak liquids due to capillary effects. Most cable assemblies do not have proper sealing, which is sometimes very expensive to realize. Anti-capillary wires already include a sealing, which prevents any liquid to travel inside the conductor and destroy any electronic devices.

What is the key advantage in using the new silicone-free anti capillary cable by HUBER+SUHNER?
Since it is silicone free, it does not form undesirable foam when it comes into contact with transmission fluid.

Please discuss in general terms how cable technology has evolved in recent years with respect to resisting capillarity.

The main focus was to develop conductors that already contain a filler to fill any voids. This was a challenging development. It is essential to guarantee that the filler material is introduced in the conductor on the whole length. Also the interaction between the filler material and the insulation material had to be adjusted in the right manner.

Can we presume that anti capillary cables existed but this is the first instance of the silicon-free version of such cables?
Silicone filled anti-capillary wires existed and were used by HUBER+SUHNER. A lot of customers have been asking for silicone free solutions, which is when HUBER+SUHNER decided to start R&D work.

Tell us more about the filling compound and the RADOX® insulation used in these cables.
The grease-like filling material is a compound developed by HUBER+SUHNER that is produced in the company's own compounding facility in Switzerland. The compound can also withstand the electron-beam cross-linking process and does not negatively interact with the RADOX® insulation material.

Can you elaborate on the plans of HUBER+SUNHER in making silicone-free anti capillary cable of cores larger than the current 1.5 sqmm?
HUBER+SUHNER is developing solutions for sections up to 10 sqmm using the same concept as for small sections. It is a scale-up exercise since larger machines need to be used.

Which industries, apart from automotive, could benefit from the larger core cables that HUBER+SUNHER intends to produce in the near future?
Industrial markets, for instance application in all kinds of engines, and the railway industry (especially doors) are some key application areas. Wherever humidity and any kind of liquids can endanger the function of electric devices, anti-capillary cables could help and even reduce costs towards expensive sealing methods like special connectors, separate sealing processes, etc.

By their design, will silicone-free anti capillary cables always be single-core, or is it possible for them to be multi-core or even stranded?
Multicore cables could already be offered when only used for water tightness. In oil applications there is currently no solution available but if the market has a huge demand for it, HUBER+SUHNER will dig deeper into it!

Given that India is becoming a major automobile hub, do you see India as a market for the new cables?
Yes. Besides, in India, automotives are exposed to harsh environment and yet quality functioning of the vehicle is expected. Anti-capillary cables offer a simple solution in critical application areas because no expensive sealed connectors or crimps need to be used. Standard crimp connectors with the anti-capillary cable can make a perfect match without investing more into sealing components or processes.
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