Underwater cables used in vision systems, sonar and tracking, power and control, sewer pipes and wells, geophysical applications are subject to a variety of environmental influences that can cause damage and failure.
Cables operating in these harsh environments should be able to resist cuts and abrasion, flames, oils, chemicals and UV rays, as well as weld flash and welding slag. In addition, they should be able to function under extreme temperatures and with tight bending radii. Problems associated with these outside influences can be reduced or eliminated with jacket, insulation, and fluid blocking materials and other designs.
When evaluating underwater cable systems, consider these critical-to-quality factors:
- Application. Underwater vision systems may require a fundamentally different type of cable than underwater lighting or monitoring and research applications.
- Compliance. Ratings, agency listings, government certifications and environmental standards: UL, ANSI, CSA, CE, IEEE, ABS, RoHS2, REACH, and 1,000 hour weatherometer requirement.
- Features. Are the cables going to be used for signal, control, instrumentation or power, or more than one of these functions?
- Water type. Different options exist for salt, fresh, brackish, chemical-treated, waste, and potable water. For example, cable in contact with potable water may need to be made of FDA-approved, food-grade materials.
- Cable depth. Cable systems at greater depths require heavy-duty materials and pressure resistance.
- Flex. Cold bend, torsional, rolling, variable, bend, and continuous flex options exist for cables whose applications require regular motion.
- Environment. Knowing whether a cable must function in an industrial pipe, ocean, or rocky riverbed determines many design factors.
- Temperatures. From Arctic to high rating, cable systems are designed for specific temperatures ranges.
- Buoyancy. Special considerations must be taken when a cable is required to have a negative, neutral, or positive buoyancy.
Information provided by Northwire.