If extreme flexing and tight designs are part of your application, flat cables may be the route you need to go. There are three types of flat cables that are most commonly used. Extruded Flexx-Sil, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and molded flat cables. All three of these types are used in place of round cables for easy cable management, especially in high-flex applications.
Flat cables often have better EMI/RFI suppression than round cables. They also eliminate wire coupling issues. Also, because wires are protected individually and not wrapped many times, they are lighter in weight and offer greater flexibility with very small bend radii. They tend to use up to 50% less space than round cables, so are used when space is at a premium.
Flat cables are best suited to applications that require continuous flexing, tight routing and repetitive motion, such as robots, festoon and automated processing equipment. They are also ideal for unusual system requirements, as they can be easily custom-shaped.
Finally, when applications require different media types—such as data, power, signal, video, air and even liquids—flat cables are often the best option, as they reduce unwieldy and large round cable designs. This in turn reduces the size of the cable track needed.
Common applications include military, aerospace and medical systems.