Control Cable: An Ultimate Guide to It

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Cables are an essential component of any electrical system. Among the different types of cables, the control cable plays an important role in electric power generation and control. Further, it is impossible to run electric machines in the automation and instrumentation sectors without these cables. Today, this post will go through the topic in detail.

Output Control in Strategic Managem...
Output Control in Strategic Management

What are Control Cables?

Control cables mean single-core or multicore cables. They can be designed with or without a protective sheath. And they are intended to operate at the direct current or low-frequency alternating current. And their primary function is to transmit control signals from an external transmitting point to an apparatus to be controlled. Or they transmit signals from said apparatus to said external transmitting point. 

Automated systems and instrumentation sectors demand this kind of cable. For example, you can connect circuit breaker coils, instrument transformers, protection devices, control switches, etc. These high-flex control cables or core flex cables can fit into different installation scenarios. 

The conductor of the control cables is copper, and the insulation and outer sheath comprise Polyvinyl Chloride or Polyurethane. A control cable can have up to 150 cores, and you can identify a control cable core with its color or the number marked on its insulation. In addition, a control cable may have a shield to avoid electromagnetic interference caused by power cables laid nearby.

terminal of control cable and wire duct

Image: terminal of control cable and wire duct

Control Cable Vs. Instrumentation Cable Vs. Signal Cable

Control, instrumentation and signals have nothing to do with power transfer. However, all these have very slight differences among them.

First, a control cable is similar to a signal cable as both carry signals, but control cables shall not include cables for transmitting voice or video signals. It sends digital signals transmitted between said external transmitting point and said apparatus.

On the other hand, a signal cable transmits voice or video signals, digital signals, and data. Signal cables include coaxial cables, fiber optic cables, and twisted pair cables

Sometimes, “control” and “instrumentation” refer to the same cable type. However, the main difference is instrumentation cables must have shielding to prevent crosstalk and Electromagnetic interference.

Control Cable Vs. Power Cable

Both control and power cable are standard cables. However, there are a few differences between them.

  • Power cables mainly transmit electricity, while a control cable acts as a controlling agent in the different applications of automation fields, sending low voltage signals.
  • Control cables help prevent electrical hazards at buildings, construction sites, the railway industry, etc. On the contrary, you can find power cables in electrical energy transmission and distribution areas and enterprises with heavy-duty applications.
  • Power cables help transmit and distribute high-power electrical energy in power systems’ trunk lines. You can find them buried in the ground, and on the contrary, control cables carry low-power electrical energy to machines and equipment. Also, they are either buried or found within an organization.
  • The control cable standard is 9330, while for the power cable, it is GB12706.
  • Power cables have a specific color code system differentiating between high and low-voltage carriers. On the other hand, the control cable insulated core is generally black and white.
  • The number of cores in a power cable is less and generally up to five cores only. On the contrary, as control cables transmit control signals, it has a higher number of cores. 
  • The power cable has a rated voltage of 0.6/1kv, while a control cable has 450/750V.
  • A power cable must have good tensile strength, corrosion-resistant and heat-resistant properties, and compressive strength. However, control cables have shallow requirements.
  •  The outer sheath of a power cable is thick, while that of a control cable is thin.
colorful power cables

Image: colorful power cables

accelerator control cable

Applications of Control Cables

You can use control cables in different automation and instrumentation applications. Here are some industries where you can use control cables:

  • Power distribution sector
  • Electrical systems having multiple functions
  • Automated systems
  • Systems require monitoring, controlling, regulating, and measuring industrial devices and components.
  • Systems with numerous input and output devices.

Types of Control Cables

VDE standards classify control cables into CY, YY, and CY.

  • CY: These cables need protection from electromagnetic interference. Their mechanical properties are not as strong as SY cables. Also, they have tinned copper wire braided to protect against EMI. 
  • SY: These multicore cables are suitable for flexible applications. These cables have a copper conductor and galvanized steel wire braid (GSWB); they are ideal for high mechanical stress control applications. A standard SY cable must have GSBW coverage of 55%. The voltage rating is 300/500V. And insulation comprises PVC and an outer jacket of transparent PVC. As a result, damages are easy to detect.
  • YY: It is a regular unshielded cable that you can use as an interconnecting cable for controlling, measuring, and regulating control equipment for production lines, computer units, and conveyors. Further,  the excellent flexibility makes these cables suitable to link fixed and mobile equipment. Also, you can use these cables in light mechanical stress environments.

Custom Control Cable At Gloom

If you communicate your purpose of control cables, our technical expertise can help you get the perfect control cables. The technical specifications of control cables vary with the application environment. We can offer options:

Jacket and Insulation materials of our control cable

Several thermoplastics and thermoset materials are used for jackets and insulation. The Bloom’s control cables have either a PUR or PVC inner jacket. Control cables do not require very sturdy sheathing; the outer sheath is also of PVC insulation (either gray or transparent). The wires may or may not have a shield. The cable shield is either a foil braid or a wire braid. In wire braids, you can choose from copper or steel braids.

Technical specifications of our control cable

  • Gauge– ranges from 28 AWG to 2 AWG.
  • Voltage specifications- range from 300 volts to 600 volts 
  • Temperature specifications- can withstand extreme temperatures up to 900 degrees Celsius.

Advantages of our control cable

  • Firstly, they are lightweight.
  • Second, these cables are flexible to fit into different construction environments.
  • Third, they are mechanically efficient.
  • Fourth, a control cable is suitable for different sectors
  • Fifth, they have a long-lasting life.
  • Sixth, they can function without interference.
  • Last, they have wear and corrosion resistance.

Conclusion

You must pick control cables based on the flexibility required and the intended use area. Bloom’s technical team can help you select control cable assemblies based on your industrial and commercial needs. We promise to deliver quality products that offer superior performance and functionality.

Get a free Cable Assembly Quote.