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    Sensor & Actuator Cables

    Actuator cables are specialised components crucial to the infrastructure of modern industrial automation and control applications. They facilitate the transmission of signals and data across networks and the efficient delivery of power between devices, such as sensors and actuators, necessary for actuator operations. Actuators are devices that convert electrical signals into mechanical motion, often used in various applications such as robotics, automation systems, and machinery. This is where actuator cables come in to play a crucial role in ensuring reliable communication between the control unit and the actuator, enabling precise control and operation.

    What Are Sensor Cables and Actuator Cables Used For?

    Sensor cables and actuator cables serve distinct yet complementary functions in industrial automation and control systems.

    Sensor cables are utilised to connect sensors, like flow sensors, to monitoring or control systems, enabling the transmission of signals such as temperature, pressure, or proximity data. These cables ensure reliable and accurate communication between sensors and the control unit, facilitating real-time monitoring and feedback in various applications, including manufacturing, automotive, and environmental monitoring.

    On the other hand, actuator cables are designed to connect actuators, which are devices responsible for converting electrical signals into mechanical motion, to their respective control systems. Actuator cables enable the transmission of power and control signals necessary for actuator operation, allowing precise control and manipulation of machinery, valves, and other mechanical components in industrial processes.

    At the end of the day, as mentioned, both the actuator and sensor cables are vital for the safe connection and ensuring equipment and machinery work effectively. These cables are often used in cable harnesses or conduits to protect them from the effects of UV, vibration, chemical exposure, abrasion and moisture, prolonging their lifespan and maintaining their performance under challenging conditions.

    Sensor Cable Construction

    Often, sensor cables are used in demanding and harsh industrial environments, therefore, the cables must be robust, tough and flexible. This robust construction of sensor cables is critical to their performance and longevity:

    Materials: The choice of materials for cable construction is dictated by the environment in which the sensor cable will operate. For instance, TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) offers excellent flexibility and durability, making it ideal for dynamic environments where cables may be subject to frequent bending and movement. The cable outer jackets are also available in a range of materials including PVC, PUR, TPE, TPU or halogen-free.

    Protection Ratings: High IP ratings are necessary for sensor cables used in outdoor or wet environments to prevent ingress of moisture and dust that could damage the cable's internal components. Cables can be IP67-rated for protection from water and dust ingress.

    Shielding: This is crucial for preventing electromagnetic interference (EMI) from affecting the data being transmitted through the cables. Effective shielding is essential in environments with high electromagnetic noise, such as near heavy machinery or power lines.

    Types of Sensor Cables

    Different applications require different types of sensor cables, each designed to meet specific environmental and operational demands:

    Sheath Materials: The outer jacket of the cable protects the internal conductors from physical and chemical damage. Materials like PVC are common for general use, but in environments where the cable might be exposed to oils or chemicals, more resistant materials like PUR are used.

    Connector Types: Sensor connectors can be straight or angled plugs or sockets. And this choice of connector is crucial for ensuring reliable connections. Connectors must be robust and provide a secure mechanical fit while being easy to connect and disconnect for maintenance. Popular sensor connector types include M5, M8, M12 and M23 circular connectors, which are chosen based on the size and type of data or power needs of the application. Besides that, connectors have a pole format, with 3P, 4P and 5P being the most commonly utilised.

    Cable Sizes: Sensor actuator cables come in a wide range of sizes to accommodate different requirements. The sizing of these cables is typically indicated by their cross-sectional area (CSA), with a wide range of options available to suit diverse applications.

    Industrial Applications of Actuator Cables

    The development and deployment of high-quality sensor and actuator cables are crucial for enhancing the functionality and reliability of modern industrial systems. By ensuring the continuous and efficient operation of sensors and actuators, these cables lead to the optimisation of production processes, reduce downtime, and maintain high safety standards. Their role in transmitting data and power efficiently and safely cannot be overstated, as they form the backbone of complex automation frameworks that drive today's industries such as manufacturing, automation, and robotics.

    For example, where electric linear actuators find versatile applications in material handling, robotics, food and beverage manufacturing, window automation, agricultural machinery, solar panel operation, cutting equipment, and valve operation across various industries, linear actuator cables can facilitate precise control and movement of machinery, ensuring efficient production processes.

    In industrial environments, actuator cables are vital for the integration and operation of automated machinery.

    These cables are also typically used in conjunction with:

    • Proximity Sensors: These detect the presence or absence of objects and help in tasks such as automated quality control or machine safety systems.
    • Switches and Transducers: These convert physical quantities like pressure or temperature into electrical signals that the control system can use to monitor and adjust the machine operation.

    How to Order Sensor Actuator Cables From RS?

    RS offers a comprehensive selection of high-quality cable assemblies and sensor wires from industry-leading brands like Phoenix Contact, HARTING, Molex, Lumberg Automation, Telemecanique, and RS PRO.

    To order, customers can use RS's user-friendly online platform or place their orders via telephone, email, or fax. RS facilitates a streamlined ordering process with tailored pricing and efficient order management for business accounts.

    For our valued business account customers, shipping is complimentary on orders exceeding $40 (excluding GST), with a $10 fee for smaller orders.

    Private accounts and guest customers enjoy free delivery for orders surpassing $80 (excluding GST), with a $12.95 fee for smaller orders.

    Delivery Information For Australia

    RS provides dependable delivery services across Australia.

    Options include next working day delivery for orders placed before 5 pm AEST for items stocked locally, and same-day delivery within the Sydney Metro area for orders placed before 11:45 am AEST.

    Standard delivery is free on orders above a certain value, with nominal charges for smaller orders. Special delivery conditions apply for larger or hazardous items.

    Orders containing hazardous materials or surpassing standard sizes and weights may incur extended lead times.

    Explore our delivery information page for a detailed overview of all shipping options, including special services like same-day delivery and consolidated shipments.

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