Is this just my opinion?
In order to ensure you are investing in a cable that matches the expectations of your control system, we suggest looking for cables that are high quality, high performance. These types of cables have 3 key characteristics:
As I eluded to in Part 1, many environmental factors can affect electrical performance; which is why I feel so strongly about it being critical to pick an environmentally appropriate cable. There are two key areas of performance for that cable you should be concerned about:
Physical toughness is probably the biggest area of difference and gap between a commercial cable and an industrial designed cable. Multiple vendor’s studies have shown that commercial cables are drastically impacted over time with common environmental conditions we find in almost every plant:
The loss of uniformity with the pairs also makes the cable susceptible to EMI noise. As the pairs separate, the pair takes on the characteristics of an antenna, radiating and receiving signals, causing crosstalk between the pairs and reducing the designed noise immunity from the EMI surrounding it in the plant. Again, this can lead to excessive transmission errors.
Prefer statistics? In a documented Rockwell study, the effects of impedance and capacitance unbalanced, coupled with the effects of temperature on a cable, showed a system performance degradation of anywhere from 7-14%.1
Select and specify only Ethernet cables specifically designed for the “Industrial Environment”. I know you never would have purposely chosen a “commercial” ControlNet cable should you have ever had the choice, so why you would for your new Ethernet investment? Yes, rhetorical question!
If you haven’t specified the cable up until this point, now is a good time to keep an eye on those existing cables and make a change. We know you wouldn’t purchase a commercial network switch off the shelf from Staples or the like, so maybe the time is now to stop letting commercial cables get installed for your Ethernet infrastructure?!
In any case, we know you never purposely would, the thought just hasn’t crossed your mind – simply said. So now that you are aware, what are your choices? Many of the most popular manufacturers have industrial specific and appropriate solutions.
Here are a few of our favorite options –
Need more info? No matter what your brand preference, category rating, or shielding needs we are here to help. The Rumsey team would be happy to assist you in selecting something appropriate and something you can feel confident in being a wise investment for your plant.