22 Jul 2024


Food-industry cable will survive 30 years in harsh conditions

OKI’s new food-industry cable offers high resistance to cleaning fluids, disinfectants, and the edible oils and fats used in food manufacturing.

The Japanese cable-maker OKI Electric Cable has developed a chemical-resistant cable for the food industry that, it says, has survived accelerated testing equivalent to 30 years of continuous operation with “almost no physical degradation”. The OH cable incorporates a special elastomer with a high resistance to the detergents and disinfectants used in cleaning, as well as the machine oils used in the drive components of food manufacturing equipment. It also resists the oils and fats generated during food processing.

Food manufacturing equipment must meet stringent hygiene standards to ensure safety. Equipment cleaning and disinfection are key to meeting these standards. However, if conventional cables make contact with the hot water, detergents and the disinfectants used to clean food production equipment, they can develop cracks in their jackets because their physical properties such as tensile strength and elongation degrade.

These cracked jackets can lead to concentrations of stress, resulting in cables breaking or insulation performance being degraded by chemicals entering the cable. This, in turn, can result in unexpected equipment stoppages or failures.

The new cable’s jacket is said to retain at least 90% of its physical properties, with a high resistance to cleaning fluids and no signs of degradation, even when subjected to accelerated testing conditions equivalent to 30 years of use.

The special elastomer used in the jacket is a synthetic polymer resin with elastic properties. Its resin composition is varied to suit its application. The elastomer complies with requirements set by the US Food and Drug Administration and the Food Sanitation Act.

OKI has started to sell made-to-order versions of the cables whose conductor sizes, number of cores, and other aspects can be customised to suit particular applications. The company hopes sales of the new cables will be worth at least 50 million Japanese yen ($440,000) by 2023.