23 Jul 2024


‘Smart’ cables can predict when they are about to fail

Two German companies – the sensor manufacturer Leuze Electronic and the connection specialist Murrelektronik – have joined forces with the French cable-maker Nexans to develop a cable that can sense when it is close to failure, thus alerting users and allowing them to replace the cable before it fails.

The SmartCore cables contain an extra conductor which can trigger a signal if there are potential problems such as core breaks or loose contacts. The signal is generated when the cable has reached 80–85% of its maximum life expectancy. This allows the cable to be replaced as part of a regular maintenance schedule, rather waiting for it to fail while operating, causing costly downtime.

Depending on the measurement techniques used, the system could also warn of other potential sources of danger such as over-heating, over-expansion, over-tightening, over-rotation, kinking or crushing of cables.

The technology is expected to particularly useful for cables subject to continuous movement and bending, such as those used in robotic systems or carried by energy chains.

The warning signals about an imminent cable failure can be transmitted via an existing diagnostics input that is already built into many of Murrelektronik’s I/O modules.