As automation has expanded over the past few years, data transmission requirements have risen steadily. Distances across which data is moved from sensor to evaluation unit are simple 1:1 connections. Data cables used to be used here. Now they are being replaced, bit by bit, with bus systems. This allows faster, more complex communication within the system. It requires the associated bus cables, which are good at transmitting digital signals with their steep flanks. These cables are, so to speak, special data cables that are built specifically for the requirements of the system in question. In the simplest case, this might be colour and core/cross section or certain capacitive or inductive properties that allow the necessary characteristic wave impedance. Today, these cables are the basis for familiar bus systems such as Profibus, Profinet and CAN bus, but also USB and CC-Link. We will show you the features that allow continuously functioning data transmission here.
Many bus systems are based on Ethernet. Well-known brands include Profinet, CC-Link IE, EtherCat and Sercos. They are all based on a structure that has been used for many years in mainframes and PCs. Ethernet is described in categories that cover frequencies and data volume capacities from 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps. The terms CAT5, CAT5e, CAT6A and CAT7 are frequently used. These cables contain two or four pairs in a shield pair or overall shield design, depending on requirements. We have prepared an overview matrix that considers the mechanical parameters in addition to the electrical parameters just mentioned.
Profinet is one of the most popular bus cables for use in industry. The real-time capability option and modular concept makes it eminently well-suited to a large majority of applications. igus has nine different mechanical qualities of Profinet cable, from PVC cables to PUR cables to cables for extraordinary applications such as those involving torsional movement or requiring great strength. Profinet fits into the Industrial Ethernet standard, alongside bus systems such as Sercos, EtherCat and CC-Link IE. igus is a member of the Profinet user organisation and conforms to all required market standards.
Single Pair Ethernet (SPE), the newest addition to the group of bus systems. The new bus technology was introduced in 2019 and has since progressively conquered the market. This innovation offers new capabilities for the fast-growing IIoT market. What is special here is the cable's new design: a single pair, but still with the capability of transmitting a CAT5e signal. We are working steadily with the SPE organisation on refining and standardising this technology. This technology has notable capabilities, particularly in applications involving tight installation space.
Today, Profibus is one of the most important industrial bus cables. It was developed in the 1990s and quickly became the standard for reliability and high data quantities. The Profinet Nutzer Organisation (PNO), Germany's Regional PI Association, is concerned with technical refinement and coordination of various member companies such as igus. The cable, with its red and green foam cores, is very distinctive. igus provides chainflex Profinet cables in PVC, PUR and TPE designs for any moving e-chain application.
The CAN bus is extremely tough and remarkable for its robust network protocol. Its origins are in the automotive industry, and it is commonly found in industrial systems today. The special thing about these CAN bus cables is that they are available with different cross-sections as required and are used for different applications with one or two pairs. As with other bus systems, chainflex offers cables for linear chains and for torsion.
Bus cables are used in a variety of applications, and bus systems for computers or consumer electronics are also commonly used in industrial applications. One example is USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, which have distinctive connectors and can often be found in industrial cameras. The same is true for DVI, a typical monitor interface. There are also chainflex solutions for these bus cables. Some applications require prominent bus systems such as INTERBUS or DeviceNet, which are part of the CFBUS bus cable family. There is also the prominent ASi bus cable, which is easily identifiable in any system because of its yellow colour and square corners.
The bus cable's function, as it pertains to transmitting low-energy signals, is similar to that of a data cable. The key is not large current flows, but good signal transmission over the long term. It is different from a data cable because of its electrical design, which is harmonised specifically to the bus system. It also has different electrical values, mechanical design, core cross section and colour. A bus cable is a special data cable, so to speak.